• New Smyrna looks to add new CRA for clean-up along US 1


    NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Taxpayers could be footing the bill to help New Smyrna Beach clean up and redevelop part of U.S. Highway 1.

    Channel 9's Blaine Tolison looked into the city's plans to create another community redevelopment authority (CRA), a use of taxpayer dollars that has created controversy in the past.

    Each year, millions of tax dollars are spent to clean up certain areas in cities facing blight and slums. In Volusia County, there are 16 CRAs, which property appraiser Morgan Gilreath said is too many.

    "I think folks sometimes wonder why we have such a high millage rate," said Gilreath. "This is one of the reasons, because every time that happens, that cost gets absorbed into the millage rate."

    On Tuesday, New Smyrna will consider a $112,000 study along U.S. 1. The study will look at everything from landscaping to land development codes. It's the ground work to apply for tax money to fund another CRA project.

    For 2012, CRAs in Volusia County will receive $10 million. Gilreath said 57 percent of that will be taxes shifted in from residents outside of cities with CRAs. Forty-three percent will be paid by residents within the cities.

    "I don't think that the taxpayers themselves should have to pay for the small business guy," said Gilreath. "I think the city should find a way to raise funds a better way than that."

    This year, New Smyrna will already receive $1.6 million. Last year, WFTV reported that New Smyrna CRA officials faced ethics violations for spending CRA funds on their own businesses.

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    New Smyrna looks to add new CRA for clean-up along US 1