Updated budget proposal from Jerry Brown would fully eliminate all state RDA funds
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; New bill language in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget could spell a fatal prognosis for the town’s redevelopment agency funding and its many projects.
The language and#8212; posted in late February by the California Department of Finance and#8212; will be used on a future bill soon to be voted upon by the legislature that would eliminate statewide redevelopment agencies and redistribute an estimated $1.7 billion for state purposes.
It reflects Brown’s previous statements that RDAs have become inflated with taxpayer dollars and have deprived funding from core services such as police, teachers and firefighters.
The new language states: and#8220;These difficult times demand that a re-examination of resources and priorities be undertaken. This re-examination demonstrates that the state’s investment in local economic development and redevelopment agencies is less critical than providing for police and fire protection and is less critical that preventing additional harm to public education.and#8221;
In a Feb. 28 release from the California Redevelopment Association and#8212; a statewide RDA advocacy association and#8212; its legal counsel said a review of the language indicates if Brown signs the bill, virtually all redevelopment activity would be suspended except to fund existing obligations. Counsel also said the bill language indicates that after July 1, all RDAs would be abolished.
Phone calls and e-mails to town of Truckee officials went unreturned both Monday and Tuesday.
Krista Noonan, CRA director of communications, said the primary hope for RDAs is to petition legislators to stand against the bill once it comes to vote.
A second recourse, she said, would be to petition the legality of the constitutionality of the bill, as Proposition 22, approved by voters last November, prohibits the state, even during severe fiscal hardship, from borrowing or taking funds used for redevelopment, local government projects and services, in addition to transportation.
Though the bill proposes that RDA property tax revenues be redirected for core services such as teachers, police and firefighters, the new language indicates that for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the majority of funding would be earmarked to the state for trial court and Medi-Cal costs and#8212; only a small amount apparently will be available for cities and counties, according to the CRA’s review.
In following years, the CRA review said RDA property tax funding would be distributed to and#8220;taxing agencies,and#8221; but did not specify whether they were local taxing agencies or state taxing agencies.
According to numbers from February 2010, the town of Truckee’s RDA held roughly $12.5 million in bond revenue.
According to previous Sun reports, while it is unclear what the definition of existing obligations will be, current Truckee projects include the West River site redevelopment located in the downtown area, for which roughly $82,000 has already been budgeted; the Donner Pass Road/Bridge Street Streetscape Improvement Project, to which $400,000 has been budgeted; and the Brickelltown Streetscape Project, where an undefined amount of several million dollars has been set aside.
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