Grass Valley councilwoman: State’s proposed grab of redevelopment dollars ‘a travesty’
Sun News Service
GRASS VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; California’s governor and legislators who support his budget are and#8220;irresponsibleand#8221; and and#8220;should be ashamed of themselvesand#8221; for trying to take away local funding used for economic development, a city official said late Tuesday.
Grass Valley City Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout blasted Gov. Jerry Brown for offering a budget that dismantles redevelopment agencies, or RDAs, used by cities and counties to collect a portion of property taxes on land that has been improved. Brown hopes to take billions of dollars in RDA money statewide to help close a budget shortfall of $29 billion.
The city has used its redevelopment agency and#8212; essentially led by the City Council and#8212; to improve downtown, build the East Main Street roundabout, improve hundreds of low-income residences and other projects.
Officials also had hoped to use the agency, and its unique financial flexibility, to expand redevelopment efforts north along East Main Street, along Idaho-Maryland Road and into Glenbrook Basin along the Golden Center Freeway. Those efforts have been two years in the making, and are about three months away from getting off the ground. The city has signed a $10,000 contract with a company to get started on the work.
But a vote on Brown’s budget proposal that could come as soon as today or Thursday in the state Legislature could undo that.
and#8220;Our money has been used for legitimate redevelopment projects,and#8221; Swarthout said during Tuesday’s council meeting. and#8220;We’ve used it for infrastructure, redevelopment, job creation projects in our city.
and#8220;When people see the repercussions of this, especially in rural counties, they will be sorry. It’s a travesty.and#8221;
So council members took steps to protect loans and property connected with the city’s redevelopment agency from the state. Assets protected included property at a gateway monument on Richardson Street at the corner of East Main; they also protected $5.2 million in funds set aside in city accounts to build the Dorsey Drive interchange on the freeway and more for other transportation improvement projects.
Brown is anxious to pass his budget by Friday and#8212; just in time to make the state-mandated deadline to get one budget element onto the June ballot, City Attorney Ruthann Ziegler said. Another part of his tax plan is to ask voters to extend four tax increases to fund education, social programs and some police programs, raising another $12 billion yearly.
Local legislators and#8212;Assemblyman Dan Logue and Senator Doug LaMalfa and#8212; both have opposed the proposed budget.
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