Municipalities were to give California money that had been set aside for affordable housing. But some cities refused to do so.

By Abby Sewell and Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
December 21, 2012, 10:18 p.m.

Cities and counties across California faced a Friday deadline for handing over millions of dollars — tens of millions in some cases — as the state winds down more than 400 redevelopment agencies.

Some cities, such as Santa Ana, are refusing to hand over the money, heralding another potentially contentious battle over the funds.

Friday was the deadline for many of the former redevelopment agencies to transmit funds that had been set aside to build affordable housing. The funds will be redistributed by the counties to cities, schools and other local government entities.

The state did not have a tally of the total amount to be collected. Locally, agencies in Los Angeles County have been ordered to pay $364.2 million in former housing funds, according to the county auditor-controller’s office. Orange County and about 17 of its 34 cities owed a combined $257 million.

The city of Los Angeles’ former redevelopment agency cut a check for more than $35 million, after negotiating the state down from its initial call for $44 million.

“We ended up not in conflict on this particular chapter of our dissolution,” said Christine Essel, outgoing chief executive director of CRA/LA, the body designated to shut down the city’s redevelopment agency.

Others took a more defiant posture.

Orange County owes $50 million, but county officials are contesting about $30 million of that. Julia Bidwell, the deputy director of OC Community Services, said the state Finance Department double-tallied the county’s funds.

And on Friday, Santa Ana held a special City Council meeting at which members unanimously voted to withhold the $56 million in low-income housing funds the state says it owes.

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