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ProfitWise News and Views, No. 3, 2015
Detroit’s Proposed Community Benefits Ordinance

The Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) model was created in the late 1990s as a tool to ensure that neighborhood residents would benefit from economic development projects, which are often heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars. A CBA is a project-specific agreement between a developer and a broad community coalition that details the project’s contributions to the community and ensures community support for the project. Properly structured CBAs are legally binding and directly enforceable by the signatories. According to The Partnership for Working Families, the Community Benefits Model works because, among other things, it: maximizes returns on local government investment in development; helps generate public support for economic development projects; and holds developers accountable for their promises to local governments and residents. As of 2013, there were approximately 17 CBAs in effect across the U.S. The majority (76 percent) pertained to developments in California.

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