Sanders unveils plan to save redevelopment agencies - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Sanders unveils plan to save redevelopment agencies

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Jerry Sanders Wednesday unveiled a plan he touted as a compromise that he hopes will stave off a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to eliminate redevelopment agencies.

Sanders said the centerpiece of the plan, which was put together by big-city mayors in California, is the diversion of 5 percent of redevelopment agencies' gross property tax revenue statewide to Sacramento, where the state government could leverage the money to help with its budget shortfall.

The state would gain an estimated $200 million, of which $8.5 million would come from San Diego, according to Sanders.

Beginning in 2018, the cities would kick in an additional 15 percent in exchange for an extension of 10 more years for their project areas, he said.

"The governor has asked the mayors who want to save redevelopment to come up with an alternative, and we've done just that," Sanders said. "We urge him to consider our solution that will help with the state's short-term budget problems and help avoid the devastating long-term economic consequences for our state's economy of eliminating redevelopment."

The governor's office -- which had no immediate comment on the mayors' proposal -- previously cited a finding by the state legislative analyst that redevelopment costs are increasing with no evidence of economic benefit to California.

Brown's budget proposal to eliminate the agencies would split the savings among cities, counties, education and special districts.

Sanders and members of the San Diego City Council credit redevelopment as an economic engine that revitalized downtown and provides affordable housing.

According to Sanders' office, mayors of 10 large California cities -- including Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles -- developed the compromise package.

Also offered in the mayors' proposal, which Sanders said was sent to Sacramento last week:

-- cities with more than 20 percent of their taxable property value in redevelopment areas would not be able to start a new project area or expand an existing one;

-- disclosure and reporting requirements would be increased; and

-- stricter deadlines would be placed on spending funds set aside for affordable housing.

City Council President Tony Young said the proposal was in the "spirit of cooperation" so people won't suffer from budget cuts.

"We're strongly urging the governor to find middle ground," Young said.

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