Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)
The Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has four districts to alleviate conditions of blight by reinvesting Tax Increment Funds (TIF) into those areas. CRA districts are one of the few remaining tools that local governments can use to attract new business, invest in infrastructure improvements and rebuild blighted areas. CRA districts are a popular and effective redevelopment tool, used in 44 states across the country.
About Our CRA Districts
The CRA has four (4) Districts. Those Districts are Downtown created in 1984, St. Andrews created in 1989, Downtown North created in 1993 and Millville created in 2004. Each District works with citizen-based advisory committees to formulate plans to reverse blighted conditions. Dollars generated by local property tax growth are used to fund projects and programs outlined in the District plan. CRAs are authorized, under Florida Statutes Chapter 163 part III, for periods of 30-to-60 years. This special state law allows for the creation, operation, and administration of the CRA District process. Each District plan is designed to make targeted improvements to remove blighted conditions, improve infrastructure, provide better safety, transform building appearances, and work on attracting more investment opportunities.
The mission of the Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency is to provide leadership and inspiration for the improvement of all four (4) redevelopment districts by using and leveraging of tax increment financing (TIF) and other available funds to assist and support community and economic redevelopment and revitalization in order to eliminate slum and blight, with every consideration given to actively seeking community input, in order to build community investment and pride for residential business.
Functions of the Community Redevelopment Agency
The Community Redevelopment Agency was created by the City of Panama City in 2006 under the powers granted by the Legislature. Prior to 2006, the CRA was a combined agency with the Downtown Improvement Board. It's goal is to combat neighborhood deterioration and eliminate economic blight in the designated Community Redevelopment Areas. The work program for the Agency is defined in the Community Redevelopment Plan for each Community Redevelopment Area. In the Redevelopment Plans, comprehensive strategies were formulated to promote community development in various Community Redevelopment Areas - Downtown, Downtown North, Millville and Saint Andrews.
What is TIF and where do redevelopment funds come from?
TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. It is a way to pay for improvements to vacant and underused land in the city so that it becomes productive again. The City has created the CRA/TIF districts to help develop blighted areas, build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean up polluted land and put vacant properties back to work for the people of Panama City. By returning formerly vacant properties to the tax rolls, the city created new sources of revenue within the TIF district, generating the funds needed to make necessary improvements without raising taxes in the community. The City's investments in these areas are repaid through improved, productive properties that become new, permanent revenue generators.
Plans are implemented as projects, opportunities, and funds become available to address the specific needs identified. CRA staff must be quick to recognize opportunities, and strategic changes that need to be made, as conditions progress in the area. As tax revenues grow (overtime), the ability of each CRA District to fund projects and plans improves. This process continues until conditions are reversed and the District can expire.