California pushing for fine due to clerical error
September 12, 2012 5:24 PM

APPLE VALLEY • A judge granted a preliminary injunction halting the California Department of Finance from imposing $1.2 million in fines on Apple Valley for a clerical error tied to the town’s dissolved redevelopment agency.

“Our assertion that this was an error needing a simple correction is one step closer to being rectified,” Mayor Barb Stanton said in a statement Wednesday. “Although the ruling is preliminary, this is a substantial success and we are heartened.”

Apple Valley filed a complaint July 17 after the state’s finance director refused to approve a “correction of a clerical error” made on a state form, town officials said. The error led to a demand for payment from the San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller for $1.2 million.

“Having found that plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success and that the balance of harms tips in their favor, the motion for preliminary injunction is granted,” Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne W. L. Chang wrote in her ruling issued Friday.

The error occurred when the town — serving as successor agency to its redevelopment agency, which was dissolved Feb. 1 along with all RDAs in California — misidentified on its Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule the funding source for debt service payments on outstanding bonds.

Apple Valley’s former redevelopment agency issued three bond issues and must pay approximately $3.4 million each year in debt service. With redevelopment agencies gone, the town as successor agency must file a ROPS every six months to receive property taxes to pay its obligations.

The misidentification of the funding source on the ROPS became a problem when Assembly Bill 1484 passed in June, authorizing California to demand that former redevelopment agencies make so-called “true-up” payments based on numbers established by the Department of Finance.

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