A Little Perspective
In the 1970s, Downtown Lakeland was dying. It was not an attractive location to either residents or business owners. As a result, in 1977, local leaders requested that the State Legislature create the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) as a way to redevelop the Downtown Area.
So what is the LDDA?
The LDDA is a special taxing district. Taxpayers in the district pay up to 2 million dollars in taxes every year. In 1978, Downtown property owners voted to levy the tax on themselves and no subsequent votes have been held on this issue. A seven-member board governs the agency. Six of the members elected by district are property owners and the seventh is a City Commissioner appointed by the Mayor.
What is the difference between the LDDA and the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency)?
The CRA designation is provided for by general State law and was given to the LDDA by the City Commission in 1979. In 2000, the City Commission became the CRA, with the LDDA acting as an advisor for the CRA funds. In 2009, the CRA Advisory Board added 3 additional appointed members. The LDDA’s $2 million now generates about $250,000.00 and the CRA’s tax increment contributes another $800,000.00 annually. This compares to $0 in 1978.
How does the LDDA and the City work together?
The LDDA receives no operating funds from the City, but the City pays for public improvements and continues to maintain the Downtown area as they have historically.
So what does the LDDA do on a daily basis?
The LDDA advocates for Downtown and its investors. We lobby the City to make physical improvements according to a plan we devised cooperatively. We also manage the Downtown Farmers Curb Market, the First Friday event, and other events, as well as execute marketing campaigns to educate the public on why the Downtown Lakeland is a great place to live, work, and play.
Learn more about LDDA at LDDA.org.