Although this is an uncertain time for many, local CRA reporting is still due March 31.

All of the new requirements for the March annual report are contained in s.163.371, F.S. The enrolled bill can be found here.

An FRA bill summary can be found here.

Here are a few questions regarding reporting we have received:

We have questions regarding how to enter data into the “FRA Reporting Template Tool” presented at the previous webinar. - Contact Zachary Schwartz

Note: the template is a useful tool for recording the data required in the local annual report, but it is an independently developed worksheet and is not provided or required  by any   governmental   agency

Can the March 31 deadline be extended? - Yes, but the decision is local.

The only ones that could technically legally extend it for all CRAs are the Florida legislature. They have adjourned for the 2020 session. The only place this deadline exists is in s.163.371, Florida Statutes. There is no oversight regarding this requirement for a local annual report due March 31 of each year - no governmental entity has enforcement powers, even your own. There are no penalties under law, policy or rule for non-compliance. The “court of public opinion” should be considered, of course. Common sense then is the rule. Communicate the best you can and base decisions on what you, your CRA board or your boss recommends.

Can the CRA use money immediately to help local businesses?  - Yes.

Make sure the decision is approved by your attorney (the attorney may contact David Cruz at  [email protected] , Deputy General Counsel of the Florida League of Cities, to consult at no charge) and your CRA board. Digital approval? Check w your attorney. Also carefully craft a policy and criteria to protect the CRA, and the CRA monies. 

Who does the report go to?  - Only to the city or county (suggest the mayor and manager) is required by s.163.371, F.S.

This section also requires the March 30 report to be posted online. We suggest that a note be posted online that says it is available, and/or how to access it if for any reason you cannot post online. Good to have a statement or link on your main CRA page. Not the state and not the county if you are a city CRA. Does this mean you should not disseminate widely? No! But knowing exactly what the law requires is  key  - everything else is to the credit of the CRA/city/county. 

How were the auditing rules changed in CS/HB 9, enrolled, 2019 legislative session?  - The changes are all contained in s.163.387. As always, and prior, a separate statement of financials for the CRA is required and the new 2019 law did not change that. 

However, the new law does require (and it most specifically added new sections) that auditors must issue a “finding” within the annual audit report, that the CRA has followed the provisions of s.163.387. So, the only way to do this is to separately review the CRA financials. 

CRAS may wish to spend the additional fees for a standalone audit for the CRA. However, the new law in 2019 CS/HB 9 does not require a  standalone  audit. The CRA may continue to be treated as a major fund / component unit, under s. 218.39 - this section of law was not amended in 2019 to change that. Also AG rules 10.55 were amended September, 2109 and did not change that. 

For additional questions, contact Carol Westmoreland at [email protected]  or 850-570-7206.