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The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (FMCRA) receives money to pay for projects through tax increment financing, a tool used to fund economic development through the community redevelopment agencies (it’s authorized by Chapter 163, Part III of the Florida Statutes). Tax increment funds are paid to the FMCRA by the City and the County based on the growth in property values for that district. The increment comes from property taxes paid by each property owner within the redevelopment district. The property owners do not incur any additional taxes by being located in a redevelopment district, they are assessed the same millage rates as a property owner located outside of a redevelopment district. The taxing authority (city, county) collects their share of the property taxes and then must turn around and “share” their portion of property taxes with the FMCRA.
Each redevelopment district generates its own tax increment funds to be used only in that specific district. Tax increment funds are not derived from increases in property taxes, but rather the growth or increased property values that occur in a redevelopment district over time. The property tax amount in the year the district is established becomes the base year value for the district throughout its lifespan. Tax increment funds are generated based on any increase in value a district sees over and above its base year value. The agency uses those tax increment dollars to put money back into the district, further increasing the property values. This cycle lasts through the lifespan of a district.
Tax increment funds can be used for operations, projects, capital improvements or developmentincentives within the district where they were generated.
As part of the redevelopment process, developers, property owners, business owners, and residents may be eligible for an improvement incentive or grant program available through the redevelopment agency.
The plan typically includes direction on the best commercial-industrial-residential mix for the area and placement of these sections within the district, as well as the overall design style for the district infrastructure and building parameters.