City loans $500,000 to Roseville Community Development Corporation

Brings loan total to $1.5 million to private, nonprofit group
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Action Taken

Here’s a look at some other items approved during the March 6 council meeting:

Downtown public improvement amendment: This amendment with Mark Thomas & Co. will expand a previous agreement to finalize the water feature design revisions, add construction management services for the Town Square, provide plans for an additional curb ramp improvement at Oak and Judah streets and complete traffic modeling for the roundabout design for a cost of $55,715.

Bridge replacements: Engineering services are needed to replace the Industrial Avenue Bridge over Pleasant Grove Creek and Oakridge Drive Bridge over Linda Creek. Mark Thomas & Co. has been selected for a not-to-exceed fee of $931,791, plus a 10 percent contingency. Both bridges will be mostly funded through Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program funds.

General site construction services agreement: The city chose Carter-Kelly for services such as playground repair, concrete, site work and park rehabilitation, which is intended to be cost-effective. As the city’s infrastructure ages, smaller repair and replacement projects will become more needed. The total estimated cost for the 15-month agreement is $200,000.

Vehicles purchase: The city will purchase a Ford F150 pickup truck to patrol for water waste for $23,562, and a Ford-250 truck for use by the Fleet Maintenance Department to maintain water lines for $35,697.

Roseville Electric’s efficiency goals: Every three years, electric utilities in California are required to develop new annual energy efficiency goals for each of the following 10 years. Roseville Electric will aim for an average reduction of 0.64 percent of forecasted system energy sold annually. Costs for the program are to be included in the Public Benefits budget.

~ Sena Christian

The city of Roseville is making another loan to the private, nonprofit Roseville Community Development Corporation to fulfill revitalization goals.

The Roseville City Council unanimously approved loaning $500,000 to the corporation at the March 6 meeting. Mayor Susan Rohan was absent.

The money, from Roseville’s affordable housing fund, will go toward the creation of the corporation’s housing revitalization program to assist the city in meeting its affordable housing goals. No payments will be made on the 20-year loan for the first 10 years.

The corporation aims to do this by rehabilitating existing distressed housing that has been foreclosed, acquiring properties that are secured through a city-held second mortgage or revitalizing neighborhoods by improving property in dilapidated conditions.

Revitalization Manager Kevin Payne said the program’s goal in its inaugural year will be to renovate four to six foreclosed homes, which can then be sold at affordable costs to first-time homebuyers. This will create construction jobs and encourage home ownership in local neighborhoods.

Payne said the sale of the houses will be used to pay down the loan to the city, cover operating costs and allow the corporation to reinvest in the program.

“I think this is exactly why the RCDC was formed -- to really give our city the flexibility to do some of these programs and why we’re kind of doing redevelopment when other cities are still scrambling with the state getting rid of redevelopment agencies,” said Councilman Tim Herman. “So, I think it’s a great idea and a great use of that really valuable tool that the RCDC is for us.”

Mike Trainor, a residential Realtor, said during public comment that he can attest to the difficulties first-time homebuyers face in Roseville and voiced his support of the program.

But some residents are wondering when enough is enough. The city has now loaned the corporation — which the council formed in October 2010 — a total of $5.5 million. About $1.14 million of that went to the purchase of two buildings on Vernon Street. Another $1.5 million went, in the form of a loan, to the operators of Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill in downtown.

Roseville resident Theresa McInnes, a vocal opponent of the Roseville Community Development Corporation, says she thinks the city has already loaned too much to the corporation and she questions when it will end.

“For the city to give even more money to the RCDC would be so shocking,” she told the Press Tribune prior to Wednesday’s meeting. “Taking into consideration the enormous amount now being owed the city and not being paid on just the JC Penney building, and the $1.5 million extended to (developer Steve) Pease, (this loan) would appear totally irresponsible on the part of the Roseville City Council.”

Pease is one of the partners of Innova Restaurant Concepts LLC, which runs Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill.

Roseville’s now-dissolved redevelopment agency had purchased the former JC Penney in September 2005 for $1 million — loaned from the city — and in 2008 sold the building to KMS Development, a Pease company, for $650,000.

“They keep throwing dollars at the RCDC, an organization that has not proven itself as a ‘moneymaker,'" McInnes said. “I know, I know, they have a restaurant running on Vernon now. As far as I know, few, if any, payments have been made by Pease … so I would say that the RCDC is not a success story at this point.”