On Tuesday March 15, 2016, the Fort Lauderdale CRA Board approved their fiscal year 2014/2015 CRA Annual Report. This report is required by law to be filed by March 30 with the City, Children’s Services Council, North Broward Hospital District, Broward County, and the State. This report details the agency activities from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015.
A few minutes later, on the next item, they voted to amend their 14 year old Redevelopment Plan for the Northwest CRA.
The Staff memo about the amendment to the CRA Redevelopment Plan states:
“Over the past three months, Staff oversaw the process of significantly amending the redevelopment plan for the NPF CRA for the first time in 14 years.”
The memo says:
“As outlined by Sections 163.360, 163.362(5) and 163.370, Florida Statutes, the redevelopment plan for a community redevelopment area is the governing document for all redevelopment activities that occur within the community redevelopment area.”
And it also says:
“If a project or program is not outlined in the redevelopment plan, it cannot be undertaken by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). “
It sounds like a pretty big deal. A project or program has to be outlined in the plan to be legal.
We decided to take a look at what was in the old CRA Plans for both the Beach and the Northwest and we also took a look at what is in the new CRA plan that was approved yesterday by the CRA Board.
Next we read The CRA’s 2014/2015 Annual Report and it’s all good news – the CRA spent a lot of money has blessed itself as squeaky clean – 100% in compliance with Chapter 163.
Every project in the report has a “Compliance Analysis” and according to the report, every dime spent by the CRA was for projects and/or programs that are part of the plan and therefore in compliance. We did some research and came to a differenct conclusion.
We matched up the Annual Report against the CRA Redevelopment Plans that were in effect during the period covered by the report. We found at least $9 million in CRA expenditures for projects and programs that we can’t find anywhere in these CRA Redevelopment plans.
It would appear that in 2015 the CRA misappropriated a lot of money on stuff that is “not in the plan”.
Here’s a short list of the items we could not find reference to in the Redevelopment Plans for these two CRA areas.
Beach CRA Holiday Lights 130,000 “Great American Beach Party” 36,450 Fireworks 82,500 Sun Trolley 220,000 468,950 Northwest CRA Flagler Village Civic Assoc. 142,500 Christmas Lights 87,498 “Light Up Sistrunk” 50,000 Sun Trolley 196,709 Wave Loop 7,800,000 WAVE Feasability Study 300,000 “Urban Intervention” 59,999 Marketing and Branding 241,312 8,878,018
We’re pretty sure these items are not projects or programs outlined in the plan……
We’re going to reach out to those folks the report is supposed to assure – The State, Broward County, the Hospital District (they need money real bad), and Children’s Services Council. It was originally their money. We’re going to point out to them how much CRA 2014/2015 Report is pure, unadulterated BS.
Btw – notice the majority of the illegal spending is in the Northwest CRA?
That’s how it is done in the third most racially segregated city in Florida.