Santa Clarita’s Redevelopment Agency is heading down a long, unwinding road now that the City Council voted Tuesday night to become the successor agency as defined in a new state law.
“This winding down process is going to be a lengthy process. And it’s going to take awhile before we’re done paying all the debt that’s outstanding,” said Armine Chaparyan, the city of Santa Clarita’s redevelopment manager.
On June 29, 2011, as part of adopting the 2011-12 state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a trailer bill that eliminated redevelopment agencies and ordered “successor agencies” to wind down the activities of redevelopment agencies.
In many instances, like in Santa Clarita, the cities themselves have chosen to become the successor agencies.
Chaparyan said the city of Santa Clarita has a large number of bonds that were issued to conduct redevelopment projects. Those debts will continue until 2042.
However, the city as successor agency will be done with its part of the management of those debts in four years. The same is happening for the other 425 redevelopment agencies throughout the state.
“For the time being, we will be responsible for our actions and then after 2016 all the successor agencies get rolled into one by the county,” Chaparyan said.
So, how does redevelopment get carried out from now on?
“It doesn’t. We cannot take on any projects, any activities,” said Chaparyan.
There could be a temporary reprieve for redevelopment agencies if SB 659 is passed in the Assembly and Senate and then signed by the governor. The bill would delay the phase-out of redevelopment agencies until April 15, instead of next week.
“The goal of that is really to be able to have the stakeholders and all the folks who are impacted by this come together to try to propose some kind of reform legislation that could allow for some kind of redevelopment to still continue,” Chaparyan said.
Redevelopment is a key tool for the city, Chaparyan says, to bring in private investment and public-private partnerships where financing and resources are leveraged to do large-scale development.
“That’s how you’re truly able to transform redevelopment project areas,” she said.