By Mario Conde
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors accepted the final study for the implementation of the Infrastructure Finance District.
The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing last Tuesday to see a study made by Pacific Municipal Consultants to see the viability of creating an Infrastructure Financing District to fund several economic development projects in the County.
In 2009, the Board of Supervisors approved a grant application in the amount of $35,000 for a Redevelopment Feasibility Study to the California State Department of Housing and Community Development. The goal of this funding was to pursue the potential for establishing an Infrastructure Finance District in the areas of Heber, Keystone Planning Area, Palo Verde, and Seeley.
The Board of Supervisors selected the Keystone Planning Area as the most viable region in the county to proceed with the Infrastructure Finance District based on a fact that this area would benefit the most from public investment in infrastructure to support planned development. The Keystone Planning Areas is planned to be a mixed use industrial and commercial center when the infrastructure in the area is done. The project has been on hold for a long time since Redevelopment Agencies in California where eliminated and was going to finance part of the project.
This report presented a preliminary analysis of how an Infrastructure Financing District would work together with other financing in the Keystone Planning Area. The formation of an IFD involves several steps including development and adoption of a complete infrastructure financing plan and associated resolutions, noticed public hearings and a vote by property owners. A separate vote by property owners is also required to issued improvements bonds secured by the IFD tax increment revenue. Prior to considering issuing bonds, it is recommended that the County retain the services of qualified bond counsel and real estate market advisors.
The total cost according to the study made, the cost for infrastructure improvements at the Keystone Planning Area that include wastewate treatment area, water distribution system, road improvements, and fire station will be a total of $194.4 million. Supervisor District 3 Mike Kelley showed his concern that the cost for doing the wastewater treatment area would cost $98 million. The consultant representing Pacific Municipal Consultants said that the high cost was because they needed the latest infracture equiment in order to get the water infrascture going in that area.
County CEO Ralph Cordova reminded the Board that they are not approving anything and they are just accepting the study made for future recommendation. City of Imperial Mayor Rick Breland thank the Board for making this study and asked for their support in order to start working on the Keystone Area as soon as possible.