September 22, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Elimination of RDA Funds Threaten Santa Monica Projects:

Cities all across California are huddling together and convening meetings to ensure the state government does not take away redevelopment agency (RDA) funding. The worry: Gov. Jerry Brown proposed eliminating future RDA funding as a way to chip away at a $25 billion deficit.

With a dark cloud heavily looming across municipalities small and large throughout the state, many cities have taken action in an attempt to protect RDA funds, a monetary source needed for local governments to execute present and future capital improvement projects.

In Santa Monica, RDA funds would be used to finance projects such as the new Pico Library Branch, Civic Center Parks, the Exposition Light Rail line terminus, affordable housing residences, and the Santa Monica High School facilities update, among others. In all, as much as $283 million in RDA funds has been committed to eight projects through 2014 as part of the City’s capital improvement plans.

At the Santa Monica City Council meeting at City Hall on Feb. 22, Council members Bobby Shriver and Bob Holbrook expressed serious concern of how the City would be able to move forward, financially speaking, with many of the projects the elected board approved in the past few months, all of which rely upon RDA funding.

“What happens if the governor wins on the RDA, and we don’t have the money to complete (the Pico Branch Library)?” Shriver asked City Manager Rod Gould during a discussion of the new facility‘s design plans.

Gould painted a grim picture, stating many Council-approved projects could be immediately halted should RDA funding dry up later this year.

“If the governor and legislature vote to take out redevelopment as we know it in California, a great number of projects that have been discussed and planned for many years in Santa Monica will not be built, including (the Pico Branch Library),” Gould stated. “We are taking all steps available to us to try to protect and defend those funds, and no one quite knows how it will work out yet. At this point we would have to consider alternate funding sources, and I don’t know where to begin given the other projects that would also be in jeopardy.”

In general, RDAs are critical to municipalities, as it allows them to take from property tax revenues to fund various projects in a given area. Holbrook inquired about how the timing of when RDA funds arrive influences the financing of such projects.

“We don’t normally come to you with a contract to design and construct a capital improvement project until we have the bonded indebtedness to pay for it,” Gould stated, explaining how redevelopment agencies generates funding from tax increments and City bonds to pay for capital improvement projects. “At this point, when we are engaging consultants and pre-design work … we’re using administrative funds that are also available to us, through redevelopment, to bring these projects to a place where they can be designed and built.”

In pushing RDA funds forward, Shriver pondered whether the council is operating under an assumption to “continue working as though we were going to win on the RDA issue.”

“We are moving forward with the design of a number of projects on the assumption that redevelopment will still be in place and we’ll be able to make good on our commitments,” Gould responded.

Still, both Shriver and Holbrook worried whether funding would be pulled from a project midstream, possibly resulting in unfinished work and incomplete contracts. Gould stated there has been a precedent in other California municipalities where RDA funds were indeed be pulled in the middle of a project, but there is no way to develop a contingency plan just yet without knowing how the state legislature will respond to Brown’s proposed cuts.

“We will be able to meet all of our current contractual obligations. Until the legislation is has been written and voted upon, it’ll be a little bit harder to tell you exactly how future obligations will be treated,” Gould stated.

The looming threat of municipalities not being able to go to the well to get enough water to fund capital improvement projects has city councils up and down the state worried about how it will function without RDA funds.

According to the Bakersfield Californian, the redevelopment agency in Bakersfield allocated last week “all its money for the current fiscal year.” Down in San Diego County, news reports state plans for a new stadiums in downtown San Diego and Escondido to house the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and a minor league baseball franchise, respectively, may be put on hold in light of Brown’s proposal to eliminate RDA funds.

Meanwhile, the City of Temecula reportedly committed nearly $83 million in RDA funds to an affordable house project and the building of a Civic Center complex. Up north in the Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek, about $5.5 million in redevelopment funds were reportedly committed affordable housing, while San Mateo across the San Francisco Bay allocated $34.2 million, according to reports, from RDA financing to a smorgasbord of local projects.

In his State of the State address on Jan. 31, Brown indicated “current” projects funded by redevelopment agencies would be protected under his proposed budget.

“After serious study of the options left us by a $25 billion deficit, the budget I have proposed is the best I can devise,” Brown stated in his Jan. 31 speech. “A lot has been made of the proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies. I come down on the side of those who believe that core functions of government must be funded first. But be clear, my plan protects current projects and supports all bonded indebtedness of the redevelopment agencies.”

in News
Related Posts

Edify TV: Santa Monica Fire Department Fighting Blazes Across State

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

The Santa Monica Fire Department has been busy helping combat wildfires burning throughout the state. Learn more in this video...

Lawmakers and Residents Take Steps Towards Police Reform

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Santa Monica residents will soon have more control of policing after local lawmakers took significant steps to reform the Santa...

2020 Census Due September 30th: Santa Monica Beat – September, 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 2020 Census Due September 30th * Bobcat Fire Reaches Historical Size...

SMa.r.t. Column: Spending and Pension Policies Are Undermining Our City’s Future

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Our guest columnist this week is Marc L. Verville. He is a native of Santa Monica, now lives in Sunset...

4.6 Quake Felt in Santa Monica

September 19, 2020

September 19, 2020

4.6 magnitude quake recorded Friday night By Sam Catanzaro A 4.6 magnitude earthquake struck the San Gabriel Valley Friday sending...

Edify TV: Miramar Santa Monica Redevelopment

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

The Santa Monica skyline may look different in the future with a major redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel &...

‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ Mansion For Rent On AirBnb

September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

Today on Westside Cribz, 30th anniversary of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Airbnb is renting out the mansion for...

SMMUSD Kindergarten Enrollment Down 20% : Santa Monica Beat – September, 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * SMMUSD Kindergarten Enrollment Down 20% * As Covid-19 Cases Drop Will...

Edify TV: Sit-down Dining Safety?

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Despite a recent CDC report stating the risks of in-person dining, many Westside restaurant patrons feel the experience is safe....

Sur La Table Closing Santa Monica Location

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

1930s building listed for lease By Sam Catanzaro Sur La Table, the popular kitchenware retail chain, is closing its downtown...

Death by Suicide at Santa Monica Place

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Man dies by suicide Wednesday morning By Sam Catanzaro A man died by suicide at Santa Monica Place mall Wednesday....

Santa Monica Partners With Local Elementary Schools to Provide More Outdoor Spaces

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Playground Partnership agreement goes live By Toi Creel The City of Santa Monica and local schools are working together to...

Charges Filed Against Man for Sexually Assaulting Elderly Victims

September 16, 2020

September 16, 2020

Juan Victor Mendoza faces four felony charges Prosecutors have filed charges against a man for sexually assaulting elderly victims at...

COVID-19 Continues to Decrease in County but Air Quality Reducing Testing

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

Smoke advisory in effect through Wednesday By Sam Catanzaro While COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in Los Angeles County, health...

Edify TV: Westsiders Working out Amid Poor Air Quality

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

With poor air quality due to wildfire smoke, local health officials are urging the public to avoid outdoor activity but...