Skip to content

Commission Wants $84,000,000 of Your Money

Bet you didn’t know the city commission has approved an $84,000,000 money grab from you. Read their expanded CRA Plan and let them know what you think here: This plan needs to be approved by Orange County before becoming effective.

CRA stands for Community Redevelopment Area. Within this area, county and city property taxes, net of those based on valuation prior to formation of the CRA, must be spent within the CRA area in accordance with the CPR Plan approved by Orange County. When the current CRA expires at the end of 2027, all county property tax revenue goes back to the county and all city property tax revenue goes into the city’s General Fund for any use, but only if we stop the CRA expansion.

The city commission wants to expand the existing CRA to include Fairbanks at 17/92 to Minnesota to I4, and extend it’s expiration from 2027 to 2037. Click here for a larger map showing the current CRA area and proposed expansion.

Click here to read the proposed CRA 2024 Plan. Note that all financial information provided here is based on the “Moderate” financial projections” included in the published Plan.

The essence of this CRA Plan is to:

  • Use property taxes from the existing CRA to finance projects in the existing and added CRA area. Over 10 years from 2028 through 2037 only $8,000,000 of incremental tax revenue is expected in the expansion area, while $147,700,000 is expected from within the existing CRA boundaries.
  • Take $84,000,000 in anticipated city property taxes from the General Fund from 2028 through 2037 where it could otherwise be used to reduce taxes and/or increase investments for the entire city, and instead;
  • Spend anticipated county and city property taxes of about $147,700,000 only within in the expanded CRA on projects in the CRA 2024 Plan.

Projects within the CRA 2024 Plan include:

  • $9,350,000 on Affordable Housing.
  • $16,500,000 on underpass/overpass/crossings.
  • $27,740,000 on Fairbanks (US 17-92 to Pennsylvania Ave- Streetscape).
  • $18,000,000 on Morse Boulevard (Streetscape US 17-92 to New York).
  • $17,000,000 on parking improvements.
  • $8,400,000 on stormwater improvements.
  • $7,500,000 buying the USPS land on New York Avenue.

Do any of the projects benefit you? Note there is no detail for any of the projects. It is purely an unsupported wish list. Why do we need these projects and why can’t we prioritize use of our city property taxes to address some of the underlying issues? (More on this in a follow-up post.)

Note that if the CRA is NOT expanded and extended, the city’s General Fund is expected to receive an additional $6,200,000 in 2028, then increasing each year, totalling $84,000,000 over 10 years. This would add about 20% to projected property taxes available for general use.

Would you like a substantial property tax cut in 2028 knowing that sufficient general fund revenue continues to be available to maintain and improve our entire city? Or, would you rather have the city commission invent projects on which to spend your money that do not benefit you?

Again, please read the city commission’s expanded CRA Plan. Challenge our commission members to explain how their CRA extension and expansion plan benefits the residents of Winter Park. Demand they put this plan to a citizen referendum. Contact them here:

Posted in Policy.

2 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Pitt Warner says

    The original intent of CRA was incentivize investment in blighted/slum/decrepit areas. Some people might say the CRA helped obliterate the Westside of WP. Every town has an area that is a little bit cheaper. That’s where the small businesses start, the cheaper housing exists and risk takers move to live. Let’s call it quits on more “incentives”. WP has 700+ affordable housing units. Retail is tough in all areas except Class A. Do we need to dig deeper retail hole in an expanded CRA? And infrastructure was supposedly paid for with the new higher fees. This is Big Government on steroids. Just stop, please.

  2. Gail Hill Smith says

    Thank you for the highlights and comments on this topic which I was unaware of (no, I don’t attend the commission meetings but it is appreciative of having this “watch” email to summarize.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.