Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 11:36 am | A Few Clouds 65º


Local News

Board of Supervisors Votes for County to Take Over Isla Vista Redevelopment Agency

Like many local cities will do with their RDAs, the county will assume responsibility for handling the assets, debts and projects

Seven redevelopment agencies in Santa Barbara County are dissolving, and everyone has their eyes on the money.

After the state Supreme Court ruled that RDAs must dissolve by Feb. 1, local cities have become the successor agencies to handle former RDA assets, debts and projects.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday for the county to take over the Isla Vista RDA. Assistant CEO Renee Bahl explained that the county will have a role for the next 30 years extinguishing debt and redistributing tax revenues.

Non-housing assets must be liquidated, which includes cash balances and properties held for resale.

The combined tax increment from the seven RDAs — $36 million this year — will be redistributed to the county, cities, school districts and special districts, but RDA obligations such as debt payments still need to be completed, which could take decades, Bahl said.

There is a priority list for redistributing the money, with schools at the top, followed by reimbursements for successor agency costs and fulfilling the RDA’s obligations. Whatever is left will be given proportionally to the agencies that contributed to the RDA tax increment, according to Greg Levin of the county’s Auditor-Controller Office.

County officials are unsure when the additional revenues will make it back to those agencies. The complex process shows that even the state doesn’t know what it’s doing in regards to eliminating RDAs, county CEO Chandra Waller said.

The county and cities will create oversight committees to watch over the assets from now on, and appointments must be made by May.

Buellton, Goleta, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria also have been working to dissolve their redevelopment agencies.

UCSB student Tim Benson spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Associated Students and asked the supervisors to remember the needs of Isla Vista as the RDA gets dissolved. Being unincorporated, the area doesn’t have much representation, and the RDA was the go-to agency for many community issues, he said, adding that the dense, diverse community appreciates the RDA projects already completed but doesn’t want to be ignored in the future.

Santa Barbara, the largest RDA in the county, had $19.8 million in revenue, according to county records. As an example, when all that money is redistributed: $5.6 million would go to the county, $2.5 million would go to the city itself, about $65,000 would go to independent districts and $11.58 million would go to school districts, according to county calculations.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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