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Downtown CRA approves a tentative budget

By Staff | Jun 16, 2011

The Community Redevelopment Agency board set its tentative budget for FY 2012 at $3.27 million, a decrease from their FY 2011 budget of $4.3 million.
Decreased property values, especially commercial property values, are driving the budget decline, according to City Finance Director Victoria Bateman.
Bateman said the CRA budget was well thought out and she wished that other department budgets were as easy to deal with.
The CRA will be able to cover all of its debts next fiscal year she said, and that half of the CRA’s current budget is set aside for future use, but agreed that board members might want to reassess where and how they spend agency money.
“I’d look at every single dime to see where you’re spending it and where you really want to spend it,” she told the board.
The tentative budget was passed 6 – 1, with Frank Dethlefsen dissenting.
In other business, the Community Redevelopment Agency staff is researching and working on some of the initiatives identified in its newly redesigned vision plan.
Efforts include:
* Plans to connect the Rubicon Canal to the Bimini Basin are being studied by new CRA summer intern Chandler French, who believes the idea would make a “great improvement” to the community.
French is studying several options to bring this idea to fruition, most of which focus on the method by which Del Prado would be converted into a through street despite the new waterway. Both Del Prado and Southeast 47th Terrace would cross the proposed connection.
French said there was the “Tunnel Option” but added that it would be very costly.
A “Fixed Bridge” would be cheaper, as would a draw bridge, but the draw bridge would cause delays for sail boats during peak traffic hours on Del Prado.
French’s final report is due to the CRA Board in August.
* The proposed beach project at Four Freedoms Park met with some opposition from City Council on Monday, but council has yet to take a final vote on the $42,000 project.
They are expected to take that vote next Monday before their summer hiatus.
City Council previously supported the Zyscovich Vision Plan in total.
CRA board member Jack Evans said he didn’t understand where the pushback from council was coming from, as the roughly $42,000 would come from CRA coffers.
“The city is not being asked for a dime. Why would our council not support it?” he asked.
* Third phase of the new vision plan calls for overhauling the Land Use Regulations within the CRA, which were identified as hampering development, being overly contradictory and complicated.
The CRA is giving itself 10 months to get those regulations sorted out, and plan on presenting the regulations to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 12 2012.
Those regulations will make up the “regulatory framework” for the CRA, according to planner Patrick White.