Cities agree to ‘ransom’
Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 08/17/2011 09:07:36 PM PDT

A pair of Inland Valley cities this week started the process to participate in a state program that would allow them to keep their redevelopment agencies operational.

In his 2011-12 budget, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed two bills that would shut down cities’ redevelopment agencies unless the cities pay a portion of their funds to the state.

Like other area cities, Ontario and Montclair would be required to pay the state by January.

The initial payments are $18.2 million and $3.62 million, respectively.

“We will be able to continue to operate our redevelopment agency but our ability lessens because of the ransom payments,” Ontario City Manager Chris Hughes said.

Hughes said he hopes a lawsuit filed by the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association against the state law could put a permanent end to the payments.

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court issued a stay on the provision that requires cities to send money to Sacramento, but allowed the state to prohibit redevelopment agencies from taking on new debt or new projects not already funded.

The court announced it would make its decision by mid-January.

Even though the state law is being challenged, cities are going ahead with approving an ordinance to protect their future funds, Hughes said.

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