City opts-in to redevelopment
After forfeiting what critics describe as a hefty "ransom," the City of Sonoma will preserve the life of its Community Development Agency if a California Supreme Court decision does not overturn the state's plans to abolish 400 redevelopment districts.
That was decided Monday by a unanimous vote of the City Council to "opt-in" to the state's newly-named, "Voluntary Alternative Redevelopment Program" which requires substantial forfeiture of local property tax dollars in return for the continued existence of redevelopment agencies.
In Sonoma's case, the price to opt-in could be as high as $1.8 million, a figure the city has already appealed, contending that, by the state's own formula, the amount should be closer to $1.4 million. The council approved a first reading of the enabling ordinance on Aug. 15, with Mayor Pro Tem Joanne Sanders dissenting. Monday's special meeting, which involved a second reading of the ordinance, was held to beat a state deadline for opting into the program. This time Sanders voted with the rest of the council, while continuing to voice concerns about redevelopment indebtedness and the need to reduce city spending.
The Supreme Court's decision on a suit brought by the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities, has been promised before Jan. 15. The suit argues that the state's seizure of redevelopment revenue violates Prop. 22, the successful 2010 ballot initiative that restricts state taking of local funds.
The next council meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 7, after a two-day delay imposed by the Labor Day holiday.
Prominently on the Sept. 7 agenda will be a discussion item requested by Sanders for the council to explore options for controlling vicious dogs.
Sanders first raised the issue Aug. 15 following the deadly pit bull attack in Pacifica in which the family pet killed a pregnant woman. Since then a barrage of criticism has descended from pit bull lovers who accuse Sanders of trying to engineer a citywide ban on the dogs.
Sanders has since said she sees merit in an ordinance adopted by Sonoma County that requires the spay/neuter of pit bulls more than four months of age.
Also on Wednesday's agenda will be a presentation by the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency; consideration of establishing a Mayor's office of protocol; and consideration of a study session regarding pension reform.
The council will meet in the Community Meeting Room, 177 First St. W., at 6 p.m., A closed session will convene at 5 p.m.
The council agenda, once it is finalized, will be available at www.sonomacity.org.