10:00 PM PDT on Sunday, August 21, 2011

BY DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
STAFF WRITER
dsantschi@pe.com

The Colton City Council is taking steps it hopes won’t be necessary to protect the city’s redevelopment agency.

The council voted 4-0 last week to approve the first reading of an ordinance calling for Colton to pay as much as $3.2 million to California in exchange for keeping the agency alive. The ordinance would take effect 30 days after its second reading.

Council members Deirdre Bennett, Vincent Yzaguirre and Susan Oliva excused themselves from voting because they have a financial interest in or near one of the city’s redevelopment projects.

The council will meet again this week to approve a voluminous, technical document spelling out its redevelopment obligations.

All of this will become moot if the state Supreme Court overturns two state laws passed in June that require local redevelopment agencies to make large cash payments to the state in exchange for permission to create alternative voluntary redevelopment agencies.

The court issued a stay that prevents the state from collecting money until it rules on the constitutionality of the laws.

“The stay is somewhat confusing and has left us in a little bit of limbo,” City Attorney Dean Derleth told the council. “They stayed everything with respect to the new legislation other than essentially the abolishment of the redevelopment agencies.”

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