The quick and dirty end of Redevelopment in California was a surgery performed with a hatchet. Local governments were required to submit wind-down budgets to the state by April 15, and now the state will go through them with a fine-toothed comb to verify the legality of the budget debt obligations.
The State Department of Finance is allowed just three days to challenge the budgets submitted. As a result, seventy employees have been assigned to review the documents received. Should they discover inconsistencies, they can challenge parts or all of the budgets submitted. The challenge comes from some of the ambiguities contained in the laws that dissolved the agencies to begin with.
For instance, the over the last several decades local governments approved $4 billion in loans to redevelopment agencies. Under current law, that money may not be able to be recouped. Assembly Speaker John Perez introduced and helped pass a bill in the Assembly that would enable local governments to collect on those debts, but it hasn’t passed the Senate as of yet. That means, that under current law, those payments may not be included in the list of ongoing debt obligations.
In the flurry surrounding the end of redevelopment, 60 state Department of Finance officials are scouring local redevelopment budgets to determine whether their claims about existing debts and obligations are legal.
Cities and other local entities that are overseeing the shutdown of redevelopment agencies were required to submit a list of their ongoing financial commitments by April 15. Now, the department has a three-day window to raise objections. Of the budgets it has reviewed so far, the department has challenged almost two dozen, including budgets from the cities of Riverside,Orange and San Leandro.
Read the full article here.