Loss of Redevelopment Agencies

The Statewide dissolution of redevelopment agencies as of February 1, 2012 is nothing short of a debacle and has resulted in the filing of over 100 lawsuits by cities and counties against the State Department of Finance, with many more to come.     The California Department of Finance has been charged with the primary responsibility of implementing the legislation (ABX1-26 adopted in June 2011 and amended by AB 1484 in June 2012) on behalf of the State.  The legislation is complicated, confusing and full of internal contradictions.   It is hard to find any two attorneys who fully agree with the provisions contained in these two bills.

However, what appears readily apparent, is that the Department of Finance has been given clear direction by our Governor, and that direction is to “Just Say No” to any requests from Successor Agencies (the bodies , typically cities and counties, who have been given the responsibility of closing down their former redevelopment agencies as expeditiously as possible).  The process is nothing more than a cash grab by the State against local government.

Successor Agencies are not being allowed to carry out redevelopment activities or to fulfill terms of loan or cooperation agreements entered into between cities or counties and their redevelopment agencies whereby redevelopment would  fund all or a portion of the cost of public improvements, even if these agreements were entered into prior to redevelopment dissolution.   In carrying out its directive, the Department of Finance gives no credence to past history or local project priorities.  No thought is given to the overall public benefit to be derived from projects, but instead, the State’s sole goal is to recapture as much money as possible in its effort to reduce State financial obligations on the backs of local governments.

There obviously is major fundamental disregard for the principles of fairness, equity and local public policy if legislation, which only became effective in February 2012, has already resulted in this vast number of lawsuits.  The legislation, as drafted, provides no real opportunity for municipalities to be able to seriously make their case against the Department of Finance without going to the expense of filing a lawsuit.  This, in and of itself, is a sad state of affairs.  Redevelopment in Watsonville was implemented very successfully.  The Mello Center, the Cabrillo College campus in downtown Watsonville, the new City Library, new downtown court facilities, the new Civic Plaza Parking Garage, and hundreds of workforce housing units for lower-income individuals are all projects of the former Redevelopment Agency.

Jan Davison

Redevelopment & Housing Director

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2013 at 4:02 pm and is filed under City of Watsonville, Homepage News . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.