As you may have heard, last month the California Supreme Court terminated all Redevelopment Agencies (RDA) in California. As a result, they will be dissolved by Feb. 1, 2012.
The first step is for each RDA to form a “Successor Agency.” This agency will enforce any and all obligations and agreements that are currently in place. In addition, it will dispose of assets and properties as well as oversee prior agreements to manage specific redevelopment projects. Finally, the agency will prepare an administrative budget every six months. The city may act as the “Successor Agency,” and I assume most cities will do so.
The checks and balances of the new agency will be done so by an oversight board. This seven-member board will include many different officials. Each of the people and groups listed below will have one appointed representative.
● Country Board of Supervisors,
● Santa Clara Valley Water District
● County Office of Education
● Chancellor of the California Community Colleges
● Labor Union
A final member will be added from the public as a private citizen. The Board of Supervisors will appoint the private citizen. It will be interesting to see who the board picks. I hope they choose a certified public accountant, because this really is about managing finances.
This oversight board directs the dissolution of the former RDA, including selling land and repaying debt. The board establishes payment terms, refunds outstanding bonds and allows cities to buy RDA assets at fair market value,etc…
Another topic that will be discussed by the oversight board is continuing to have a Housing Department. The Housing Department employees have been funded by RDA funds and/or grants. Since RDA will no longer exist, the future of the housing department is now under question.
RDA was not meant to last forever, but the way the state chose to end the RDA caused unnecessary harm to local governments. The state raided millions of dollars from San Jose’s RDA without any regard to cash on hand or how RDA would be able to pay existing debt obligations. The city of San Jose will now inherit a portion of the total debt that comes from decades of accumulated spending by the RDA. For example, although the Fourth Street garage was completed in 2004, its debt was to be paid over 30 years. As a result, the general fund will pick up this debt payment. Perhaps San Jose State would like to lease a floor of parking in the Fourth Street garage to help out?
On another note, the Rules Committee unanimously approved sending my memo regarding allowing volunteers at the library through the meet and confer process. This starts the conversation about allowing volunteers to augment library staff to possibly extend the current hours of operation for our libraries without any layoffs. Stay tuned as the discussions with the union may take some time; however, I am hopeful.
And on a final note, special thanks to the 400 volunteers who contributed to the winter pruning at the Municipal Rose Garden on Saturday morning.