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San Diego County leaders have decided to keep negotiating rather than file a lawsuit over the late-night legislation that eliminated a key limit on downtown redevelopment, county and city legal officials said Thursday.

The two sides agreed this week to extend settlement talks for six months. Mayor Jerry Sanders and County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Dianne Jacob began negotiating a deal, which would likely include a financial settlement, a few weeks after the legislation passed.

“It allows us time to talk about this and resolve this before we’d have to file a lawsuit,” County Counsel Thomas Montgomery said.

Last month, the county sent a letter to the city and its downtown redevelopment agency saying it would sue over the legislation by this Friday, close to its deadline to file suit under state law.

Here’s how I have explained why the county is mad:

The county was likely one of the losers in the state legislation that allowed San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency to effectively extend its lifespan for 20 years until 2043. The agency, the Centre City Development Corp., is estimated to reap more than $1 billion in additional property tax revenue over that time. Some of that money could otherwise have flowed to the county.

The legislation, passed the night before the legislature approved the state budget in October, also circumvented an ongoing public process to discuss the cap removal. That process gave the county significant leverage to squeeze future tax revenue out of the city to get a deal done.

The county also is planning to sue the state and the governor. Montgomery said the county has been in touch with both parties and they’re also amenable to six-month extensions. In the worst case scenario, Montgomery said, the county will file suit tomorrow to preserve legal rights, but pull it back once the agreements are reached.

The county believes the legislation, SB 863, violates the state constitution’s rule that requires legislation to be about a “single subject.”

I took on the “single subject” issue in a November story.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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