Miamidade Targets Cash 12 Redevelopment Agencies Will Collect
Written by Risa Polansky on July 30, 2009
By Risa Polansky
Eyes peeled for ways to fill budget holes without cutting services or raising taxes, some Miami-Dade commissioners are looking to the county’s 12 community redevelopment agencies.
Property tax valuations are capped within agency bounds. The county and area municipality forfeit revenue generated above the cap to revitalize the area.
Commissioners have asked the administration to study the impact of returning surplus funds to county — and potentially municipal — coffers during the next two fiscal years.
"Some CRAs are just gathering money, and what this would do is any money that’s not used for debt service or to pay a contractual obligation would return back to the county," sponsor Carlos Gimenez said. Cities may do the same "in order to get operational money back without having to raise taxes."
Beyond the potential hiatus, Commissioner Joe Martinez said it’s vital for the future to examine all redevelopment agencies to ensure they’re productive.
Idle agencies’ "existence should cease, and that funding should be redistributed to the general fund," he said.
Assistant Miami Beach Manager Hilda Fernandez said redevelopment agencies boost areas, and the city’s has several projects going.
Though Mr. Gimenez’s concept allows existing obligations to remain funded, it would hit those agencies that pay for projects as they go, she said.
It would "almost penalize them by taking their funds because they didn’t indebt themselves to the hilt."
Jim Villacorta, executive director of Miami’s three agencies, said the idea raises legal questions.
Agreements between the county, city and agencies would have to be amended, and bondholders could take issue with the agencies receiving less funding, he said.
The county study would examine such issues. Results are due in 30 days.