110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Apr 1, 2013 - 10:19:42am
Both cities were planning to create Community Redevelopment Areas (CRAs) to help pay for projects to invigorate struggling areas of their cities.
In Orange City's case, the City Council hoped to improve the U.S. Highway 17-92 corridor that bisects the town, to aid the many businesses that line both sides of the roadway.
Deltona wanted to add infrastructure to encourage the commercial development the city sorely lacks.
But the County Council on March 21 voted to suspend consideration of any CRA applications for at least 60 days.
County officials say CRAs put an uncomfortable pinch on county-government finances, because they divert some county property-tax dollars to pay for municipal projects in the specified redevelopment districts.
The county has been talking for months about changing the rules for CRAs, and had scheduled a hearing March 21. Mayors, city-council members and staff members from several cities showed up for the discussion.
But the County Council voted March 21 to postpone the hearing for 60 days. Since there was no hearing, the County Council took no comments from those attending the meeting.
Attending on behalf of West Volusia cities were Mayor Bob Apgar, City Commissioner Leigh Matusick and Assistant City Manager Dale Arrington from DeLand; Mayor Tom Laputka and City Council Member Bill Crippen from Orange City; Mayor Bob Garcia, City Council Member Nick Koval and Assistant City Manager Kassandra Blissett from DeBary; and Mayor John Masiarczyk and City Commissioners Fred Lowry and Chris Nabicht from Deltona.
Orange City Mayor Tom Laputka said he isn't convinced by the claim that CRAs will bankrupt the county.
Laputka said Orange City has spent around $130,000 plus staff time to develop its CRA plan for the U.S. Highway 17-92 corridor, with the county's encouragement.
He talked about Sanford's effective cleanup of its U.S. Highway 17-92 corridor, with teamwork from Seminole County.
"Salt into the wound," Laputka said.
The Orange City Council voted 5-2 March 26 to approve the county's request for a 60-day delay. Laputka and City Council Member Mike Wright cast the opposing votes.
Laputka said he wanted to make a protest against the tone of the county's letter requesting the moratorium. He does want to see the county meet with officials and legal representatives from the cities and hash out better modifications to the CRA rules.
"I voted against that motion, but I'll certainly support it," Laputka said.
Several other cities, including Deltona, have CRA applications in the works, but not submitted.
Read the whole story, in the March 28-31 Weekend edition of The Beacon. To subscribe to The Beacon online, click here. For a list of newsstand locations, click here. To have the print edition mailed to your home twice a week, send your address via email to email@example.com.
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