Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 02/09/2011 10:53:31 PM PST

MONTCLAIR – The threat of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to abolish redevelopment agencies has drawn criticism from City Council members.

In a 4-0 vote at Monday’s meeting, the members approved a resolution opposing the proposal to eliminate agencies across the state. Mayor Paul Eaton was absent.

“Essentially, this city has invested about $23 million and created close to 650 units of affordable housing,” Councilman John Dutrey said.

“If we do not have redevelopment, then we can no longer provide affordable housing to our region.”

Redevelopment money has not only helped the city create housing for those who are struggling, but it has also helped develop the city’s first youth and senior centers and improved the parks and library.

The city has also used the money for beautification projects and the Ramona railroad crossing. Officials have set aside $8 million to help purchase property in north Montclair.

Redevelopment across California supports about 304,000 full- and part-time private sector jobs a year, including 170,600 construction jobs, and contributes more than $40 billion annually to the state’s economy,according to a city staff report.

In the I.E., redevelopment agencies get 25 percent of their money from property taxes generated by their projects, Dutrey said.

“If we lose redevelopment, we will lose a lot of money that goes toward public infrastructure, transportation, parks, construction of fire stations along with the opportunity to be looking at other developments, and more importantly to help create permanent jobs and construction jobs,” Dutrey said.

“Those would all be lost, and more importantly our fight out of this recession will be prolonged.”

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