Glendora Mayor Doug Tessitor fields your community questions and answers them in a weekly column. In Glendora Patch’s Mayor’s Roundtable, you are invited in an ongoing dialogue about issues and concerns you have regarding your city. Share your ideas and voice your opinion.
Have a question you'd like Mayor Tessitor to answer? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you read the following editorial and offer your thoughts on it?
According to the author, redevelopment agencies are shadow governments and really ought to be shut down. What is your take on it?
Thank you for the question. Redevelopment is a complex topic and I don’t pretend to be an expert. In fact there are about 400 redevelopment agencies in the state and I have experience only with Glendora’s.
The article you referred me to has a jaundiced view of redevelopment in general and makes some claims that, at least in Glendora, do not apply. For example, the article makes it sound like all Redevelopment Areas (RDA’s) use eminent domain to benefit “favored developers.” Glendora’s RDA does not have eminent domain powers, let alone favored developers!
The article makes it sound like there are no benefits to local communities, merely diversion of funds from the state to developers. In Glendora’s case, our oldest RDA provided the funds to demolish an unneeded and obsolete elementary school (Wilson School) and replaced it with HUD housing for seniors. Glendora Gardens, 340 N. Wabash, provides homes for many low income seniors - unquestionably a benefit to our community.
Our newest RDA was created in the southeastern corner of our city. The area used to be a large strawberry field and home to Johnston Pump, Inc. The area presently houses the Glendora Auto Center, and the Glendora Marketplace (including Diamond Ridge). Because of the RDA, this area provides more than 50% of Glendora’s sales tax revenue – about $3.5 to $4.0 million per year. This is a significant benefit to the city by any measure. But that’s not all the development of this area contributed to the city.
The development of this area provides hundreds of jobs, mostly to residents of this community. Each business that occupies the area provides these jobs and an opportunity to shop locally, benefits that help our local economy and environment by limiting travel.
The city has been the beneficiary of the property value increase (tax increment) by changing the use from seasonal agriculture to retail commercial property. This adds significant property tax revenue to the city – the state continues to receive property tax revenue based on the prior agricultural use. Revenues from this redevelopment project provided the $13.0 million to build – also a significant benefit to our community’s youth. Approximately $2 million per year are provided by this area to finance city services in addition to the sales tax revenue.
All of our redevelopment projects are due to terminate by 2017. When that happens the city is going to be faced with a reduction in revenue of about $2.5 million per year. That revenue will have to be made up by new revenue sources or services will have to be cut by the same amount.
Our current budgeting process is anticipating reduction of expenditures of $190,000 this year and increasing by similar amounts every year until 2017. This plan will allow us to ease into the loss of revenue rather than suffer a “shock-loss” of $2.5 million all at once.
If the Governor’s plan actually materializes, the City of Glendora will suffer the revenue loss immediately. This will exacerbate an already tight budget and will most likely result in draconian cuts in service and possibly personnel.
The Governor’s plan will be devastating to Glendora.
The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of Doug Tessitor alone. They are not to be construed to represent official positions of the city or the opinions of any other council member.