The LDDA was created by a special act of the State Legislature in 1977 upon request of local leaders. Downtown Lakeland had declined just as other downtowns and consultants suggested this organized method of addressing redevelopment. The LDDA is a special taxing district – we levy up to 2 mills tax on real property within our district. Downtown property owners voted in 1978 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 property owners and the seventh is a City Commissioner appointed by the Mayor.
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 mill now generates about $250,000.00 and the CRA’s tax increment contributes another $800,000.00 annually. This compares to $0 in 1978.
The LDDA receives no operating funds from the City, but the City has provided all of the capital dollars for public improvements and continues to maintain the downtown as they have historically.
The staff consists of an Executive Director and a part-time Administrative Assistant.
Our most effective role has been as an advocate for downtown and its investors. We lobby the City to make physical improvements according to a plan they and we adopted.