From the daily archives: Wednesday, August 10, 2011

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council voted in a special meeting Tuesday to continue with the Redevelopment Agency.

Calexico joined other Imperial Valley cities by passing resolutions to keep the redevelopment agencies. The State of California legislature passed two bills that called for the elimination of Redevelopment Agencies in California and to stop all funding for these agencies.

Governor Jerry Brown proposed on his new budget to eliminate Redevelopment Agencies in order to close California’s huge budget deficit. The Governor has agreed to two redevelopment bills as part of a balanced budget, which counts on $1.7 billion from the elimination of redevelopment agencies. The first bill will eliminates redevelopment agencies, while the second bill allows these local agencies to exist, but only if they pay back property taxes, which have been diverted from local schools.


Brown has targeted Redevelopment Agencies since January arguing that these agencies have failed to do their jobs and its elimination will help balance the state budget.  The Governor even called for an audit of these agencies by the State Controller’s Office and Calexico was subject to an audit.


The Calexico City Council decided to pass an ordinance supporting the continuance of the Community Redevelopment Agency. City Consultant Marshall Lynn made a presentation saying that the Calexico RDA is in good financial shape and should continue since it will support economic development projects like the Calexico Grand Plaza Outlet Center that will be constructed next year and would  bring over $1 million dollars annually. The City of Calexico would have to pay $1.6 million dollars in ransom money to keep Redevelopment and annual payments of $280, 095.  Lynn said that Calexico will appeal this decision since they believe the State is wrong charging that kind of money.


Councilwoman Maritza Hurtado inquired as to when the RDA will be able to use their money again. City Attorney Jennifer Lyon said that after the ordinance is adopted the RDA will be able to use its assets again will be after September 16 when the second reading of the ordinance takes place.


The Council voted 3-1 to adopt this ordinance having Mayor Luis Castro voting against it. Councilman Bill Hodge was absent from this meeting.


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