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Court Denies Agency's Case Against Redevelopment Fund Grab, Cities Lose $2.2 Billion

khts_citymatters_scvlogoIt’s check writing day for cities all across the state today, since the third District Court of Appeal has denied California Redevelopment Association’s request for a temporary stay on the state’s raid of their redevelopment funds.

 

Santa Clarita’s outlay will be for $1.1 million this year and $233,000 for fiscal 2010-2011. The CRA will continue to pursue an appeal on the grounds that the taking is unconstitutional. City treasurer Darren Hernandez said that the monies, which had been budgeted for permanent improvements locally will now be spent on temporary fixes on the state level.

“It’s so unfortunate that it’s being done at this time, it’s a time of economic crisis and unfortunately, the state is taking this money from redevelopment agencies just to pay their bills,” he said. “It’s not like they’re taking it and building something with it, they’re using it to keep their lights on. They’re using this one-time money to fill an ongoing budget hole. It’s just another chronic component of their ongoing fiscal irresponsibility, and that’s why people in California of all ideologies are frustrated with what’s going on in Sacramento.”

“It’s going to hamper the city’s ability to fulfill our plans to revitalize Old Town Newhall,” Hernandez said. “That’s the purpose of the Redevelopment Agency. We have the specific plan that was developed several years ago that calls for tens of millions of dollars to go into the revitalization of that downtown area. Having $1.1 million less than what we should have will hamper our ability to revitalize Old Town Newhall.”

Hernandez said all is not gloom and doom for the downtown area, which has been changing slowly but surely.

“The streetscape is paid for, the library is paid for,” he said. “But the traffic circle that is planned, the parking structures which we see as very important to revitalize and facilitate mixed-use development in that area will be put on hold. Our hope is that there would be a lot of people living there, working there and visiting there and that they’re going to need a place to park.”

He added that the agency’s ability to purchase land or buildings to complete the area’s renewal will be hampered as well.

“There are a variety of improvements that are outlined for Old Town Newhall. Right now we’re just funding and constructing a portion. Sometimes an agency has to go in and buy land that is old or underdeveloped to fund redevelopment. The loss of this money will hamper our ability to do that as well.”