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HIGH SPRINGS – A review of the High Springs Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) audits revealed that the City owes the CRA almost $200,000.

As part of the High Springs CRA request for an extension, several items were submitted to the Alachua County Economic Development Coordinator, Edgar Campa-Palafox, including the CRA's financial audits for previous years.

It was determined that the City inadvertently neglected to put in matching funds into the CRA account from 2002 to 2006. During those four years, the amount that should have been paid into the CRA fund from the City's coffers amounts to more than $199,000, according to CRA Director Amanda Rodriguez.

Normally, both the County and City contribute tax revenues paid by property owners within the district to fund the CRA.

“It [the payment] was apparently overlooked,” said Rodriguez. “We have been unable to locate any documentation that took place during those four years to explain the omission any other way.”

“The City came to us after realizing the problem and brought with them a 10-year payback plan,” explained Campa-Palafox. “The County attorney said the cleanest way to resolve the issue is for the City to make payment in full to the City's CRA fund prior to the County signing an interlocal agreement to extend the CRA. Since that would put a burden on the City to do that, I suggested a five-year payback period as a compromise. Now it's up to the County Commission to decide what they want to do.”

The item will be reviewed at the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 5.

If the CRA is extended, the County will commit to contributing to the fund at the same millage rate as the City.

Rodriguez also emphasized that the BOCC has the final word on how this will all work out, but Campa-Palafox's proposed resolution of the problem appears to be what the City is hoping will be acceptable.

The High Springs CRA, which is scheduled to sunset in December of this year, is requesting an extension for an additional 15 years with the opportunity to reevaluate their progress and possibly continue for another 15 years.

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