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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 9, 2010 11 years ago

Florida wins demolition derby

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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