Brevard Commissioner John Tobia Provides Details of Resolution Which Would Stop CRA Funding
By Space Coast Daily // February 4, 2017
To Be Put Before Commission Feb. 7
Resolution Seeks To Stop Additional County Funds From Being Allocated Towards Newly Created CRAs
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard County District 3 Commissioner John Tobia provided information regarding a Resolution that will be put before the County Commission on February 7, which seeks to stop additional county funds from being allocated towards any newly created Community Redevelopment Agencies, or CRAs.
“It is regrettable that more advanced time could not be offered to my fellow Commissioners for deliberation, but Resolution 16-007 from the previous Board, which restricted CRA discussion, delayed my ability to add to the Commission agenda sooner,” said Tobia.
According to Tobia, it is estimated that the Brevard County is poised to spend $4.6 million towards CRAs in Brevard County for Fiscal Year 2016-17.
“Many of our roads are in disrepair and these funds would be better spent towards the county’s critical infrastructure funding needs,” said Tobia.
“When I campaigned for County Commission, I made a promise to taxpayers to solve infrastructure needs. Stopping additional county tax dollars from going towards new CRAs is the first step in finding critical infrastructure funding. I intend to keep the promise I made to taxpayers to improve Brevard’s roads and it is my hope that the Board will give this idea consideration.”
According to Tobia, the first step towards this goal is stopping the allocation of any additional county funds from being spent on new CRAs. With this control in place, the county will be better positioned to examine how it can divert funds currently spent on CRAs to infrastructure.
Roads are a top priority because:
• Brevard maintains about 1,177 miles of roads.
• The cost per mile to resurface roads on average is about $97,000.
• The cost per mile to reconstruct roads on average is about $240,000.
• Brevard only resurfaced and reconstructed between 15.6 miles of roads last year (2015-2016).
• Brevard should be resurfacing 55 miles of roads per year.
• The county is currently about 50 years behind in keeping up with road resurfacing needs.
• At the continued lagging resurfacing rate, the county’s backlog will grow by about 47 miles each year.
• Brevard has a backlog of road projects totals about 400 miles.
• Road reconstruction backlog is approximately 283 miles.
What is a CRA?
Community Redevelopment Agencies are local taxing authorities, designated by cities or counties for the purpose of ending or preventing blight, though in reality consistently fail to do so. Brevard currently has 15 CRAs in existence.
Typically, CRAs receive 40 percent of their funding from county dollars. CRAs capture ad valorem tax dollars that would otherwise go into Brevard County’s general fund. Specifically, the CRAs retain any increase in property tax income from rising property values within their redevelopment areas on a year-over-year basis, often borrowing against these progressively rising taxes to pay for their local projects.
“The county has a compelling need to retain these tax dollars instead of spending on CRAs because our infrastructure is significantly more important,” said Tobia.
The Resolution that will come before the County Commission on February 7, upon passage, would:
• Immediately revoke the authority of municipalities to create new community redevelopment agencies using county funds.
• Seek solely to prevent the creation of any new future CRAs in Brevard using county funds.
• Not affect in any way the 15 existing CRAs in Brevard.
• Not interfere with municipalities’ ability to form CRAs in the future with their own city funds; Municipalities’ home rule would not be affected.
• The municipalities, upon creation of their own CRAs, would be required to enter into inter-local agreements with the county, agreeing to not receive any county tax increment appropriations.
“I look forward to my fellow Commissioners joining me in my commitment to finding much-needed infrastructure funding for Brevard’s roads in our existing general fund,” said Tobia.
“It is my hope that fellow Commissioners who campaigned against CRAs will welcome this opportunity for Brevard to finally hold the line on these out-of-control taxing authorities.
“Finding funds for our roads is a top priority for taxpayers, and therefore it should be a top priority for the County Commission. It is also important that we secure infrastructure funding without raising taxes.
“Brevard County is about 50 years behind in keeping up with infrastructure needs. It is time to find existing money in our budget for roads, and a re-examination of the county’s financial partnership with CRAs will help us accomplish that goal,” said Tobia.
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