The profile of redevelopment in California changed July 1 with the start of a new fiscal year.
It was three days after the state Legislature passed a law in a budget package that effectively closes local redevelopment agencies and redirects money collected.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, said she voted for that bill because it was a less drastic reform than the original plan forwarded by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration months ago.
Bonilla said she and other legislators will now roll up their sleeves to draft followup legislation.
“There will be a series of bills where we try to refine and mitigate some of the unintended consequences,” she said.
Bonilla wants a bill to grant exemptions for local redevelopment agencies working on projects with closed military bases. Like, for instance, Concord.
“The base is the epitome of why you need redevelopment,” said Bonilla. It’s all economic gain because the land is not now on the tax rolls and redevelopment money can be focused on the huge infrastructure needs, Bonilla said.
The Concord Naval Weapons Station closed in 2005. Concord city officials have expressed concern about its future with the state’s restructuring of redevelopment.
Patch interviewed Bonilla at the Thursday evening market and music series at Todos Santos Plaza. Bonilla noted that the plaza’s facelift a decade ago to create a better public space was made possible by redevelopment funds.
The League of California Cities and other organizations are suing to block the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. They say, among other things, that the action violates Proposition 22, a ballot measure approved last fall that prohibits the state from taking away local funds for its own use.
One option for cities is to pay the state a healthy portion of their redevelopment funds to keep their redevelopment agencies. For Walnut Creek, that would amount to $1.3 million this fiscal year and $320,000 in the years following.
City Manager Ken Nordhoff calls the option "extortion payments." It is one of several redevelopment-related items the City Council will discuss at its July 19 meeting.