Hesperia to pay $7.1M to keep RDAs’ doors open, Victorville to pay $2.8M
August 03, 2011 5:15 PM
Staff Writers

Both Hesperia and Victorville have agreed to pay the state a combined $10 million “ransom” this year to keep their redevelopment agencies alive, joining Apple Valley and a regional redevelopment agency in opting into California’s new alternative RDA program.

Hesperia’s City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to pay $7.1 million, while Victorville’s City Council had a 4-1 vote on making its $2.8 million payment.

“It’s an extortion bill,” Hesperia Councilman Russ Blewett said.

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed shutting down the state’s redevelopment agency program, which provides local funds to improve “blighted” areas, as a means of balancing the budget. The pushback from cities around the state was loud and immediate.

“We’re fighting to keep money that’s rightfully ours,” Victorville Councilman Mike Rothschild said, stressing how vital RDA money has been in helping generate jobs at Southern California Logistics Airport and beyond.

Assembly Bill 26, passed along with California’s budget, shutters redevelopment agencies Oct. 1. But it was accompanied by AB 27, which allows communities to keep their RDAs if they make an initial revenue payment to the state this year and then smaller amounts on an ongoing basis.

Victorville Councilwoman Angela Valles cast the sole local vote against opting into the state’s alternative program, expressing concern about the way her city has “squandered” millions in RDA funds on failed power plants and other flopped enterprise projects.

For more about “ransom” RDA funds, read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Press. Get the complete story every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.