City Commission Adds 30-Year Extension to Life of CRA
Community Redevelopment Area Revenue Will Guarantee $18.5M Loan
Last updated 10/13/2021 at 11:15am
A 30-year extension of the life of the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will guarantee a continuing flow of revenue for community improvements, including street and sidewalk construction, lighting, street trees and more.
The CRA is funded by capturing about 90% of the City and County shares of "tax increment" created by rising property values and new construction. The Lake Wales CRA presently generates about $2.4M annually, a number projected to rise significantly in future years.
The CRA is expected to enter in a loan or bond agreement that will provide $18.5 million in ready funds to pay for the street improvements of the Lake Wales Connected plan. The action was essential to assure lenders that revenue will continue to come to the CRA to pay back loans expected to mature over a 20-year time frame. The present CRA would otherwise sunset in 2029.
The action came during Tuesday's City Commission meeting at which the enabling ordinance was adopted. The new lifetime was made possible by an act of the Florida Legislature, which recently created a general sunset of 2039, unless "the governing body of the city which created the agency approves its continued existence by a majority vote," according to a memo prepared by City of Lake Wales staff.
The Lake Wales City Commission also sits as the board of directors of the CRA under long-standing city policy.