Lucia Mar seeks Pismo funds

School district seeks money pledged under a deal with now-defunct redevelopment agency

clambert@thetribunenews.comFebruary 3, 2013 

A longstanding dispute between Pismo Beach’s now-dissolved redevelopment agency and the Lucia Mar school district over millions of dollars that district officials say is owed to them could come to a head today.

School district administrators are encouraging supporters to attend a meeting in which a separate group will be tasked to determine whether the district should receive money per an agreement that Pismo Beach’s agency made in 1988.

However, today’s decision is not the final call on the issue. Another board and the state Department of Finance will also get to weigh in.

In 1988, the district agreed to forgo some property tax money for 20 years received by the now-defunct Pismo Beach Redevelopment Agency — an entity formed to improve areas of the city that are economically or physically blighted.

In return, the agency agreed to pay Lucia Mar its share of the property tax increases starting in 2009 through 2039 — nearly $12 million total — that it can use to build and maintain educationfacilities.

But about three years ago, the Pismo Beach City Council started the process to dissolve the redevelopment agency after a report found there was no more blight to address, and because the agency was going to be operating in the red.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed to eliminate the agencies statewide as part of his budget proposal. They were dissolved as of Feb. 1, 2012.

Pismo Beach didn’t want to be involved in the winding down of its redevelopment agency, so Brown appointed a three-member governing board called a designated local authority (DLA), supervised by a seven-member oversight board.

Today, the DLA will discuss whether to allow payments under the agreement to continue. If it does, the district would receive about $450,000 a year that would be used specifically for facilities, said Raynee Daley, assistant superintendent of business services.

The district is counting on the money to pay down debt associated with new facilities for a career technical education program at Arroyo Grande High School. Otherwise, the general fund will take a hit.

The city, however, would see less in tax revenues as a result — about $50,000 a year, Pismo Beach attorney Dave Fleishman said.

But if the payments aren’t allowed, the district won’t receive any additional money from the state to make up for the loss of facilities funds, according to Lucia Mar officials.

“It truly is a loss for the district,” Daley said.

The oversight board still has the authority to approve or overturn the DLA’s decision. If the oversight board allows the agreement to continue, its action would be subject to review by the department of finance.

Both Fleishman and Daley said the two entities are still negotiating possible solutions.

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at La Perla Del Mar Chapel, 205 Windward Ave. in Shell Beach.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service