SB 432 by Senator Tom Lee (R) D-20 will require Community Redevelopment Agencies to be more transparent and accountable. Under Florida law, local governments can designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas and create a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
CRA’s are funded by property taxes and are billed as anti-poverty measures. Unfortunately, CRAs are being used to subsidize museums, concert halls, production studios and other pet projects of local political officials. CRA’s are now slush funds to reward political donors who fund elected official’s campaigns.
The city of Tallahassee and Leon County elected officials are under FBI investigation for misuse of funds from the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency. Recently, a Miami Grand Jury report found several examples of Miami CRA boards spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars on what appeared to be pet projects of the elected officials.
SB 432 will require CRA’s to meet stricter reporting and ethics requirements, including ethics training. CRA’s will be required to have open competitive bids, and file annual performance reports. CRA’s would have to post project lists and funding plans, as well as changes in property values and vacancy rates.
SB 432 will be heard in the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 at 10:00 AM