With the fate of the state’s redevelopment agencies in legal limbo, the Goleta City Council, acting also as the city’s Redevelopment Agency, voted unanimously Monday to approve and adopt an Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule for the activities of the RDA.
The document, according to the staff report, serves as “the basis for the payment of the agency’s outstanding financial obligations” if the city does not adopt an ordinance that expresses its participation in a Voluntary Alternative Redevelopment Program.
The city’s adoption of the EOPS comes as redevelopment agencies and their advocates across California battle to retain their existence in the face of Assembly Bill 1X 26, legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that dissolves all redevelopment agencies in the state in his effort to close the state’s budget gap.
Proponents of the bill extol its money-saving effect and the property taxes that would go to local school districts instead of being funneled to the improvement of blighted areas. Opponents, meanwhile, decry the short-term savings at the cost of much-needed infrastructure and economic development.
Easton, who lives in Goleta’s once-blighted area of Old Town, has seen firsthand the effect of the Redevelopment Agency on local infrastructure and buildings, but the neighborhood still has a way to go to make the place an economically thriving one. Several months ago, to keep the San Jose Creek capacity improvement and fish passage project in the heart of Old Town on track despite the governor’s efforts to dissolve RDAs, the city issued bonds for construction instead of relying on RDA funds.
“In many jurisdictions, Goleta being one of them, what other tools do you have for economic development?” Easton said.
Last July, the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association challenged the bill, and a subsequent one that would allow the continuation of the RDA if it participated in an “Alternate Redevelopment Program” that would require the RDA to pay a certain amount to the state. On Aug. 11, the California Supreme Court issued a partial stay on AB 1X 26 and a full stay on the subsequent AB 1X 27.
Goleta’s decision complies with the part of AB 1X 26 that is still in effect, a part that applies to the state’s Health and Safety Code. The EOPS lists all of the RDAs debts and obligations through December.