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South St. Pete redevelopment trust fund approval expected Tuesday

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pinellas County Commission and St. Petersburg City Council have all but agreed on a payment plan for the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Project.

County staff will be recommending an ordinance to the Pinellas County Commission at its Tuesday, June 23, meeting that creates a trust fund for the project’s community redevelopment area (CRA) — a 7.5-square-mile section of South St. Pete that reaches from Fourth Street to 49th Street, and from Second Avenue N. to 30th Avenue S.

The redevelopment trust fund will get its money through tax increment funding (TIF), a public financing method that uses future tax gains to subsidize community improvements. In this case, bonds based on 85 percent of the TIF district’s 2014 tax increment will be distributed to the redevelopment trust fund by the county.

Over a 30-year span, the proposed TIF district is expected to bring $27.6 million dollars from the county’s general fund into the proposed South St. Petersburg CRA; an estimate based on an assumed 2 percent annual increase in assessed property values over those 30 years — an increase expected to come from the area’s redevelopment efforts.

The South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment trust fund ordinance recommendation by county staff on Tuesday is coming on the heels of necessary amendments to the South St. Petersburg CRA lnterlocal Agreement.

The amendments, which will make it possible for Pinellas county commissioners to approve the redevelopment trust fund, were approved by both the city and the county on March 21 and June 2, respectively. They include, but are not limited to:

>>> An agreement to establish one TIF district that encompasses the entire South St. Petersburg CRA.

>>> Setting 2045 as the project’s expiration year.

>>> Requiring all related funds to be expended by September 30, 2048.

>>> Separating city and county TIF trust fund contributions into separate accounts.

>>> Allowing county staff to review and comment on procedures for programs that involve the use of the county’s TIF increment.

A formal review of the South St. Petersburg Redevelopment Plan and Trust Fund will take place in 2031, at the project’s half-way mark.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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