Redevelopment agencies (RDA) officially came to an end on Feb. 1, so the Santa Monica City Council is doing what it can to ensure the shortcoming in state funding for local projects does not start a domino effect of City Hall failing to meet its development commitments.
With the end of RDAs thanks to a recent state Supreme Court ruling, council members adopted last week as part of its consent calendar an amended “Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule” to allow City Hall to make “payments on enforceable obligations associated with the Agency’s Priority Projects and Five-Year Implementation Plan.”
The projects included in the payment schedule include the Civic Auditorium retrofit and upgrade, funding for enhancements related to the arrival of Expo Line in 2015, and new projects in the Palisades Garden Walk and Town Square.
The payment schedule covers a six-month period between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year and includes all projects that the city is obliged to carry out.
As of Wednesday, City Hall has presumed the role of successor agency to the RDA.
While funding from the RDA is no longer an option, City Hall is not left holding the bill. The same Supreme Court decision that shot down RDAs also held that any project that already has funds committed to it by an enforceable contract will still be subsidized.
Since the matter was part of the council’s consent calendar and no council member pulled it for individual discussion, there was no formal discussion on the agenda item. The item was unanimously approved with a slew of other consent calendar items.
Council members voted on the payment schedule on Jan. 24 in its joint capacity as the board of the city’s RDA.
The vote came only weeks after the California Supreme Court upheld a legislative move by Gov. Jerry Brown to eliminate more than 400 local RDAs in an attempt to reduce the state deficit and ultimately balance the budget.
As municipalities cannot appeal the decision in federal court, it is unclear whether RDAs will ever return to California. Accordingly, Santa Monica and the nearly 400 other affected municipalities will have to continue to search for alternative avenues to fund ambitious projects.