By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors supports legislation to create an agency similar to the former Redevelopment Agency.

The County Board sent a letter in support of AB 1080 to allow certain disadvantaged areas of California to create a new entity called a Community Revitalization Investment Authority. Such an Authority would be able to invest property tax increment of consenting local agencies, other than schools, and available funding to improve conditions leading to increased employment opportunities, to reduce high crime rates, to repair deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure, to clean up brownfield and to promote affordable housing.

A Community Revitalization Investment Authority would be a public entity created by a city, a county, or by agreement between a city, county, and/or special district through a Joint Powers Authority. The Community Revitalization Investment Authority would operate within an income that is less than 80% of the statewide annual median plus other conditions relating to unemployment, crime rates, deteriorated infrastructure and deteriorated commercial or residential structures. Additionally, AB 1080 requires that 25 percent of the funds to be set aside for affordable housing, an increase from the amount formerly required by redevelopment agencies.

The bill authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) is trying to answer to municipalities in California that are looking for economic development tools after the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agencies and new options for sustainable economic development. This proposal provides a viable option targeting the state’s disadvantaged poorer areas and neighborhoods.

CEO Ralph Cordova said that the County of Imperial qualifies for the CRI Authority and asked the board to consider sending a letter of support to Assemblymember Alejo now that the bill is being considered in Sacramento. The CRIA is a public entity created by a city; a county; or by agreement between a city, county, and/or special district through a JPA. The governing board is compromised of three locally-elected officials and two public members.

Intergovernmental affairs person Gary Wyatt said that the County has been looking to this bill for quite a while and said this could help Imperial County with affordable housing and community revitalization. Wyatt mentioned that unlike the former redevelopment agencies, schools will not be part of this proposed CRIA if approved by the State Senate and then signed by Governor Brown. 

The board voted 4-1 to approve the letter of support to this measure.

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