Monterey, Salinas Mayors Slam State for Eliminating Redevelopment Agency Funds
June 16, 2011
The Cities of Monterey and Salinas are taking a strong stance against the state's vote to eliminate all redevelopment agency funds, which have proven to be an economic boon for many local communities, including Salinas's downtown. Though Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the Legislature's 2011-2012 budget today, the Legislature has yet to pass along the specific redevelopment bills, AB X1 26 and 27, meaning that they still remain a threat to California's redevelopment programs.
Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue went so far as to call the bills and the budget illegal, adding, "This elimination and hostage taking of local redevelopment funds sends our city and the entire state of California on the wrong track," said Donohue in a statement Thursday. The Salinas Redevelopment Agency, which has suspended its efforts to expand redevelopment in the city, oversees large projects whose future is now in jeopardy. Among them: a commuter rail and expanded transit system; a downtown headquarters for Taylor Farms; and affordable housing projects Laguna Haciendas and Vista de la Terraza. Eight positions at City Hall face elimination, and hundreds of construction workers assigned to the redevelopment projects may need to search for other jobs.
Below is the statement by Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Sala:
“Monterey can no longer afford to bear the brunt of the State’s inability to balance its budget without draining local funds. Elimination of redevelopment agency funds will cost the City of Monterey $2.8 million for essential safety and maintenance projects, and another $700,000 that is dedicated to our housing programs and grants to community July 1, 2007 services organizations that deliver vital services in Monterey, every year. Just last week, the Monterey City Council adopted a balanced budget for the new fiscal year which included painful reductions in services to our citizens and employee layoffs. Now the State expects us to find another $3.5 million to solve its budget crisis? As Mayor of Monterey, I urge the Governor and the Legislature to restore funding for redevelopment and stop the illegal accounting gimmicks that are bankrupting our cities.”