State court issues stay on RDA
The California Supreme Court announced Thursday afternoon it will hear a case filed by the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities to stop the state from shutting down 400 redevelopment agencies.
The shutdown was part of the budget-balancing solution adopted by Sacramento lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown and would transfer $1.7 billion of local property tax to state coffers. Redevelopment agencies have argued that the plan violates terms of Proposition 22, passed last year, that prohibits the state from taking local funds used for transportation or local government projects.
The state's high court announced that it will decide by mid-January of 2012 if the state can proceed with its plan to eliminate the local redevelopment agencies. Under the state plan, those agencies, or RDAs, will have the option of deciding whether to "opt-in" or "opt-out" of an alternative, voluntary scenario that would allow RDAs to survive if they agree to pass on to the state property tax dollars equivalent to the amount the state would otherwise collect. Those revenues would be redirected to local school districts.
The court's announcement included an order to prevent the state from proceeding with the RDA shutdown pending its decision on the case. But at the same time, the court stated that redevelopment agencies could not take on new debt.
At press time, it was unclear what the implications of the court's stay would be on Sonoma's plans for its redevelopment projects, which include multi-million dollar investments in the Sonoma Valley Library renovation, the Sonoma Community Center and other redevelopment projects for which close to $15 million worth of bonds have already been sold.
On Monday, the City Council will meet to discuss its redevelopment future and to decide whether to opt-in or to opt-out of its own redevelopment agency. City staff have indicated the council is likely to opt-in to maintain local control over its redevelopment dollars.
The state has calculated that for the city to opt-in, it will have to send $1.7 million to Sacramento, with annual payments of several hundred thousand dollars during the lifetime of the RDA.
Also on Monday's meeting agenda will be the Police Department's annual report; a presentation by Sonoma Garbage and Compost on the status of a food composting program; discussion of a proposed policy to ban "carry-out" plastic bags in Sonoma County; discussion of a proposal to hold a special "revenue generation" City Council study session; and discussion of a request for financial support for the Pets Lifeline fundraising event, "Black Cat Cabaret."
The City Council will meet in open session at 6 p.m. following a 5 p.m. closed session devoted to labor negotiations, real property negotiations and anticipated litigation. The meeting will be held in the Community Meeting Room, 177 First St. W.