The Turlock City Council held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss the potential impacts to the City of Turlock if Governor Jerry Brown decides to accept legislative approved bills that would eliminate redevelopment agencies.
Redevelopment Agency (RDA) areas are created to help cities reinvest property taxes back into the designated areas to eliminate blight, stimulate economy, and assist in providing affordable housing.
Last week, Governor Brown vetoed the State budget bill, while two trailer bills calling for the elimination of RDAs have not yet been seen by the Governor. The Governor has expressed his intent to eliminate the RDAs.
Governor Brown intends to use the $1.7 billion in annual revenue currently given to the local agencies as part of his State budget solutions to close the gap on the $25 billion annual deficit and to fund schools.
As of now, Turlock’s budget faces a loss of over $1 million this year.
City Manager Roy Wasden explained that these cuts pile onto the $4 million that already have been taken out of our local economy.
“Obviously it’s going to create great harm to cities,” commented Manager Wasden. “Jobs will be lost if this goes forward.”
The Council expressed frustration with the state legislature and many Council Members agreed that the legislature does not care about the local communities.
“Unfortunately, it’s not very impressive to those of us in local government that have to put up with these antics,” commented Mayor John Lazar.
“The rules have changed up in Sacramento,” said Councilwoman Mary Jackson. “We have no clue what could happen.”
“It’s all in limbo right now,” added City Attorney Phaedra Norton.
Another problem the Turlock Redevelopment Agency faces is owing a whopping $3.2 million for the fiscal year 2011-2012, as estimated by the California Redistricting Association.
“We do not have $3.2 million available,” said Turlock Police Lieutenant Steven Williams. “So as it sits right now, we will not be able to make the payments proposed in the bills.”
The California Redevelopment Association contends that bill language contemplates a raid on local redevelopment funding for state general fund purposes, which they state is clearly illegal under Prop 22 and other provisions of the constitution.
Turlock area Senator Anthony Cannella, former Mayor of Ceres, spoke against the bills stating that RDA tax revenue is one of the only tools his city had for economic development and affordable housing. The other tool for economic growth was Enterprise Zoning, which has been on the chopping block since Cannella has been in office.
For now, the City will standby to see how the issue will unfold, and to see the fate of RDAs.
“Unfortunately, we have to be good soldiers and go along with it,” concluded Major Lazar.