Town council, redevelopment agency approve plan to earmark RDA funding
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Truckee Town Council and redevelopment agency have unanimously approved a joint plan to prevent the state from raiding millions of redevelopment dollars to satiate its $25.5 billion dollar deficit.
The decision and#8212; made during what some could label an emergency meeting Tuesday morning at town hall and#8212; is the result of legislative language released by the California Department of Finance on Feb. 23 that says the state wants to seize all California RDA budgets and subsequent redevelopment property taxes.
According to the plan adopted Tuesday, protection of the funds comes through a joint agreement that contracts all current and future RDA projects with the town of Truckee. By linking all RDA projects to the town, the state cannot take any current or future RDA funds because they also will be controlled by the town’s budget.
and#8220;The goal is to protect every single dollar we can before legislation is signed,and#8221; said Dennis Crabb, town attorney.
According to numbers from February 2010, the town of Truckee’s RDA held roughly $12.5 million in bond revenue in addition to increment tax revenues and#8212; increment tax revenue being property tax revenues that come from areas of the town where the RDA has funded projects that have raised property values and subsequently property tax revenues.
Town General Manager Tony Lashbrook said for the past two weeks the town has been drafting a series of agreements to protect its RDA-funded programs as a fail safe for the potential legislation.
When intelligence was received both from Sacramento and through the town’s legal counsel that a decision could come as early as Wednesday or Thursday, Lashbrook said the town had no alternative but to act, hence the emergency Tuesday meeting.
and#8220;The intelligence from both the Democratic side (of the state legislature) and the Republican side is that this is going to pass and#8212; whether it’s going to hold or not is another question,and#8221; Lashbrook said.
Even if the bill is approved by the state legislature and eventually OK’d by Gov. Jerry Brown, Crabb said it will unquestionably be challenged by statewide redevelopment agencies, as it violates the recently approved Proposition 22 that prohibits state raids of redevelopment funding.
and#8220;Assuming the legislation is passed, there will most likely be a lawsuit the next day,and#8221; Crabb said.
The decision adopted Tuesday is hoped to protect projects such as the West River Street redevelopment, Brickelltown Streetscape Improvement Project and Trout Creek restoration.
The council approval also will preserve funds and future property taxes for redevelopment agency programs including the First-Time Home Buyers Down Payment Assistance Program, Historic Preservation Financial Assistance Program, Small Business Loan Program, Downtown Streetscape Improvement Loan Program and the Downtown Economic Development Program.
Additionally, it will allot $3 million for partnership funding for the West River redevelopment.
In an interview after the meeting, Lashbrook said this decision was not the way the town usually likes to deal with complex and important issues; however, considering the circumstances, the town had no choice but to act.
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