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City OKs support of redevelopment agencies

Posted: January 10, 2012 9:30 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2012 9:30 p.m.
 

 

The Santa Clarita City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to support potential legislation that would extend the sunset date on redevelopment agencies.


The state Supreme Court issued a blow to redevelopment agencies statewide when it upheld the Legislature’s ability to dissolve such agencies in a Dec. 28 ruling.


The state’s high court said lawmakers can’t order the agencies to redirect their tax money, but can eliminate them.


Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp said that redevelopment agencies throughout the state will have to be dissolved, with control handed to a successor agency by Feb. 1. In Santa Clarita, the successor agency automatically defaults to the City Council.


Pulskamp said there’s currently a bill being discussed in the state senate that will delay the dissolution from Feb. 1 to April 15.


The City Council had to vote on adding the item to the agenda since the issue came up after the agenda was printed. Councilmember Laurene Weste said the court’s decision was an interesting one.


“It’s a very interesting scenario — we all lose,” said Weste.


Santa Clarita has sunk $48 million into redeveloping downtown Newhall in the past five years, creating more than 300 jobs while upgrading a blighted area in a bid to create an arts and entertainment district that would draw both local residents and visitors from out of town.


Critics of the agencies say they siphon property tax revenue away from the state and can be abused by regional government.


Supporters note successes such as Pasadena’s Old Town and San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and say the agencies eliminate blight and provide increased property taxes for both the state and the cities or counties that create them.
The law upheld by the Supreme Court would send tax revenue generated by the agencies to schools and other public agencies the state is required to fund.


City and county officials up and down California reacted to the court’s ruling by saying they would work with the League of California Cities, the California Redevelopment Association and state legislators to hammer out compromise legislation that would allow responsible redevelopment agencies to continue.


The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce circulated a three-page proposal this week in support of a plan to temporarily postpone the Feb. 1 deadline to dissolve redevelopment agencies.


The proposal offers support for a specific Senate bill for the postponement, although the bill has not been introduced and a spokesman for the senator whose name is on it said he was looking into the plan only.


A Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman said a Chamber vote was scheduled next week.

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