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Glendale looks to resurrect redevelopment

City will refinance bonds to help it finance new economic department.

April 25, 2013|By Brittany Levine

While Glendale officials want to create a new economic development department to replace the defunct redevelopment agency, there's no money to operate it.

But that appears to be a temporary hurdle.

The City Council took the first step this week to refinance several redevelopment bonds issued in 2002, 2003 and 2010 to save about $875,000 a year in debt service through 2021.

The city would get to keep about half of that money once it becomes available, according to new rules set by state officials after they dissolved nearly 400 redevelopment agencies throughout California — including Glendale's — last year.

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"We would be looking at this as new money to seed our economic development effort," said City Manager Scott Ochoa.

Glendale used property taxes slated for redevelopment projects to support development of the Americana at Brand, Disney Creative Campus and other projects. However, when state lawmakers ended the program to close a multi-billion dollar state budget gap, Glendale's economic development — and the city's finances in general — took a huge blow.

Officials plan to create a new department to market the city to businesses in order to jumpstart property tax revenue, which, in turn, will help fund other city programs.

There are still several steps city officials must take before they can refinance the tens of millions of dollars in bond issuances, which must ultimately be approved by the state Department of Finance.

Officials expect the whole process to take roughly seven months, with bond sales expected in September and a closing in October.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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