> About Community Redevelopment Agencies
Purpose of a CRA: In 1969, the Florida Legislature enacted Part III, Chapter 163 of the Florida Statutes—the Redevelopment Act—enabling local units of government to establish a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in areas where "slum" and "blight" exist. The goal of the program is to encourage local initiatives to revitalize older downtowns and declining residential neighborhoods. Over the years, there have been significant changes to the rules that govern redevelopment agencies but two basic documents have consistently remained:
Finding of Necessity—a study of the proposed redevelopment area that details the need for redevelopment by identifying conditions of "slum" and "blight." Examples of conditions that support the creation of a Community Redevelopment Area include: the presence of substandard or inadequate structures, inadequate infrastructure, and insufficient roadways.
Adoption of a Community Redevelopment Plan—guides the redevelopment of the area based on goals established through community input, once adopted. The plan includes the overall goals for redevelopment of the area, and identifies the types of projects planned for the area.
Responsibilities of a CRA: A CRA is a separate legal entity from the jurisdiction, which establishes the agency and the boundaries of a Community Redevelopment Area. The CRA is responsible for developing and implementing the Community Redevelopment Plan that addresses the unique needs of the targeted area. Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a special tool available to CRAs, is the increase in taxes collected above the "frozen" tax base in the target area established when the CRA TIF was authorized. It is important to note that property tax revenue collected by the School Board and any special district are not affected under the TIF process. As of 2013, there are 208 CRAs in the state of Florida.
In unincorporated Charlotte County, there are three CRAs: Charlotte Harbor established in 1992, Murdock Village established in 2003, and Parkside established in 2010. The Board of County Commissioners is the governing board of each of these agencies. The Punta Gorda CRA was established in 1989 and the composition of the Punta Gorda CRA governing board consists of Punta Gorda City Council plus 2 members appointed by the city council.