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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 9, 2010 10 years ago

Florida wins demolition derby

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The Obama Administration doles out another round of public cash.

Florida and 63 of its cities and counties get the lion's share among the states of the latest $1 billion in neighborhood stabilization program funding from the feds — $208.4 million.

But auto union-dominated Detroit comes out the biggest overall winner (or is it loser?) getting $21.9 million.

Miami-Dade comes in a close third with $20.04 million, just behind Nevada's Clark County, home to Las Vegas, with $20.25 million. That should make U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nevada — both in the midst of election campaigns — happy.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the third round of grants Sept. 8 bringing the grand total to nearly $7 billion for a program the Palm Beach Post calls a bailout for neighborhoods.

The money comes courtesy of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The irony is that Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., was a major supporter of loosening mortgage underwriting standards for lenders, which then sold packages of home loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two failed — and maybe soon to be demolished — government-sponsored enterprises were instrumental in contributing to the financial crisis.

According to HUD, the grants can be used to buy land and property, demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties, and/or to offer downpayment and closing cost assistance to low- to moderate-income homebuyers. Local government grantees can also create “land banks” to assemble, temporarily manage, and dispose of vacant land.

Gulf Coast area local governments are set to receive a quarter of the state's share, roughly $53.2 million split between 14 cities and counties from Pasco to Collier.

The region's demolition derby runner-ups are: Hillsborough County ($8.08 million), Lee County ($6.64 million), Pasco County ($5.19 million), Pinellas County ($4.7 million), Tampa ($4.69 million), Sarasota County ($3.95 million), Collier County ($3.88 million), St. Petersburg ($3.7 million), Manatee County ($3.32 million), Cape Coral ($3.05 million), Charlotte County ($2.02 million), Fort Myers ($1.54 million), Clearwater ($1.39 million) and Sarasota ($1.04 million).

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