Redevelopment on hold again
When the state Supreme Court earlier this week stayed the part of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget abolishing redevelopment areas, it only muddied an already murky situation.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors were due to pass an opt-in ordinance at Tuesday's meeting as part of its consent calendar, but because of the Supreme Court decision, the item was scratched from the agenda.
"This just kind of put us back in limbo," said John Haig, the county's redevelopment manager. "We can't start any new projects and we're really not sure where this will shake out."
In Brown's budget, local governmental bodies could pay an opt-in fee to keep redevelopment agencies alive.
For Sonoma County, this would have meant an opt-in fee of $2.99 million split between the three redevelopment areas, the Springs, Russian River and Roseland, this year and about $700,000 in each succeeding year.
It would have cost the Springs about $700,000 as its share of the initial buy-in and about $140,000 a year in coming years.
"We've asked for clarification," Haig said. "Everybody's wondering."
The county's redevelopment staff is scrambling to put together an Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule that the supervisors will vote on at next Tuesday's meeting. The payment schedule formalizes payments required from bond revenues. Prior to the court's ruling, only redevelopment agencies that were not going to continue would have to fill out an EOPS.
"This EOPS had to be done by Aug. 29, and this is the last supervisors' meeting in August," he said.
He expects the supervisors to adopt the resolution under protest.
"Every redevelopment agency has to complete this EOPS form," Haig said. "We weren't preparing to file this. We were opting-in."
While the redevelopment agency has been treading water since Brown's budget proposal came out, Haig thought the opt-in would settle things down, even if it didn't leave the agency with much money.
He's not sure how it affects the Highway 12 work in the Springs because the redevelopment agency has a contract with the county's Public Works Department which has contracted out the work. Haig assumed it won't affect the rights of way the county is trying to purchase as part of Phase II of the project.
"We're just going to continue to move forward," he said.
Earlier, Haig said that opting-in wouldn't leave much non-housing money for the next few years.
The county has already sold $15 million in bonds that should cover the cost of the Highway 12 project.
The Springs receives about $1.3 million a year in tax increment money from redevelopment bonds. Twenty percent of that has to go toward affordable housing projects and isn't available to the state's redevelopment grab. That leaves about $1 million for non-housing projects.
But, said Haig, the $700,000 that is the Springs portion of the state taking, along with about 20 percent mandated pass-through fees and 15 percent administrative fees, will eat up most of this year's money.
Haig said that starting the next fiscal year, 2012-13, the debt service on the Highway 12 bonds hit the budget. With the $140,000 yearly grab by the state, the mandatory pass-throughs and the administrative fees, he doesn't see any more non-housing money available until the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The Supreme Court is supposed to make a decision by the middle of January.