Bonilla Plans Further Redevelopment Reform

Concord assemblywoman advocates exemption for closed military base projects.

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.

EdiBirsan July 02, 2011 at 12:26 AM
What I would suggest is that given the current history of Sacramento's raid on Redevelopment, what we need is a totally separate structure from Sacramento within the City(ies) with such bases. The structure would be that given that the value is virtually -0- there is a City Property tax Intercept where the city diverts all the property tax less an appropriate amount for schools/fire and the rest is used by the CITY and not by the allowance of the State's good will. As such there is none of this pass through/pass back/ double and triple flip nonsense, just simple intercept and allocate to infrastructure/development.
Lance Howland July 02, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Edi: Good perspective on the topic. You should take an editor's pencil to the wording of reform legislation when the state reps draft it. But don't write in a sentence about "triple flip nonsense." That gave me a chuckle.
Randy July 04, 2011 at 12:41 AM
City redevelpment agencies are in dire need of reconfiguration. Too much money goes into their budgets for what is needed. They could do the same with a little less money which could help education or other programs. Brown's plan was on the right track but was too drastic. But certainly the redevelopment agencies could be scaled dowm.


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