The City of Turlock is taking one step at a time in its transition to become the successor agency for the recently eliminated Redevelopment Agency (RDA). There are still a lot of unknowns in how exactly the successor agency will function. The discussion and actions of the Turlock City Council at Tuesday night’s Council Meeting show that staff is working to better understand what monies will come to the city and what fees will be paid out of those monies.
"Almost every question that staff has asked so far has been met with ‘We’re not sure and we don’t know yet," said Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden.
The one fact that is for certain is that the City needs to establish itself as a successor agency by February 1st and a new 7 member Board must be named otherwise the Governor’s office will take over and appoint three people to serve as the Board.
The City of Turlock did take action to become the successor agency despite the many questions and possible legislation that could affect how the successor agency may function.
The new Board will consist of 1 City Council representative, 1 prior City Redevelopment employee, 1 Turlock Unified School District (TUSD) representative, 1 County Office of Education representative, 1 Community College representative, 1 Board of Supervisors representative and 1 public member appointed by the Board of Supervisors. How this Board will meet, agendize items, and generally operate under the Council remains unknown.
As the successor agency, the City will continue to receive a portion of the tax increment previously received by the RDA to cover enforceable obligations and a percentage for administrative expenses. Based on what is known at this time, staff estimates that the first year 5% administrative funds will be $400,000 and the 3% for future years will be $240,000. Current administrative costs paid through redevelopment are $500,000, which means that there will need to be cuts or another funding source. In addition, another unknown is what will be considered administrative costs.
The City of Turlock has some housing funds left in their budget at this time. There is currently legislation in process to allow the City to retain these funds which the city could continue to use for the 25% matching funds needed to acquire federal HOME funds. However, if legislation is not passed the remaining fund balance will be handed over the County Housing Authority. The only housing funds that are known to be safe at this time are those committed to phase one of the Avena Bella affordable housing project.
"There is a lot of work that still needs to be done,” said Hiedi McNally-Dial, Economic Development and RDA Manager. “Staff continues to try to find answers, meeting weekly and often daily, as information is available."
There are three bonds dating to 1999, 2006, and 2011, totaling $86,909,207.28 that the City of Turlock will continue to receive $3,296,252.12 from the State to pay their annual obligations on bonds. These bonds were used to complete several major projects for Turlock including redevelopment of Downtown Turlock, infrastructure for Monte Vista Crossings, infrastructure for Turlock Regional Industrial Park, rebuilding the Carnegie Arts Center and improvements at Turlock High School’s Joe Debely Stadium, as well as many smaller projects throughout the community.
Staff expects to have another update for the City Council at the next meeting on January 24th.