Lucia Mar closer to getting millions of redevelopment dollars

clambert@thetribunenews.comFebruary 7, 2013 

A three-member board agreed unanimously this week to allow the Lucia Mar Unified School District to receive millions of dollars over the next two decades from the former Pismo Beach Redevelopment Agency.

The decision does not, however, end a longstanding dispute between the two entities over an agreement made in 1988.

It must still be reviewed and approved by another, separate board, and is also subject to review by the California Department of Finance. But if fully approved, the district would start receiving money as of July 1.

In 1988, the district agreed to forgo some property tax money for 20 years received by the now-dissolved Pismo Beach Redevelopment Agency, which was 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 could use to build and maintain education facilities at its 18 schools.

Lucia Mar administrators became concerned, however, that they might not see the money when the Pismo Beach City Council started taking steps a few years ago to dissolve the agency, saying there was no more blight to address.

Pismo officials didn’t take final action — but it didn’t matter. Redevelopment agencies statewide were dissolved as of Feb. 1, 2012, as a way to help solve the state’s fiscal crisis.

A three-member governing board called a designated local authority (DLA) is now overseeing the winding down of Pismo’s redevelopment agency. The DLA on Monday voted to allow the payments to continue.

A seven-member oversight board will review its decision in the next few weeks, said Mark Persico, a senior consultant with Kosmont Companies, who is serving as staff support to the DLA.

If the payments continue, the Lucia Mar district would receive about $450,000 a year that would be used specifically for facilities, Raynee Daley, assistant superintendent of business services, said last week.

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.

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

Upcoming meeting

The oversight board meeting will be held Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. in Pismo Beach City Council chambers, 760 Mattie Road.

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