Wither Bob Buckhorn’s money for a downtown baseball stadium?

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Noah Pransky notes Kevin Wiatrowski and Mike Salinero writing in this morning’s Tampa Tribune that Hillsborough County is making moves to reclaim property taxes the city of Tampa has been enjoying the last few decades in the form of its community redevelopment areas (CRA).  Also known as a tax-increment financing (TIF), these regions re-invest locally the additional county taxes collected when property values rise.

“Ideally, it’s not going to be a case going forward where we continue to put 100 percent into the tax increment area,” county manager Mike Merrill said to the Trib.

The Downtown Tampa CRA has also been the preferred funding block for any potential new Rays stadium discussions, capable of financing up to $150 million in bonds over the course of the next 30 years.

And while the county may ultimately think a baseball stadium is a good use of those dollars too, it stresses a point made on this blog a few months back: potential stadium dollars could be better-used elsewhere.  The Sheriff’s office, school district, county transportation department, and parks & rec department are just a few of the hungry hands hoping for a few more dollars.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn made it clear the city would prefer to keep control of the millions of CRA dollars each year.  But in the county’s view, county property tax dollars are county property tax dollars.  And as important as community redevelopment is, they want the freedom to spend those dollars in other ways, if they so choose.

Cross-posted from The Shadow of the Stadium blog.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.