July 1st starts the fiscal year for many city governments but sleeves are rolled up and numbers are being crunched in an early start to reconcile their budgets without the Redevelopment Agency slush funds that were shut down over a year ago.
CaliforniaCityNews.org reports in their recent update,“Cities Continue to Struggle in Shutting Down Redevelopment.”
“Just over a year after the state shut down local redevelopment agencies, cities are still struggling to figure out how to cope with the loss. Earlier this week, state lawmakers held a meeting to hear from cities and counties about how the shutting down of redevelopment agencies is going for them.
“We’ve got at least four projects that were in the pipeline when redevelopment was eliminated,” Mayor Michael Weissman of Culver City said. “We are here to let the committee know that the process currently in place will not enable those projects to move forward.”
Weissman wasn’t alone in his sentiments. Cities and counties across the state have been unable to figure out how to deal with debts and projects they already planned to pay for using redevelopment funds, much less how to go forward and continue with projects typically funded by redevelopment money. In fact, only 17 out of 400 redevelopment agencies have completed closure.
The League of California Cities has noted that closing redevelopment agencies has halted critical projects across the state. Executive Director Chris McKenzie said creating new affordable housing programs in particular has essentially stopped, and city budgets have been affected dramatically.
There are few hopeful options for cities right now. McKenzie said he is now focusing on trying to attract private sector money to cities and counties to revitalize urban areas. Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield co-authored a bill last year making it easier for local governments to issue bonds, but Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill. He’s likely waiting to see how much the state will be able to recapture from redevelopment funds before promising funding to local governments again.”
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