Regional redevelopment agency is $9.1 million short
August 02, 2011 8:44 AM
Brooke Edwards
Staff Writer

To keep all of the Victor Valley’s redevelopment agencies alive under a new state law, data released Monday shows local cities will have to revisit their strained budgets and come up with a combined total of nearly $29 million over the next year.

If they don’t pay to opt into the state’s alternative redevelopment plan, city officials say projects such as the Ranchero underpass in Hesperia, Yucca Loma Bridge in Apple Valley and jobcreating warehouse space in Victorville would likely stall, as tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue would dissolve.

But if they’re forced to make those “ransom” payments — due in two installments, on Jan. 15 and March 15 — Apple Valley could see its first layoffs and Victorville could default on bond debt for Southern California Logistics Airport.

“I think the State Controller and the Governor have already figured out that the majority of redevelopment agencies out there are not going to be able to make their payment based on the formula that was put together,” said Adelanto City Manager Jim Hart, whose city is considering whether to commit to a $1.1 million payment to keep its RDA alive. “I personally believe it’s a backhanded way to dissolve the agency without straight out coming out and saying, ‘We’re dissolving you.’”

Assembly Bill 26, passed with the state budget last month, eliminated all of California redevelopment agencies effective Oct. 1. The bill states it will recapture $1.7 billion in RDA funds from local governments, using the money primarily to help fund schools.

Then AB 27 provided an alternative for communities to continue redevelopment, if they agree to pay a percentage of revenue back to the state this year and smaller amounts annually going forward. Official payment amounts were released by the California Department of Finance on Monday afternoon.

The regional Victor Valley Economic Development Authority, which was created to spur redevelopment surrounding former George Air Force Base, will not be able to make its $16 million payment to the state, officials said, coming up some $9.1 million short due to funds that are already committed to make debt payments. However, VVEDA board members — which include one representative from each local city and San Bernardino County — last week agreed to commit to the payment anyway.

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