Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/25/2011 05:49:56 PM PDT

GRAND TERRACE – The City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency board, has authorized up to $29 million in bonds, which officials hope to use on infrastructure to lift the city’s stagnant tax base.

The bonds can’t be used to cover the city’s General Fund deficit, projected at about $550,000 – 10 percent of that fund – and also projected to increase in the coming years if no changes are made.

But as consultant Jim Simon of the Santa Ana-based Rosenow Spevacek Group told council members on Tuesday evening after they voted unanimously to authorize the bonds, the shortfall can’t be met entirely by cutting expenses in the bedroom community.

The money from this bond could attract businesses to help increase the city’s tax base, said Community and Economic Development Director Joyce Powers.

“We’re primarily interested in building new infrastructure for the city that would allow us to build new revenue,” Powers said.

The money is intended for road widening, storm and street rehabilitation and hill stabilization, according to Powers’ report.

She also listed infrastructure projects in the southwest area of the city, east of the 215 Freeway between De Berry Street and Pico Street.

Public Works Director Richard Shields filled in some details, such as a plan to expand Michigan Avenue so it can function as a secondary highway and handle increased traffic from the opening of Grand Terrace High School, expected in August 2012.

But resident Sylvia Robles said she wasn’t sure how such “nebulous” projects would help raise money.

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