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UPDATE: County Looks To Workaround For Its Redevelopment Woes

The governor's office estimates around $5.5 billion will be allocated to local governments for redevelopment this year.

The Board of Supervisors agreed today to designate Riverside County's Economic Development Agency as the "successor'' to the
Redevelopment Agency in the event the latter is dissolved under Gov. Jerry Brown's 2011-12 budget plan.

Supervisor John Benoit authored the resolution, which states that the
EDA would manage existing redevelopment funds and projects effective July 1, provided Brown's proposal is approved by the Legislature. The RDA is currently a division of the EDA.

"This is an effort to respond to potential changes that are going to occur with RDA,'' Benoit told fellow board members. "This topic is a long way from resolved.'

The supervisor noted that the California Department of Finance had
already released draft legislation specifying that unless cities and counties have selected alternate agencies to take over redevelopment concerns, they would not receive further disbursements from the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund after the new state budget is enacted.

Benoit reiterated that the board is wholly opposed to any plans to phase out redevelopment agencies.

The governor's office estimates around $5.5 billion will be allocated to local governments for redevelopment this year.

Brown wants the revenue normally transferred to the RDAs to be distributed directly to school districts, cities and counties using an as-yet undefined formula. The modification is part of the governor's plan for paring down a $25.4 billion budget shortfall.

He's proposing that counties and cities seek voter approval before obligating funds for revitalization projects in the future.

Riverside County's redevelopment agency, with about $100 million in
annual revenue, is the state's seventh-largest.

Benoit, whose Fourth District covers most of the eastern county region, testified before a state legislative committee last month about the potentially dire consequences of ending redevelopment.

The former state legislator said around 625 redevelopment projects have been completed in the last few years, accounting for roughly $1.5 billion in annual economic activity at the local level.

Between 2007 and 2009, 8,707 jobs were created as a result of redevelopment. There are 37 projects in the pipeline, including road
improvements, parks, libraries, affordable housing complexes and public safety facilities, according to county officials.

California Controller John Chiang's office recently concluded a review
of 18 RDAs, including Riverside County's, which found record keeping inconsistencies and instances of  "a lack of accountability and transparency.''

In some cases, funds strictly allocated for "low- and moderate-housing projects'' were withdrawn for other uses.

Desert Hot Springs allocated $162,000 in housing funds for codeenforcement, according to the audit.

The review also questioned Palm Desert's use of redevelopment funds to renovate a four-star golf course.

One of the requirements under the California Community Redevelopment Law is that blight exist to justify using RDA funds, which are gleaned from property taxes. --City News Service

ORGINAL POST:

The Board of Supervisors is expected tomorrow to approve a resolution designating Riverside County's Economic Development Agency as the "successor'' to the Redevelopment Agency in the event the latter is dissolved under Gov. Jerry Brown's 2011-12 budget plan.

Supervisor John Benoit authored the resolution, which states that the
EDA would manage existing redevelopment funds and projects effective July 1, provided Brown's proposal is approved by the Legislature. The RDA is currently a division of the EDA.

"While (the) resolution ... authorizes the designation of a successor
agency pursuant to the proposed legislation, adoption of this resolution does not indicate that the Board of Supervisors has accepted the proposal to eliminate redevelopment,'' Benoit wrote. "The board remains opposed to the proposed legislation.''

The supervisor noted that the California Department of Finance had
already released draft legislation specifying that unless cities and counties have selected alternate agencies to take over redevelopment concerns, they would not receive further disbursements from the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund after the new state budget is enacted.

The governor's office estimates around $5.5 billion will be allocated to
local governments for redevelopment this year.

Brown wants the revenue normally transferred to the RDAs to be distributed directly to school districts, cities and counties using an as-yet undefined formula. The modification is part of the governor's plan for paring down a $25.4 billion budget shortfall.

He's proposing that counties and cities seek voter approval before obligating funds for revitalization projects in the future.

Riverside County's redevelopment agency, with about $100 million in
annual revenue, is the state's seventh-largest.

Benoit, whose Fourth District covers most of the eastern county region, testified before a state legislative committee last month about the potentially dire consequences of ending redevelopment.

The former state legislator said around 625 redevelopment projects have been completed in the last few years, accounting for roughly $1.5 billion in annual economic activity at the local level.

Between 2007 and 2009, 8,707 jobs were created as a result of redevelopment. There are 37 projects in the pipeline, including road
improvements, parks, libraries, affordable housing complexes and public safety facilities.

California Controller John Chiang's office recently concluded a review
of 18 RDAs, including Riverside County's, which found record-keeping inconsistencies and instances of "a lack of accountability and transparency.''

In some cases, funds strictly allocated for "low- and moderate-housing projects'' were withdrawn for other uses.

Desert Hot Springs allocated $162,000 in housing funds for code
enforcement, according to the audit. The review also questioned Palm Desert's use of redevelopment funds to renovate a four-star golf course.

One of the requirements under the California Community Redevelopment Law is that blight exist to justify using RDA funds, which are gleaned from property taxes. --City News Service

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