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Local redevelopment agencies begin their wind down

Officials navigate uncharted waters as they put agencies out of business.

February 01, 2012|By Jason Wells, jason.wells@latimes.com
  • John Berry of John Berry Architects looks at a rendition of new units that will be built on the 2200 block of Catalina Ave. in Burbank after the existing ones are demolished on Thursday, October 6, 2011. When the demolition is complete, Burbank Housing Corp., in partnership with the Burbank Redevelopment Agency will build 20 energy-efficient rental units. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
John Berry of John Berry Architects looks at a rendition…

It’s official, redevelopment is on its way out in Glendale, at least in its current form.

Wednesday marked the day hundreds of redevelopment agencies across the state, including those in Burbank and Glendale, must start winding down their operations. The process is expected to take months as officials close out plans and tie up existing obligations.

To oversee that process, cities have set up so-called “successor agencies” that will answer to local oversight committees and, ultimately, the California Department of Finance.

It’s a position city officials had hoped to avoid. Now they’re in unchartered territory.

At a Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday, City Atty. Mike Garcia said city officials would be guided by the law as they move through the process.

“There’s a lot of gray area that I think all the agencies throughout the state of California will be trying to figure out where to go from here,” he said. “There are a lot of different interpretations, but we do have guidance from the law.”

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Cities must notify the state controller and Department of Finance how much redevelopment property tax money they need to pay off existing debts and obligations, a list that will be reviewed by an oversight committee made up of local stakeholders.

As that income starts flowing in the coming months, the successor agencies will start meeting to approve actions for winding down redevelopment operations, which could end up affecting dozens of city jobs in Burbank and Glendale.

City officials from across the state, meanwhile, are lobbying lawmakers to come up with a measure to revive local redevelopment in some form. So far, those efforts have proved unfruitful.

Staff writer Brittany Levine contributed to this report.
 

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