Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 01/26/2012 11:32:13 AM PST

CHINO – This city, like many others across the Golden State, will bid farewell to its redevelopment agency come Wednesday.

As a result of a state Supreme Court ruling last month, which upheld a law eliminating about 400 redevelopment agencies in California, Chino City Council members agreed to name the city as the successor to its agency.

It is necessary to assign another agency with oversight for the dissolution of the city’s assets, while administrating annual debt payments and other enforceable obligations, said Patrick Griffin, assistant city manager/community development.

Redevelopment funds have assisted with the development of Ayala Park, two fire stations, a police facility, the Seasons senior affordable apartments and other housing improvements and projects.

In the past 20 years the city has financed more than 300 home improvement projects, developed 26 single-family homes, constructed 140-unit senior villas in downtown Chino and committed to developing 330 affordable units in the College Park master plan community.

Redevelopment agencies use “tax increment financing,” in which they raise money through bonds to assist the development or upgrade of land and then pay off the bonds with the additional property tax the improved land generates.

The annual payments on the bonds are $7.6 million.

City officials said there are still challenges associated with eliminating the agency.

“First, is the fact we do have employees that are funded through the redevelopment agency. Next, we will have the inability to fund future projects … Last, and most importantly, is the state has taken away the No. 1 tool for cities to use to stimulate the economy, to create jobs and fund housing in the state of California,” said City Manager Patrick Glover.

Chino’s agency generates $19.3 million annually from property tax increments. Of this amount, $3.3 million goes to other local agencies, such as the school district, community college district, vector control district and others, according to city staff reports.

The city’s housing fund receives $3.9 million annually to assist low- and moderate-income homeowners in the city and develop workforce and senior affordable housing.

In addition, redevelopment currently funds about $3.3 million annually for employee salary and benefits.

After the elimination, the city will begin to receive a greater amount of property tax revenue to its general fund, but it won’t offset the redevelopment agency salary cost, according to city staff reports.

At the Jan. 3 City Council meeting council members adopted a resolution electing to serve as the successor to the agency.

“The cost for overseeing these administrative functions can be funded out of redevelopment funds, however these expenses and all activities of the former redevelopment agency will be subject to approval by an oversight board compromised of seven representatives,” said Griffin.

The oversight board will include two city representatives, two appointed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, one appointment by the largest special district that served the former agency, one by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and one by the chancellor of California Community Colleges.

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