Frustrations Mount For Setting Tax Dollar Priorities

By: Andy Alcock
By: Andy Alcock

By: Andy Alcock
June 17, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Snafu. It stands for "situation normal all fouled up".

Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox had that assessment of a Monday meeting.

It was designed to set tax money priorities for the city's Frenchtown and south side areas. One of those priorities could be the relocation of the city's homeless shelter from Frenchtown. The shelter is overcrowded and will be moving. But at this point, it's unclear where.

Acting Director Jacob Reiter estimates it would cost a half million to $800,000 just to renovate a place. He's says a new building would be more expensive.

"Right now, we're exploring our options. We're partnering with the city, the county, the United Way," said Reiter.

One possible source of funding is an estimated $1.7 to $1.9 million tax dollars generated by Tallahassee's Frenchtown and south side neighborhoods.

The Community Redevelopment Ageny or CRA, comprised of city and county commissioners, has the responsibility of spending that money to encourage private business development.

Member Gil Ziffer says moving the shelter should be a priority.

"To a degree, keeps Frenchtown back from really, truly being revitalized," said Ziffer.

However community activist Darryl Jones is concerned if too much of the money is spent on Frenchtown, the city's south side will be shortchanged.

But those kinds of decisions haven't been made yet.

At Monday's CRA meeting, members took an hour and forty minutes to agree to a broad set of five goals Mayor John Marks pointed out staff members had already laid out before the meeting.

CRA Member Scott Maddox says it's the second meeting with little progress.

"This is ridiculous," said Maddox. "What have we accomplished over five or six hours of time... Five or six hours I'll never get back in my life."

Ziffer believes it will likely take until the CRA's September meeting before any decisions are made about where to spend the tax dollars.

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