Nearly $4 million in Truckee, Tahoe redevelopment agency funds raided by CA |

Nearly $4 million in Truckee, Tahoe redevelopment agency funds raided by CA

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; Californiaand#8217;s continuing efforts to get out of tens of billions of dollars in deficit means significantly shrunken budgets for area redevelopment agencies.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently won the right to raid local redevelopment funds, a fight the state had lost in court in the past. For Truckee, that meant sending a $625,000 check to the state last Monday, and for Placer County, $3.2 million.

And next fiscal year, Placer will pay about a quarter of that again to the state, and Truckee, $125,000.

and#8220;There is concern all around about how the state will deal with their on-going budget crisis,and#8221; said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.

Truckeeand#8217;s total redevelopment tax increment was $1.7 million for the 2009-10 fiscal year, Lashbrook said, so while the state wonand#8217;t quash any one project, it will affect the agencyand#8217;s ability to do local economic stimulus projects like streetscape improvements and business assistance programs.

For North Lake Tahoe, $2.3 million of the $3.2 million taken comes directly from the region, said Jim LoBue, deputy director of the Placer County Redevelopment Agency, representing about 70 percent of the agencyand#8217;s discretionary tax increment for Tahoe projects.

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and#8220;We are fortunate enough with our overall program … we donand#8217;t have to lay off anybody or cancel projects such as Highway 28 improvements, parking lot purchases or the transit center in Tahoe City,and#8221; LoBue said. and#8220;But we do have a long laundry list of desired projects for Kings Beach, Tahoe Vista, Tahoe City and Lake Forest, and this (funding cut) just lops of a couple million bucks that will not be available in the future.and#8221;

The California Redevelopment Association filed an appeal against the decision, Lashbrook said, and had won previous legal battles to stop the raid on redevelopment agencies.

and#8220;The California Redevelopment Association was confident theyand#8217;d win this time to, but they didnand#8217;t,and#8221; Lashbrook said.

LoBue said a ballot measure in November could prevent such a take by the state in the future.

But Schwarzenegger considered the Superior Court ruling a win, according to the Associated Press.

and#8220;We dodged a bullet,and#8221; said Schwarzeneggerand#8217;s spokesman, Aaron McLear when Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled that the state can take more than $2 billion from local redevelopment funds. and#8220;This would have added $2 billion to our deficit.and#8221;

California is projecting a revenue shortfall of roughly $20 billion in the fiscal year that starts in July, and that number is likely to go up, meaning the governor and state lawmakers will have to consider raising taxes or, more likely, make deeper spending cuts. Teachers, labor groups and social service advocates are already gearing up for battle before Schwarzenegger releases his revised budget later this month.

The state said the funds would be used for public education, but Steve Dickinson, Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districtand#8217;s finance director, said the district not seeing increased revenue from the redevelopment funds.

Elsewhere in the region, Grass Valley had to cut a check for $617,000 this year, and will have to pay $127,000 next year.

and#8212; The Associated Press contributed to this report