Community Redevelopment Agencies
Community Redevelopment Areas (CRAs) are a common government tool for redevelopment in Florida with the goal of revitalizing areas designed as slum and blight. They operate on a budget generated by the increase in property taxes within the areas.
Existing and Proposed CRAs
The Board of County Commissioners approves the creation of CRAs. All are administered and overseen by Miami-Dade County.
Authority has been delegated to municipalities to operate CRAs.
Four additional CRAs operate in unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County:
County Commissioners have accepted the Finding of Necessity studies for proposed Community Redevelopment Agencies.
Florida's Community Redevelopment Act of 1969 authorized local governments to establish CRAs to revitalize areas designated as slum and blight.
Primary community redevelopment objectives as defined by legislation include:
- To address the physical, social and economic problems associated with slum and blighted areas.
- To encourage local government to improve the physical environment (i.e. buildings, streets, parks, utilities) through rehabilitation, conservation or clearance/rehabilitation.
- To convey local community redevelopment agencies the power to expend public funds as a means to improve slum and blighted areas.
- To enhance the tax base in the redevelopment areas by encouraging private investment through channeling of tax increment revenues into public improvements within the designated areas.
- To eliminate substandard housing conditions and to provide adequate housing to residents of low or moderate income, particularly the elderly.
A public meeting begins the designation process and several steps have to be accomplished before the CRA is created.
- A Finding of Necessity formally identifies blight conditions with the targeted area and establishes the area boundary. Once approved by the County, the CRA board is set up.
- The Community Redevelopment Plan addresses the unique needs of the targeted area and includes overall redevelopment goals and specific projects. The CRA board must approve the plan with local planning advisory board approval, as well as a public hearing, prior to submission for approval to the County.
- A Redevelopment Trust Fund enables County staff to direct the increase in real property tax revenues back into the CRA. This tax increment is used to fund and finance the redevelopment projects outlined in the Community Redevelopment Plan.
County staff is responsible for developing and implementing the Community Redevelopment Plan and identifying types of projects for the CRA.
Traditional projects include:
- Streetscapes and roadway improvements
- Building renovations
- New building construction
- Flood control initiatives
- Water and sewer improvements
- Parking lots and garages
- Neighborhood parks
- Sidewalks and street tree plantings
The plan can also include redevelopment incentives such as grants and loans for such things as facade improvements, sprinkler system upgrades, signs and structural improvements.
CRAs are financed based on a method known as Tax Increment Financing (TIF). It is a unique tool available to cities and counties for the redevelopment of urban areas. It is used to leverage public funds to promote private sector activity.
Property values in a CRA are capped or frozen at the assessed value in a base year, the year when a CRA is created. Thereafter, certain tax revenues due to increases in property value in excess of the base year value are deposited into the CRA Trust Fund and can only be spent in the redevelopment area.
Taxing entities, which contribute to the tax increment, continue to receive property tax revenues based on frozen value. These remain available for general government purposes. Any funds received by a tax increment financing area must be used for specific redevelopment purposes outlined in the statute and contained in the CRA redevelopment plan, and not for general government purposes.
The Community Redevelopment Act calls for private sector involvement to the maximum extent possible, to coordinate public and private sector initiatives and successfully revitalize communities which would otherwise further decline. Tax increment revenues can be used immediately, saved for a particular project or can be bonded to maximize the funds available.
CRAs are a specifically-focused financing tool for redevelopment. County staff does not establish policy for the County -- it develops and administers a plan to implement that policy. The County’s Community Redevelopment and Economic Policy Analysis Division acts officially as a body distinct and separate from the governing body, even when it is the same group of people.
The CRA term is limited to 30 years. After the sunsetting of a CRA, or in the event that all TIF revenues cannot be reserved for, or open on any eligible projects, any remaining CRA Trust Funds are returned to each taxing authority on a pro-rata basis.