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CRA Emergency Relief Program public hearing set for Thursday

Megan Holmes

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St. Petersburg City Council is set to consider the adoption of three ordinances that would allow tax increment financing (TIF) dollars established by the three redevelopment plans to be mobilized for the “CRA Emergency Relief Program.”

The three tax increment financing (TIF) districts, known as community revitalization areas (or CRAs), would divert funds from regular grant application programs to support relief programs such as the city’s Covid-19 response, the Fighting Chance Fund.

The Fighting Chance Fund awards $5,000 grants to restaurants, bars, retail and service-based businesses in St. Petersburg that employ 25 or fewer people, as well as $500 grants to employees.

If passed, the ordinances would amend the adopted plans of the South St. Petersburg CRA, Intown CRA and Intown West CRA, originally established to reduce blight and redevelop key areas of the city, to mobilize funds for emergency relief programs on a per-emergency basis, through an interlocal agreement with with the city and Pinellas County. It would also require that the city develop operating guidelines for the use of TIF funds, and that those guidelines be approved by the Mayor and City Council before any funding expenditures.

The ordinances allow the CRA funds to be used for new “redevelopment activities,” such as prevention of blight; providing technical or financial assistance, including grant or loan programs to businesses, employees, residents and property owners in the case of natural or man-made emergencies declared by state or city code; and create emergency relief programs within each of the enumerated CRA plans.

Previous grant programs, like the South St. Petersburg CRA place-based Commercial Site Improve Grant and Commercial Building Interior and Tenant Improvement Grant, have been temporarily suspended as the city works to combat the economic impact of Covid-19.

 

The public can attend and participate in the May 7 City Council meeting via multiple options:

  • Watch live on Channel 15 WOW!/Channel 641 Spectrum/Channel 20 Frontier FiOS
  • Watch live online at www.stpete.org/TV
  • Listen and participate by dialing one of the following phone numbers:
    • +1 312 626 6799 or
    • +1 646 876 9923 or
    • +1 253 215 8782 or
    • +1 301 715 8592 or
    • +1 346 248 7799 or
    • +1 669 900 6833 and entering webinar ID: 958 8392 4964#
  •  Watch, listen, and participate on your computer, mobile phone, or other device by visiting the following link: https://zoom.us/j/95883924964
  • The public can also participate in the meeting by providing public comment in the following ways:
    • Send an email to city.clerk@stpete.org with your name, address and comment.
    • If attending the Zoom meeting by computer or other device, use the “raise hand” button in the Zoom app.
    • If attending the Zoom meeting by phone only, enter *9 on the phone to use the “raise hand” feature.
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