Calif. budget impacts: Placer County redevelopment agency future still in limbo
KINGS BEACH, Calif. andamp;#8212; The recent adoption of Californiaandamp;#8217;s budget gave Placer County officials a clearer picture of impacts locally, but questions surrounding the future of the countyandamp;#8217;s redevelopment agency linger.The budget approved June 28 by legislators outlines the following options for the future of county and city redevelopment agencies throughout California, said Robert Miller, Placer County spokesman:andamp;#8226; eliminate redevelopment agencies altogether while allowing local governments to designate successor agencies to handle remaining obligations such as bond payments; orandamp;#8226; continue redevelopment agencies, contingent on redirection of much of their revenue streams to state coffers. A third alternative exists, said Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, in which Gov. Jerry Brown would sign a bill that effectively eliminates RDAs, then signs another bill that allows county agencies to re-form a redevelopment agency with provisions that mandate a portion of the funds be redirected to the state for vital services such as education.Specific to Placer County, the board of supervisors recently approved the countyandamp;#8217;s redevelopment agency budget of $29.2 million for the 2011-andamp;#8217;12 fiscal year.Following Brownandamp;#8217;s January proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies, the board also approved a resolution with the intent to ensure the county would be able to spend about $18.4 million already allotted for various projects.Specific to North Lake Tahoe, the countyandamp;#8217;s redevelopment agency is set to contribute $7 million toward the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Programandamp;#8217;s (the three-lane project on Highway 28) estimated $44 million cost.Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said the $7 million is protected from state raids for this fiscal year.Brown is expected to make a decision on the fate of redevelopment agencies sometime in July.Other queriesBesides the future of redevelopment funds, other concerns Placer County officials have with the budget, Miller said, include:andamp;#8226; whether the state will fund service responsibilities it has shifted to county levels,andamp;#8226; whether funding reductions will be made during the 2011-12 fiscal year; andandamp;#8226; how a new state fire prevention fee that could compete with independent fire districts.Under the state budgetandamp;#8217;s realignment plan, Miller said California shifts some public safety responsibility by making the county responsible for low-level adult offenders and parolees.Additionally, the county is primarily responsible for services relating to foster care, child welfare, mental health, substance abuse treatment and adult protection.Brownandamp;#8217;s initial proposal to fund the realignment by holding a statewide special election in which voters would be asked to extend several tax increases was nixed in the legislature; thus a sales tax swap has been designated as the monetary source.However, counties across the state are expressing doubt as to whether the revenue will fully cover the additional costs, Miller said.The fire prevention fee charges up to $150 per year per property in rural areas where the state is responsible for fighting wildfires. Previously, the state has withdrawn funds from the general fund to provide those resources.Budget and layoffsThe Placer County Board of Supervisors adopted a $720 million proposed budget on June 7 after holding a series of budget-related workshops beginning in February. The $720 million budget represents a 4.9 percent decrease from the countyandamp;#8217;s final 2010-11 budget. The budget will serve as an interim spending plan until the board adopts a final budget in September.The county executed six layoffs in mid-June due to deal with economic downturn andamp;#8212; one in the Community Development Resource Agencyandamp;#8217;s Engineering and Surveying Department, due to insufficient land development revenue; and five in Child Support Services, due to a statewide child support computer system and subsequent mandates requiring certain work be performed by a higher-level employee.Later this month, the county will announce layoffs to Health and Human Services staff due to their contractandamp;#8217;s expiration. Once the state budgetandamp;#8217;s effects are known, officials said another round of layoffs could ensue.