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Florida Tax Increment Financing Districts
Which should you use: CRAs or the new Urban Infill & Redevelopment Areas?

Introduction:  Traditionally, to get Tax Increment Financing (TIF) you would have to create a Community Redevelopement Agency (or CRA). In 1999 the legislature gave us a new tool - the "Growth Policy Act"  which allowed for the creation of "Urban Infill and Redevelopment Areas" 

A primary advantage of the new tool over CRA's is that the governance structure can be much more flexible and can include local stakeholders (and not be made up entirely by local governement as with CRAs)



THE FLORIDA "GROWTH POLICY ACT"
Authorizing the Creation of "Urban Infill and Redevelopment Areas" 
Adopted in 1999 by the Florida Legislature

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The following is the introductory section of the Act
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163.2511 Urban infill and redevelopment

(1) Sections 163.2511-163.2526 may be cited as the "Growth Policy Act."

(2) It is declared that:

(a) Fiscally strong urban centers are beneficial to regional and state economies and resources, are a method for reduction of future urban sprawl, and should be promoted by state, regional, and local governments.

(b) The health and vibrancy of the urban cores benefit their respective regions and the state; conversely, the deterioration of those urban cores negatively impacts the surrounding area and the state.

(c) In recognition of the interwoven destiny between the urban center, the suburbs, the region, and the state, the respective governments need to establish a framework and work in partnership with communities and the private sector to revitalize urban centers.

(d) State urban policies should guide the state, regional agencies, local governments, and the private sector in preserving and redeveloping existing urban cores and promoting the adequate provision of infrastructure, human services, safe neighborhoods, educational facilities, and economic development to sustain these cores into the future.

(e) Successfully revitalizing and sustaining the urban cores is dependent on addressing, through an integrated and coordinated community effort, a range of varied components essential to a healthy urban environment, including cultural, educational, recreational, economic, transportation, and social service components.

(f) Infill development and redevelopment are recognized to be important components and useful mechanisms for promoting and sustaining urban cores. State and regional entities and local governments should provide incentives to promote urban infill and redevelopment. Existing programs and incentives should be integrated to the extent possible to promote urban infill and redevelopment and to achieve the goals of the state urban policy.

History.--s. 1, ch. 99-378.

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The following is the Definition section
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163.2514 Growth Policy Act; definitions.--As used in ss. 163.2511-163.2526:

(1) "Local government" means any county or municipality.

(2) "Urban infill and redevelopment area" means an area or areas designated by a local government where:

(a) Public services such as water and wastewater, transportation, schools, and recreation are already available or are scheduled to be provided in an adopted 5-year schedule of capital improvements;

(b) The area, or one or more neighborhoods within the area, suffers from pervasive poverty, unemployment, and general distress as defined by s. 290.0058;

(c) The area exhibits a proportion of properties that are substandard, overcrowded, dilapidated, vacant or abandoned, or functionally obsolete which is higher than the average for the local government;

(d) More than 50 percent of the area is within 1/4 mile of a transit stop, or a sufficient number of such transit stops will be made available concurrent with the designation; and

(e) The area includes or is adjacent to community redevelopment areas, brownfields, enterprise zones, or Main Street programs, or has been designated by the state or Federal Government as an urban redevelopment, revitalization, or infill area under empowerment zone, enterprise community, or brownfield showcase community programs or similar programs.

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The following section outlines the mechanics of getting designated
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163.2517 Designation of urban infill and redevelopment area.

(1) A local government may designate a geographic area or areas within its jurisdiction as an urban infill and redevelopment area for the purpose of targeting economic development, job creation, housing, transportation, crime prevention, neighborhood revitalization and preservation, and land use incentives to encourage urban infill and redevelopment within the urban core.

(2)(a) As part of the preparation and implementation of an urban infill and redevelopment plan, a collaborative and holistic community participation process must be implemented to include each neighborhood within the area targeted for designation as an urban infill and redevelopment area. The objective of the community participation process is to encourage communities within the proposed urban infill and redevelopment area to participate in the design and implementation of the plan, including a "visioning" of the urban core, before redevelopment.

(b)1. A neighborhood participation process must be developed to provide for the ongoing involvement of stakeholder groups including, but not limited to, community-based organizations, neighborhood associations, financial institutions, faith organizations, housing authorities, financial institutions, existing businesses, businesses interested in operating in the community, schools, and neighborhood residents, in preparing and implementing the urban infill and redevelopment plan.

2. The neighborhood participation process must include a governance structure whereby the local government shares decisionmaking authority for developing and implementing the urban infill and redevelopment plan with communitywide representatives. For example, the local government and community representatives could organize a corporation under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to implement specific redevelopment projects.

(3) A local government seeking to designate a geographic area within its jurisdiction as an urban infill and redevelopment area shall prepare a plan that describes the infill and redevelopment objectives of the local government within the proposed area. In lieu of preparing a new plan, the local government may demonstrate that an existing plan or combination of plans associated with a community redevelopment area, Florida Main Street program, Front Porch Florida Community, sustainable community, enterprise zone, or neighborhood improvement district includes the factors listed in paragraphs (a)-(n), including a collaborative and holistic community participation process, or amend such existing plans to include these factors. The plan shall demonstrate the local government and community's commitment to comprehensively address the urban problems within the urban infill and redevelopment area and identify activities and programs to accomplish locally identified goals such as code enforcement; improved educational opportunities; reduction in crime; neighborhood revitalization and preservation; provision of infrastructure needs, including mass transit and multimodal linkages; and mixed-use planning to promote multifunctional redevelopment to improve both the residential and commercial quality of life in the area. The plan shall also:

(a) Contain a map depicting the geographic area or areas to be included within the designation.

(b) Confirm that the infill and redevelopment area is within an area designated for urban uses in the local government's comprehensive plan.

(c) Identify and map existing enterprise zones, community redevelopment areas, community development corporations, brownfield areas, downtown redevelopment districts, safe neighborhood improvement districts, historic preservation districts, and empowerment zones or enterprise communities located within the area proposed for designation as an urban infill and redevelopment area and provide a framework for coordinating infill and redevelopment programs within the urban core.

(d) Identify a memorandum of understanding between the district school board and the local government jurisdiction regarding public school facilities located within the urban infill and redevelopment area to identify how the school board will provide priority to enhancing public school facilities and programs in the designated area, including the reuse of existing buildings for schools within the area.

(e) Identify each neighborhood within the proposed area and state community preservation and revitalization goals and projects identified through a collaborative and holistic community participation process and how such projects will be implemented.

(f) Identify how the local government and community-based organizations intend to implement affordable housing programs, including, but not limited to, economic and community development programs administered by federal and state agencies, within the urban infill and redevelopment area.

(g) Identify strategies for reducing crime.

(h) If applicable, provide guidelines for the adoption of land development regulations specific to the urban infill and redevelopment area which include, for example, setbacks and parking requirements appropriate to urban development.

(i) Identify and map any existing transportation concurrency exception areas and any relevant public transportation corridors designated by a metropolitan planning organization in its long-range transportation plans or by the local government in its comprehensive plan for which the local government seeks designation as a transportation concurrency exception area. For those areas, describe how public transportation, pedestrian ways, and bikeways will be implemented as an alternative to increased automobile use.

(j) Identify and adopt a package of financial and local government incentives which the local government will offer for new development, expansion of existing development, and redevelopment within the urban infill and redevelopment area. Examples of such incentives include:

1. Waiver of license and permit fees.

2. Exemption of sales made in the urban infill and redevelopment area from local option sales surtaxes imposed pursuant to s. 212.055.

3. Waiver of delinquent local taxes or fees to promote the return of property to productive use.

4. Expedited permitting.

5. Lower transportation impact fees for development which encourages more use of public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle modes of transportation.

6. Prioritization of infrastructure spending within the urban infill and redevelopment area.

7. Local government absorption of developers' concurrency costs.

In order to be authorized to recognize the exemption from local option sales surtaxes pursuant to subparagraph 2., the owner, lessee, or lessor of the new development, expanding existing development, or redevelopment within the urban infill and redevelopment area must file an application under oath with the governing body having jurisdiction over the urban infill and redevelopment area where the business is located. The application must include the name and address of the business claiming the exclusion from collecting local option surtaxes; an address and assessment roll parcel number of the urban infill and redevelopment area for which the exemption is being sought; a description of the improvements made to accomplish the new development, expanding development, or redevelopment of the real property; a copy of the building permit application or the building permit issued for the development of the real property; a new application for a certificate of registration with the Department of Revenue with the address of the new development, expanding development, or redevelopment; and the location of the property. The local government must review and approve the application and submit the completed application and documentation along with a copy of the ordinance adopted pursuant to subsection (5) to the Department of Revenue in order for the business to become eligible to make sales exempt from local option sales surtaxes in the urban infill and redevelopment area.

(k) Identify how activities and incentives within the urban infill and redevelopment area will be coordinated and what administrative mechanism the local government will use for the coordination.

(l) Identify how partnerships with the financial and business community will be developed.

(m) Identify the governance structure that the local government will use to involve community representatives in the implementation of the plan.

(n) Identify performance measures to evaluate the success of the local government in implementing the urban infill and redevelopment plan.

(4) In order for a local government to designate an urban infill and redevelopment area, it must amend its comprehensive land use plan under s. 163.3187 to delineate the boundaries of the urban infill and redevelopment area within the future land use element of its comprehensive plan pursuant to its adopted urban infill and redevelopment plan. The state land planning agency shall review the boundary delineation of the urban infill and redevelopment area in the future land use element under s. 163.3184 . However, an urban infill and redevelopment plan adopted by a local government is not subject to review for compliance as defined by s. 163.3184 (1)(b), and the local government is not required to adopt the plan as a comprehensive plan amendment. An amendment to the local comprehensive plan to designate an urban infill and redevelopment area is exempt from the twice-a-year amendment limitation of s. 163.3187.

(5) After the preparation of an urban infill and redevelopment plan or designation of an existing plan, the local government shall adopt the plan by ordinance. Notice for the public hearing on the ordinance must be in the form established in s. 166.041(3)(c)2. for municipalities, and s. 125.66(4)(b)2. for counties.

(6)(a) In order to continue to be eligible for the economic and regulatory incentives granted with respect to an urban infill and redevelopment area, the local government must demonstrate during the evaluation, assessment, and review of its comprehensive plan required pursuant to s. 163.3191 , that within designated urban infill and redevelopment areas, the amount of combined annual residential, commercial, and institutional development has increased by at least 10 percent.

(b) If the local government fails to implement the urban infill and redevelopment plan in accordance with the deadlines set forth in the plan, the Department of Community Affairs may seek to rescind the economic and regulatory incentives granted to the urban infill and redevelopment area, subject to the provisions of chapter 120. The action to rescind may be initiated 90 days after issuing a written letter of warning to the local government.

History.--s. 1, ch. 99-378; s. 18, ch. 2000-317; s. 24, ch. 2001-60.

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The following section makes available Tax Increment Financing
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163.2520 Economic incentives.

(1) A local government with an adopted urban infill and redevelopment plan or plan employed in lieu thereof may issue revenue bonds under s. 163.385 and employ tax increment financing under s. 163.387 for the purpose of financing the implementation of the plan, except that in a charter county such incentives shall be employed consistent with the provisions of s. 163.410.

(2) A local government with an adopted urban infill and redevelopment plan or plan employed in lieu thereof may exercise the powers granted under s. 163.514 for community redevelopment neighborhood improvement districts, including the authority to levy special assessments.

(3) Prior to June 1 each year, areas designated by a local government as urban infill and redevelopment areas shall be given a priority in the allocation of private activity bonds from the state pool pursuant to s. 159.807.

History.--s. 1, ch. 99-378; s. 25, ch. 2001-60.

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Planning Grants are Available -
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163.2523 Grant program. --

An Urban Infill and Redevelopment Assistance Grant Program is created for local governments. A local government may allocate grant money to special districts, including community redevelopment agencies, and nonprofit community development organizations to implement projects consistent with an adopted urban infill and redevelopment plan or plan employed in lieu thereof. Thirty percent of the general revenue appropriated for this program shall be available for planning grants to be used by local governments for the development of an urban infill and redevelopment plan, including community participation processes for the plan. Sixty percent of the general revenue appropriated for this program shall be available for fifty/fifty matching grants for implementing urban infill and redevelopment projects that further the objectives set forth in the local government's adopted urban infill and redevelopment plan or plan employed in lieu thereof. The remaining 10 percent of the revenue must be used for outright grants for implementing projects requiring an expenditure of under $50,000. If the volume of fundable applications under any of the allocations specified in this section does not fully obligate the amount of the allocation, the Department of Community Affairs may transfer the unused balance to the category having the highest dollar value of applications eligible but unfunded. However, in no event may the percentage of dollars allocated to outright grants for implementing projects exceed 20 percent in any given fiscal year. Projects that provide employment opportunities to clients of the WAGES program and projects within urban infill and redevelopment areas that include a community redevelopment area, Florida Main Street program, Front Porch Florida Community, sustainable community, enterprise zone, federal enterprise zone, enterprise community, or neighborhood improvement district must be given an elevated priority in the scoring of competing grant applications. The Division of Housing and Community Development of the Department of Community Affairs shall administer the grant program. The Department of Community Affairs shall adopt rules establishing grant review criteria consistent with this section.

History.--s. 1, ch. 99-378; s. 20, ch. 2000-317.

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The following is from the statute governing "CRAs"
It was referenced in the above sections on the Growth Policy Act to describe the mechanics of how Tax Increment Financing was to be accessed

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163.387 Redevelopment trust fund.

(1) There shall be established for each community redevelopment agency created under s. 163.356 a redevelopment trust fund. Funds allocated to and deposited into this fund shall be used by the agency to finance or refinance any community redevelopment it undertakes pursuant to the approved community redevelopment plan. No community redevelopment agency may receive or spend any increment revenues pursuant to this section unless and until the governing body has, by ordinance, provided for the funding of the redevelopment trust fund for the duration of a community redevelopment plan. Such ordinance may be adopted only after the governing body has approved a community redevelopment plan. The annual funding of the redevelopment trust fund shall be in an amount not less than that increment in the income, proceeds, revenues, and funds of each taxing authority derived from or held in connection with the undertaking and carrying out of community redevelopment under this part. Such increment shall be determined annually and shall be that amount equal to 95 percent of the difference between:

(a) The amount of ad valorem taxes levied each year by each taxing authority, exclusive of any amount from any debt service millage, on taxable real property contained within the geographic boundaries of a community redevelopment area; and

(b) The amount of ad valorem taxes which would have been produced by the rate upon which the tax is levied each year by or for each taxing authority, exclusive of any debt service millage, upon the total of the assessed value of the taxable real property in the community redevelopment area as shown upon the most recent assessment roll used in connection with the taxation of such property by each taxing authority prior to the effective date of the ordinance providing for the funding of the trust fund.

However, the governing body of any county as defined in s. 125.011 (1) may, in the ordinance providing for the funding of a trust fund established with respect to any community redevelopment area created on or after July 1, 1994, determine that the amount to be funded by each taxing authority annually shall be less than 95 percent of the difference between paragraphs (a) and (b), but in no event shall such amount be less than 50 percent of such difference.

(2)(a) Except for the purpose of funding the trust fund pursuant to subsection (3), upon the adoption of an ordinance providing for funding of the redevelopment trust fund as provided in this section, each taxing authority shall, by January 1 of each year, appropriate to the trust fund for so long as any indebtedness pledging increment revenues to the payment thereof is outstanding (but not to exceed 30 years) a sum that is no less than the increment as defined and determined in subsection (1) accruing to such taxing authority. If the community redevelopment plan is amended or modified pursuant to s. 163.361 (1), each such taxing authority shall make the annual appropriation for a period not to exceed 30 years after the date the governing body amends the plan.

(b) Any taxing authority that does not pay the increment to the trust fund by January 1 shall pay to the trust fund an amount equal to 5 percent of the amount of the increment and shall pay interest on the amount of the increment equal to 1 percent for each month the increment is outstanding.

(c) The following public bodies or taxing authorities created prior to July 1, 1993, are exempt from paragraph (a):

1. A special district that levies ad valorem taxes on taxable real property in more than one county.

2. A special district the sole available source of revenue of which is ad valorem taxes at the time an ordinance is adopted under this section.

3. A library district, except a library district in a jurisdiction where the community redevelopment agency had validated bonds as of April 30, 1984.

4. A neighborhood improvement district created under the Safe Neighborhoods Act.

5. A metropolitan transportation authority.

6. A water management district created under s. 373.069.

(d)1. A local governing body that creates a community redevelopment agency under s. 163.356 may exempt from paragraph (a) a special district that levies ad valorem taxes within that community redevelopment area. The local governing body may grant the exemption either in its sole discretion or in response to the request of the special district. The local governing body must establish procedures by which a special district may submit a written request to be exempted from paragraph (a) within 120 days after July 1, 1993.

2. In deciding whether to deny or grant a special district's request for exemption from paragraph (a), the local governing body must consider:

a. Any additional revenue sources of the community redevelopment agency which could be used in lieu of the special district's tax increment.

b. The fiscal and operational impact on the community redevelopment agency.

c. The fiscal and operational impact on the special district.

d. The benefit to the specific purpose for which the special district was created. The benefit to the special district must be based on specific projects contained in the approved community redevelopment plan for the designated community redevelopment area.

e. The impact of the exemption on incurred debt and whether such exemption will impair any outstanding bonds that have pledged tax increment revenues to the repayment of the bonds.

f. The benefit of the activities of the special district to the approved community redevelopment plan.

g. The benefit of the activities of the special district to the area of operation of the local governing body that created the community redevelopment agency.

3. The local governing body must hold a public hearing on a special district's request for exemption after public notice of the hearing is published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county or municipality that created the community redevelopment area. The notice must describe the time, date, place, and purpose of the hearing and must identify generally the community redevelopment area covered by the plan and the impact of the plan on the special district that requested the exemption.

4. If a local governing body grants an exemption to a special district under this paragraph, the local governing body and the special district must enter into an interlocal agreement that establishes the conditions of the exemption, including, but not limited to, the period of time for which the exemption is granted.

5. If a local governing body denies a request for exemption by a special district, the local governing body shall provide the special district with a written analysis specifying the rationale for such denial. This written analysis must include, but is not limited to, the following information:

a. A separate, detailed examination of each consideration listed in subparagraph 2.

b. Specific examples of how the approved community redevelopment plan will benefit, and has already benefited, the purpose for which the special district was created.

6. The decision to either deny or grant an exemption must be made by the local governing body within 120 days after the date the written request was submitted to the local governing body pursuant to the procedures established by such local governing body.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2), the obligation of the governing body which established the community redevelopment agency to fund the redevelopment trust fund annually shall continue until all loans, advances, and indebtedness, if any, and interest thereon, of a community redevelopment agency incurred as a result of redevelopment in a community redevelopment area have been paid.

(4) The revenue bonds and notes of every issue under this part are payable solely out of revenues pledged to and received by a community redevelopment agency and deposited to its redevelopment trust fund. The lien created by such bonds or notes shall not attach until the revenues referred to herein are deposited in the redevelopment trust fund at the times, and to the extent that, such revenues accrue. The holders of such bonds or notes have no right to require the imposition of any tax or the establishment of any rate of taxation in order to obtain the amounts necessary to pay and retire such bonds or notes.

(5) Revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this part shall not be deemed to constitute a debt, liability, or obligation of the local governing body or the state or any political subdivision thereof, or a pledge of the faith and credit of the local governing body or the state or any political subdivision thereof, but shall be payable solely from the revenues provided therefor. All such revenue bonds shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that the agency shall not be obligated to pay the same or the interest thereon except from the revenues of the community redevelopment agency held for that purpose and that neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the local governing body or of the state or of any political subdivision thereof is pledged to the payment of the principal of, or the interest on, such bonds.

(6) Moneys in the redevelopment trust fund may be expended from time to time for the following purposes, when directly related to financing or refinancing of redevelopment in a community redevelopment area pursuant to an approved community redevelopment plan:

(a) Administrative and overhead expenses necessary or incidental to the implementation of a community redevelopment plan adopted by the agency.

(b) Expenses of redevelopment planning, surveys, and financial analysis, including the reimbursement of the governing body or the community redevelopment agency for such expenses incurred before the redevelopment plan was approved and adopted.

(c) The acquisition of real property in the redevelopment area.

(d) The clearance and preparation of any redevelopment area for redevelopment and relocation of site occupants as provided in s. 163.370.

(e) The repayment of principal and interest or any redemption premium for loans, advances, bonds, bond anticipation notes, and any other form of indebtedness.

(f) All expenses incidental to or connected with the issuance, sale, redemption, retirement, or purchase of agency bonds, bond anticipation notes, or other form of indebtedness, including funding of any reserve, redemption, or other fund or account provided for in the ordinance or resolution authorizing such bonds, notes, or other form of indebtedness.

(g) The development of affordable housing within the area.

(h) The development of community policing innovations.

(7) On the last day of the fiscal year of the community redevelopment agency, any money which remains in the trust fund after the payment of expenses pursuant to subsection (6) for such year shall be:

(a) Returned to each taxing authority which paid the increment in the proportion that the amount of the payment of such taxing authority bears to the total amount paid into the trust fund by all taxing authorities within the redevelopment area for that year;

(b) Used to reduce the amount of any indebtedness to which increment revenues are pledged;

(c) Deposited into an escrow account for the purpose of later reducing any indebtedness to which increment revenues are pledged; or

(d) Appropriated to a specific redevelopment project pursuant to an approved community redevelopment plan which project will be completed within 3 years from the date of such appropriation.

(8) Each community redevelopment agency shall provide for an independent financial audit of the trust fund each fiscal year and a report of such audit. Such report shall describe the amount and source of deposits into, and the amount and purpose of withdrawals from, the trust fund during such fiscal year and the amount of principal and interest paid during such year on any indebtedness to which is pledged increment revenues and the remaining amount of such indebtedness. The agency shall provide a copy of the report to each taxing authority.

History. --s. 11, ch. 77-391; s. 78, ch. 79-400; s. 9, ch. 83-231; s. 15, ch. 84-356; s. 27, ch. 87-224; s. 35, ch. 91-45; s. 4, ch. 93-286; s. 10, ch. 94-236; s. 1, ch. 94-344; s. 10, ch. 98-314.