Cities Await Bond Ruling


Florida counties and cities could get hit with a double budget whammy this year.

If voters approve the Property Tax Amendment on the January 29th ballot, the subsequent tax rollback will force many local governments to reduce spending. Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court is reconsidering a case that limits how local governments fund of community redevelopment.

For decades, Florida counties and cities used tax increment finance bonds to pay for community redevelopment improvements like roads and storm water sewers.

That practice was challenged in the case Strand v. Escambia County. The Florida Supreme Court found that such bond deals must be first be put before voters in a referendum and applied its ruling statewide.

That put a lot of redevelopment projects on hold.

'I really hope the Strand Decision is changed,' says Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. 'It really has huge implications for us as a community.'

She says the court decision has had an impact on Tampa community redevelopment projects in Central Park, Tampa Heights, downtown and the Channel District.

In a rare move, the high court agreed to listen to arguments on whether to rehear the Strand Case. Oral arguments were in October. A decision is pending. The court can revise its opinion, rehear the case or let the original ruling stand.

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