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CRA OKs underground utility line funding plan

By Staff | Apr 20, 2010

The Community Redevelopment Agency unanimously supported moving forward with the funding mechanism that will finally bury transmission lines in the district.
A battle over the lines that has lasted the better part of a decade came to a close last week when city council approved the mechanism – allowing the CRA to borrow $4.5 million from the city, and then pay it back at $400,000 a year for the next 25 years – which will bury the lines along Southeast 46th Lane.
The CRA is expected to commit $1.9 million from its reserve funds to the project as well.
Board members said they weren’t entirely comfortable with the fundisng mechanism as it stands, but understood that if the lines were to be buried this was their final option.
“This is the last best solution. We’re out of solutions otherwise,” said CRA Chairman Don Heisler. “I don’t love it, but it does the job that needs to be done for this community.”
Board member Frank Dethlefsen said he didn’t think it was fair that CRA funds should be used for something that he says will benefit all L County Electric Co-op ratepayers, not just those within the district.
He understood the project had to move forward, supporting the mechanism with reservations.
“I don’t believe the people whose money we receive are going to be only ones who are going to benefit from this,” he said.
The CRA is funded primary through money received via property taxes. By law, a tax valuation baseline is set when a redevelopment agency is formed or expanded. The CRA receives the difference between the base line and increased valuation as development boosts overall valuation. The money can be used for operations, projects, capital improvements or development incentives within the district.
In other action, the CRA Board of Directors approved a facade grant for Fred Guttormson, owner of Horseshoe Investment Properties, and a property at 621 Cape Coral Parkway.
The board awarded Guttormson $9,363 to repaint, add new lighting, trim, fence in the air conditioning units, and sealcoat and restripe the parking lot.
Seventeen of the 20 units in Guttormson’s building are occupied.
He said he was thankful for the help the CRA was able to provide, and that he has lived in the Cape for more than a decade.
He said he wanted to refurbish the building’s facade for his exisitng tennants and to hopefully attract more.
“I bought my first condo here in 1994, and move here permanently in 1999,” he said. “I believe in the Cape.”
The CRA Board also approved moving forward with the first phase of an alley way paving project.
The lowest bid came in at just over $418,00.