In his latest effort to combat Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate redevelopment statewide, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders wants the city’s redevelopment agency to transfer nearly all 135 of its properties to the city itself.
The move is an attempt to allow the city to keep control over the assets if redevelopment goes away. The City Council will discuss the issue Monday evening.
If the city doesn’t do this and redevelopment is eliminated according to the proposed legislation, the properties would go to an agency controlled by the county and schools. Sanders doesn’t want that to happen.
“This transfer will prevent the fire sale of these assets, and we believe it to be in the best interest of the taxpayers,” mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Laing said in a statement.
Some of the properties that would be transferred include the Balboa and Lyceum theaters downtown and a police station in City Heights.
Like a recent decision to dedicate $4 billion in future property taxes to redevelopment projects, transferring the properties could have an effect on the city’s day-to-day operating budget. The city could receive revenue from selling or leasing the property, but also could have costs to maintain the facilities.
Under Brown’s proposed legislation, redevelopment decisions taken after Jan. 1 will be subject to extended state review and could be nullified. But if successful these actions could make eliminating redevelopment meaningless.
Redevelopment siphons property taxes from cities, counties, schools and, indirectly, the state, to improve rundown neighborhoods. Brown wants to eliminate redevelopment and give the property taxes it takes away to those governments and, for one year, to the state. Locking up future redevelopment dollars and assets could mean there isn’t much money left to spread around.
The state estimates redevelopment agencies received $5 billion in property taxes this year.
Council President Tony Young said he put the issue on Monday evening’s agenda at Sanders’ request. He planned to receive a briefing on the transfers over the weekend.
Should the council approve the transfer, it would mirror decisions made across the state this week. Not all of them have gone through without controversy. Santa Clara County announced it would sue the city of San Jose after it voted to transfer properties on Tuesday.
Brown had hoped for a vote on eliminating redevelopment, which is part of his budget proposal, by March 10, but is still negotiating with Republican legislators for support for his overall package.