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Roseville braces for redevelopment projects at risk

All redevelopment agencies in California required to dissolve by Feb. 1
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville redevelopment funds have paid for the rehabilitation of two historic theaters downtown, several streetscape projects and façade rebates for local businesses, and nearly 800 affordable housing units.

But now future revitalization projects are at risk following the California Supreme Court’s decision that ordered the elimination of the state’s 425 redevelopment agencies by Feb. 1.

The Dec. 29 decision followed two trailer bills passed with the state budget and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that required the abolishment of agencies to shore up some $1.7 billion in funding for the state. The legislature allowed local agencies to pay a fee to stay intact, and Roseville forked over $1.86 million in August. But the court decision also struck down that fee provision.

“I still can’t believe this has actually come to pass,” said Roseville City Councilman John Allard, during Wednesday’s meeting. “To me, it’s just the height of complete irresponsibility of the state legislature and the governor for a total lack of understanding or concern for local government.”

He cites the loss of $57.7 million in funding generated locally for use in Roseville that will instead go toward closing the state’s budget deficit.

“So they grabbed money from local governments without even thinking about what the ramifications could be and now we’re faced with the ramifications,” Allard said.

While legislation has been introduced to extend the dissolution deadline to April 15, the city of Roseville is moving forward on steps to meet the Feb. 1 payment schedule requirement. That includes creating a successor agency to oversee the dissolution — which will be the city council — and forming a seven-member oversight board.

Staff is looking at financing options to protect $32 million in loans made by the city to the agency for the construction of flood protection, infrastructure enhancements, economic development efforts and land acquisitions. The city also wants to protect $6.3 million worth of real estate assets.

Roseville stands to lose $5.6 million in annual tax increment that’s reinvested locally in the form of physical improvements, commercial loans, façade rebates, affordable housing projects and residential rehab projects.

Roseville may also lose about $12.8 million in unobligated bond funds, which is money allocated but not under contract for specific projects.

Funds for three pending mixed-use projects — that would bring about 200 housing units to downtown — may also be impacted.

“It sounds like a death sentence for Roseville,” said Councilwoman Carol Garcia. “It’s just awful that we have to dissolve the agency.”

In August, the city council approved 13 projects in downtown and Old Town to be completed over three years for $37 million. These projects include construction of a town square and amphitheater, changes to pedestrian bridges and infrastructure improvements.

Some of those projects are at risk, such as streetscape and roadway improvements in the Vernon Street area needed to support new development, and construction of about 180 public parking spots in Old Town. Future commercial loans may also be affected. These loans have gone to help The Place, Java Jungle and Bar Basic.

These projects were to be paid for through unobligated bond funds of about $6 million.

“The ramifications will be that these projects do not move forward until funds come available,” Assistant Redevelopment Director Kevin Payne told the Press Tribune. “The other projects such as the town square are funded through local funds collected over time and are still moving forward.”

The city is looking at how the Roseville Community Development Corporation might become the implementing mechanism for future revitalization efforts.

The nonprofit corporation provides another avenue to take on some level of revitalization, although not at the same scale as the Roseville Redevelopment Agency, Payne said.

“It does, at least, leave a glimmer of hope for the future,” he said.

Here’s a look at some other items approved during the Jan. 18 council meeting:

Purchase of digital system: Roseville Police Department will upgrade the digital sound recording system in the 911 communications center, which is used for recording, playback and archiving of police and fire radio audio transmissions, and 911 and other telephone calls into the dispatch center. The cost is $55,367 and will be reimbursed by California 911 funds.

Compliance program consulting services agreement: Roseville Electric must be in compliance with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and is subject to an audit every six years, with the next one scheduled for 2014. Roseville Electric will contract with USE, Inc. to begin preparing for the audit for a cost not to exceed $37,800.

Purchase of vehicles: The city will purchase a SWAT vehicle and five Four F250s with utility bodies. The Police Department is replacing its SWAT vehicle, which is 13 years old, for a cost of $136,012. Funding is included in the Auto Replacement Fund. The Fords will be used by the Central Services Building Maintenance Division, Environmental Utilities Department Water Division, Roseville Electric, and Parks and Recreation Department for a total of $139,195.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Financial impacts of dissolution of Roseville Redevelopment Agency
Tax increment lost annually: $5.6 million
Annual housing program: $1 million
Repayment of city loans: $32 million
Bonds not legally obligated: $12.8 million
Lost real estate assets: $6.3 million
Total: $57.7 million

2012 redevelopment projects at risk
Vernon Street-area streetscape and infrastructure work
Construction of about 180 parking spots in Old Town
Future commercial loans
Three mixed-use affordable housing projects downtown