Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor has sent a letter to Chairman Nick Maddox requesting that the county commission stop all funding for Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) projects pending clarifications of the numerous probes implicating the CRA’s role in various Downtown projects.
On June 22, TR reported that the FBI served the City of Tallahassee with subpoenas seeking information related to CRA projects.
In the letter, dated July 5, 2017, Proctor wrote, “In an abundance of caution and proprietary concern, I strongly recommend that funding decisions be suspended as related to Downtown CRA projects. I do recommend an independent trainer and/or expert be retained in order to instruct, guide and inform CRA members of the policies and parameters that state law mandates for our performance in executing the responsibility of expending public funds for public or private benefits.”
Proctor added, “Given this reality I urge that we cease and desist funding for now on any of the Downtown CRA projects. Timing, in this instance, is everything.”
The letter was also sent to City Manager Rick Fernandez.
Proctor also sent a separate letter to County Administrator Vince Long and County Attorney Herb Thiele requesting the issue be brought before the county commission.
Proctor wrote, “I request an agenda item that provides an option for Leon County to withdraw support from the Downtown CRA effective 2017-18 budget year. I suggest that we redirect and reprogram these dollars more positively to address other pressing needs or else lower our mileage rate accordingly.”
Proctor has been a frequent critic of the CRA providing tax breaks to student housing developers. In 2014, when the CRA was considering a $1.6 million tax break for a developer, Proctor said, “this is not what the CRA is all about. This is cherry picking and not fair to other property tax payers.”
The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) voted 6-1 (Proctor against) to approve the $1.6 million tax rebate to CA Student Living, a developer from Chicago, Illinois.