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Earlier this week, I wrote about the Centre City Development Corp.’s approval of two agreements — one to pay the city’s share of the annual debt service on Petco Park, and another to repay its longstanding debt to the city.

The City Council must OK the agreements. But if the CCDC board hadn’t approved them, could the council members force the downtown redevelopment arm to pay the money anyway?

A spokeswoman for Mayor Jerry Sanders says yes. The reason? The City Council doubles as the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which oversees the activities of CCDC and must approve most of its actions.

“Basically the City Council, when they’re sitting as the Redevelopment Agency, controls the budget of CCDC,” mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Laing said. “So conceivably, if the board said, ‘No, we don’t want to do that,’ the City Council as the (Redevelopment Agency) could have forced them. They would just be able to realign the CCDC budget.”

So the City Council could have made CCDC pay back its debt — or at least set up a schedule to do so — years ago. Looking ahead, the council also could alter the arrangement recently approved by the CCDC board. Councilman Carl DeMaio, for instance, has said the agency should pay back the debt in starting in the 2009-10 budget year, four years earlier than CCDC is proposing.

As the Redevelopment Agency, council members also oversee the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. and the city’s Redevelopment Division. The city is mulling changes to those arrangements in light of scandals at CCDC and SEDC that led to the departure of both agencies’ presidents.

RANI GUPTA

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