Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget
fix could put an end to local redevelopment agencies – one of which has been a
central tool in West Sacramento’s drive to
“The action would eliminate redevelopment
agencies except for a basic accounting function,” City Manager Toby Ross told
the council on Wednesday. “There wouldn’t be any ongoing programs.”
West Sacramento has a redevelopment agency
boundary that includes much of its riverfront and downtown as well as part of Southport. Special property tax rules apply within the
redevelopment area, re-routing some of the revenue away from the state and back
into the redevelopment agency for use in spurring development. This money – and
the promise of more in the future after successful new development – can also
be leveraged with outside funds to make big-ticket projects happen.
“It’s hard to imagine what our community
would look like if there had been no redevelopment,” Mayor Cabaldon said at
Wednesday’s council meeting. “There would be no Southport without redevelopment
– redevelopment created the critical amount of money for the Palamidessi Bridge.”
Among the other projects Cabaldon said could
not have occurred without the redevelopment agency were Raley Field and the
just-started Bridge District construction. The local agency was involved in the
deals that brought the “ziggurat” building to town (with the Money Store
company originally) and in redeveloping West Capitol Avenue.
The mayor added that the city’s “smart
growth” plans – focusing new density in downtown and freeway areas – “just
can’t work” if the city’s redevelopment agency is taken away. He told the
council that because West Sacramento has a lot
of examples of the proper use of redevelopment agency programs, and because it
is so close to the capital, the city can play a role in educating the governor
and legislators on the importance of keeping the agencies alive.
“It’s hard to imagine a more important budget
fight, particularly to West Sacramento, than
this one,” said Cabaldon.