Court eradicates redevelopment agencies

December 29, 2011

State budget writers can scrub redevelopment funds used by California cities to redevelop blighted areas, the state’s supreme Court ruled today. [LATimes]

As a result of the decision, San Luis Obispo County’s five redevelopment agencies stand to lose a combined $4.5 million within the next year alone and several projects may be in jeopardy.

Now, funds which last year would have been earmarked for local redevelopment agencies can be used to help balance the state’s current budget, and will pave the way for future lawmakers to use redevelopment property tax revenues for balancing budgets.

The court delivered a second blow when it deemed a companion bill that would have permitted redevelopment agencies to continue if they shared revenue unlawful. Several local redevelopment agencies including Grover Beach, Atascadero and Paso Robles had planned to remain operational through the companion bill.

The state’s budget woes caused officials to remove the funding mechanism from the budget in June, but cities and their redevelopment agencies sued to block the plan. A period of intense lobbying followed, with city leaders from all over the state trooping to Sacramento to plead for retention of the funding.

Gov. Jerry Brown will now have time to incorporate the decision into his new budget when he puts it on the table during the first week of January. Local municipalities will also need to redo budget plans as a result of the courts decision.

Arroyo Grande will lose funding allocated for improvements to the Car Corral public parking lot in the Village, and the Police Station project. The city may also need to sacrifice its efforts to help fund affordable housing projects and marketing programs designed to attract new businesses and provide incentives for others to go “green.”

“It will likely require the city (Arroyo Grande) to cease all economic development efforts,” said Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams said in July.

In Atascadero, the abolishment of redevelopment agencies could affect Atascadero’s future improvements because redevelopment bond revenues are core to the funding for the Historic City Hall repairs.

Paso Robles officials said redevelopment money was expected to fund handicapped access improvements including new curb ramps on Spring Street and in the downtown area, in addition to the construction of new fully-accessible restrooms in City Park.

“If we are not able to use redevelopment funds for these improvements, there could be significant fiscal impacts as the improvements were ordered by the court as a consequence of litigation,” said Paso Robles City Planner Ed Gallagher in July.


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Paperboys

Great, now the state government will waste the billions of redevelopment dollars.

At least when the money was kept locally, and that’s all redevelopment agencies do is keep increased property taxes locally, there was a chance of some of it trickling down to us plebes. Now, it’ll all disappear into the Sacramento black hole.

Seems to me the State Supreme Court, which is the most politically motivated bunch in State Government, would naturally side with the state tax collectors, after all, their salaries and benefits are covered by the state tax people.

Everyone should now have their properties reassessed ASAP to the new values in the down market. That would even out this money/power grab by the state over the redevelopment agencies’ money.

I can’t wait for a chance to vote on Jerry Brown’s big tax increase this year. Maybe then, they’ll all get the message that we don’t want to pay anymore money to the government. Balance the budget with cuts, dammit.


darwin_is_rolling_over

One more reason the city doesnt need Jim Lewis anymore…..


Jim Lewis currently serves as Assistant City Manager for the City of Atascadero, CA and as President of the Office of Economic Development. FAIL

As the Assistant City Manager, Jim is responsible for economic development, FAIL

business support and attraction, FAIL

human resources, FAIL

technology, Huh?

organizational training and development, FAIL

the creation of new revenues and operating efficiencies FAIL

throughout the organization and several special and capital projects. Hmmm FAIL


MikeB

Here is an excellant commentary on Redevelopment Agencies


http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/589.php


Citizen

Well Paso, don’t expect the taxpayers to build your $500,000 Euro style restroom for the park, after you just gave almost $1million away to developers (for last year and this coming year).


darwin_is_rolling_over

Paso … look at Atascadero. No breaks for developers … no development. There is a huge difference between economic incentives and good ole’ boy breaks. Paso has done an excellent job attracting and keeping business.


mbactivist1

This is great news. Redevelopment was often used as a kind of “welfare for the rich”, putting millions into the pockets of developers and their politician cronies. Some of the money undoubtedly went to good purposes, but a huge amount of it did not.


In Morro Bay, an attempt was made to start a redevelopment agency. City staff ignored a highly-paid financial consulting firm’s recommendation to redevelop power plant property, Chevron property, and some City-owned properties. Instead, they told the redevelopment consultants to look at tracts of residential areas – pleasant middle-class neighborhoods that were NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, blighted.


The criteria used to classify properties as blighted were absolutely ridiculous, and it was clear that something “odd” was going on. If a house had a cracked sidewalk, some chalking paint, and some overgrown bushes, it was classified as blighted.


Luckily, a large group of determined Morro Bay residents put a stop to whatever scheme City staff were working on, but the current developer-controlled Council would likely have revived it were it not for this wise decision by the Court.


What was the scheme? Hard to say, but the targeted residential areas extend out from the area where developers said they wanted to build a monster development project on power plant property.


For more information, see the August, 2010 SLO Coast Journal story, “New Information Casts More Doubt on Redevelopment Study”


abigchocoholic

Well, of course. When I’m in charge it’s me and mine first. When we’re in charge it’s we and ours first.


Same reason why the Dictators across the world live in almost unimaginable wealth while their people live in abject poverty.


It’s called human nature.


oto

I’ll believe A.G.’s redevelopment funds went into “low income housing” when Steve Adams shows me the building. The redevelopment agencies helped developers more the funds helped “blighted areas.” In better economic times, when Federal funding was up for grabs to help develop low income housing and to rehabilitate “blighted” residential neighborhoods, the local government entities were not interested. Private non-profits took advantage of those resources, and used the money to improve their own properties, with the understanding that a certain percentage of the total number of rehabilitated residential units would be rented at below market value. It was a great deal, but this County did not do what it could have. Instead, San Luis Obispo sunk its money where it has always sunk its “redevelopment” money–into the Downtown Business Association. It gussied up their trashcans, sidewalks, and put in a couple of lights. It bought Christmas decorations. What else did it do? It ripped out public parking spaces and historical buildings to put in bigger parking lots. But whether you would call that rehabilitating low income house or blighted areas, is a bit of a stretch.


I’m waiting for some real facts from Mr. Adams and his counterparts in other towns to really show us what those “redevelopment funds” have done to fulfill the purpose for which the redevelopment agencies were created.


I got my opinion from living here a long time, and from clicking one of those darned CCC links and landing on an article about redevelopment agencies in an L.A. magazine.


abigchocoholic

Does you really want low income housing? I suspect about as much as you really want a half-way house as your neighbor.


Low income housing is leftie lib backwards thinking. It doesn’t work never has never will.


The objective is no low income housing in a community not more of it.


unlisted

Sorry, oto. SLO City does NOT have redevelopment.


Bluebird

The sky is falling in!! The pedistrian bridge across the creeek in Atascadero won’t be built. The bridge was a want, not a need and has nothing to do with blight.

If the RDA’s hadn’t gotten piggish and loose with the tax dollar the agency might have continued. The agencys didn’t care if funds were being diverted from the schools, the courts etc. Just gimme more for for my favorite project.

Ironically Council woman Fonzi who was on the news tonight is a Tea Party Republican.

As for lost cost housing very little was built. The money just sat in the fund.


darwin_is_rolling_over

Yeah!!! … Oh wait. That’s right …. Atascadero Mutual Water Company (a private company owned by ALL of the property owners in Atascadero) and The City of Atascadero ….. are completely separate entities! Remember … not even the City can get a brake of water rates …


Cindy

The city did get a break on water rates. I’ll have to find the meeting minutes and post them. The AMWC initially got a big write up for saying no but then they did it anyway. There is a lot that goes on that folks don’t know about, like the AMWC issuing shares to Eagle Ranch for lots that NEVER WERE and NEVER will be, Colony lots. It sticks out like a sore thumb when you look at where the hotel and 25%+ of the residential housing is planned for. In fact, that is only the tip of the ice berg wit hall this water BS.


darwin_is_rolling_over

god bless our good ole’ boys


danika

Atascadero will have to raise there water rates waaaaaaaaay more than the proposed 7.5 % to pay for this decision no doubt unplanned for…