One thing that didn’t make it into my story about Mayor Jerry Sanders’ annual State of the City address was the mayor’s talk about the city’s troubled redevelopment agencies, known as CCDC and SEDC. The mayor said:
One area of our city where reorganization is due is in our outside redevelopment agencies, the Southeast(ern) Economic Development Corporation and the Centre City Development Corporation, which have recently undergone upheavals in their top management.
Those changes in leadership were necessary, but we must be careful not to draw the wrong lessons from them. The work of redevelopment agencies has been vital to the progress of this city, and it is not done yet.
In the coming year, I will bring to the City Council a plan that protects taxpayers and strengthens city oversight of redevelopment activities. This is not a repudiation of our redevelopment programs, but rather a re-commitment to make them the most effective in the country.
Rachel Laing, a Sanders spokeswoman, said today that the mayor plans to bring forth proposed amendments to the operating agreements with SEDC and CCDC as early as February. Those are likely to include some of the proposals outlined in a September audit of SEDC. A similar audit of CCDC is expected this spring.
Changes to the operating agreements need “to happen sooner rather than later,” Laing said, “regardless of what the ultimate plan is.”
She said the Mayor’s Office will then take a more comprehensive look at how to deal with the agencies. That could go no further than the changes to the operating agreements, but Laing said they almost certainly won’t include a proposal to disband the agencies altogether.
“There are intermediate policies we can explore,” Laing said.
The City Council, which must approve changes, has expressed reluctance to do any wholesale restructuring of the two agencies.