Florida law gives cities the ability to designate areas in economic decline as "redevelopment areas" under the Community Redevelopment Act . The State recognizes that areas in decline become a burden to local governments and that the decline affects multiple aspects of the community. Areas in decline generate less in taxes because of the lower property values, yet often require more services from the municipality.
Tax Increment Financing
The main CRA funding source is called tax increment financing (TIF), which is a unique tool available to cities and counties for redevelopment activities. Each CRA was established with a base year for taxing purposes. As the value of property included in the CRA increases beyond the value recorded in the base year, the CRA captures the “tax increment” revenue from property tax increases into a redevelopment trust fund. The tax increment is only collected from the general fund millage rates charged by the City of Melbourne and Brevard County. The City and County will continue to collect the same amount of taxes as the base year, for the life of the CRA. It is important to note that property tax revenue collected by the School Board and any special district are not affected under the TIF process.
The tax increment revenues can be used immediately, saved for a particular project, or can be bonded to maximize the funds available. Any funds received from a tax increment financing area must be used for specific redevelopment purposes within the targeted area, and not for general government purposes. All projects and programs financed by the CRA must be consistent with each CRA’s adopted redevelopment plan. Each redevelopment fund is used to complete public improvement projects throughout the redevelopment area where the revenue is generated. Projects can range from streetscape improvement to creation of parks and installation of public infrastructure. Melbourne seeks other federal and state funding sources that can be used in the redevelopment areas.
The Florida Redevelopment Association’s CRA Basics page offers an overview of how CRAs function and benefit the community.
CRA and Advisory Committees
All three of the CRA Boards are composed of City Council members, who make decisions on which programs and projects to fund. To review projects and programs and make recommendations, an advisory committee has been created for each CRA. These volunteer advisory committees are known as the Melbourne Downtown Redevelopment Committee, the Babcock Street CRA Advisory Committee, and the Olde Eau Gallie Riverfront CRA Advisory Committee. The meetings of the CRA and CRA Advisory Committees are open to the public.
Historic and Architectural Review Board
Exterior changes to commercial buildings and signage in the CRAs require prior approval from the Historic and Architectural Review Board, which is appointed by City Council. More information, including adopted Downtown and Babcock design guidelines and application, can be found on the Historic and Architectural Review Board page.
Economic Incentive Programs and Grants
All three CRAs are pleased to offer economic incentive programs and grants that are available to eligible properties within the limits of the CRAs.
Doug Dombroski, Economic Development Manager