Atascadero leaders are trying to figure out how to pay for more than $1.3 million in community projects that could be stopped because of state funding cuts.
The move is one more step in the battle between cities and the state on Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature’s push to dismantle the 400 local redevelopment agencies statewide by Oct. 1.
Each city with such an agency uses a chunk of property tax revenue that would otherwise go to schools or other local governments to pay for redevelopment projects in areas deemed blighted. The state wants to take some of that money to redirect it to education and other spending.
Projects in Atascadero that could be affected include subsidized housing programs, development of a historical Centennial Park and improvements at Atascadero Lake Park.
On Thursday, the City Council directed staff to return Sept. 13 with recommendations for alternative funding options for the projects, officials said.
The council also ratified a list of contractual agreements the city maintains that must be honored and paid for with redevelopment funds.
The state requires that agencies report these obligations.
The Paso Robles City Council took similar action for its own commitments at its Aug. 16 meeting.
The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear cities’ complaints about eliminating redevelopment agencies, but that means agency funds are frozen until at least January.
“Our projects are still being held captive,” Atascadero City Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi, who is also chairwoman of the city’s Redevelopment Agency board, said in a statement. “Canceling or even delaying these projects will throw a real wet blanket on local economic stimulus strategies.”
Atascadero agreed earlier this month to pay the state what critics call a “ransom” sum of $1.5 million for schools and special districts in order to keep its agency intact. Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach have made similar decisions.