What Are We Doing?
Opposing the hostile take-over of Liberty Apple Valley
The years-long process to dissolve the scores of redevelopment agencies in the state is vexing local officials and confounding taxpayers.
San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker and Apple Valley’s assistant town manager for finance, Marc Puckett, both characterize the dissolutions as a
shell game in which the state is indirectly gaining some annual savings.
As a result of the elimination of the RDAs since Feb. 1, 2012, property tax revenues are now being used to pay required payments on existing bonds, other obligations and pass-through payments to local governments, the Department of Finance says on its website.
Most agencies have ended up with some items to dispute, Puckett said.
We had a suit early on because of a typographical error that would have cost Apple Valley $1 million. To clear it, the town spent about $50,000 in legal fees, Puckett said.
Puckett said more than 200 lawsuits have been filed over the process.
The town paid about $11.8 million to the county RPTTF but has about $3.3 million in obligations not yet approved by the Department of Finance.
It will be in contention until it’s resolved in one manner or another, Puckett said.
To observers such as Apple Valley resident Al Rice, the wind-down process for the more than 400 redevelopment agencies appears to be complicated and costly.
Each one of these agencies has a convoluted program, Rice said after viewing online hours of proceedings at the state level.
They’re all doing something differently.
Part of the confusion stems from the RDAs’ different redevelopment needs and goals, and because some borrowed money from a municipal organization with interest rates ranging from zero percent, as in Apple Valley’s case, or more.
Apple Valley focused on low- to moderate-income housing for seniors, and Puckett said the disputed obligation amounts could have funded four projects.
It’s been a nightmare, he said.
It’s been a very frustrating, inefficient process that didn’t have to be done this way.
More information on the redevelopment agency dissolution process can be found at dof.ca.gov/redevelopment.
Source: Gary Brodeur, Daily Press