The question about redevelopment last week created a lot of discussion. Some assertions were made anonymously that were not accurate as far as Glendora is concerned.
The writer may have been referring to some other city, but as I said originally, I only know what is true in Glendora. So, for that reason, I am doing a follow-up today.
I made a statement that was challenged, that Glendora’s Redevelopment Agency did not have any employees. It doesn’t; the RDA contracts with the city of Glendora to provide various services like accounting, payroll, insurance, engineering, etc.
City employees contracted with the agency do the work.
The costs of the contract workers are paid by the revenue from the tax increment - perfectly legal, appropriate and above board. There is no “unfunded debt unreported for the Agency employees' retirement packages.”
This same anonymous poster said, “You've heard the old saying that "there are no Free Lunches" and what most cities and their leaders would have you believe is that redevelopment is a 'Free Lunch' but nothing could be further from the truth.”
That is a true statement, there is no free lunch.
Redevelopment Agencies provide a means to keep local, taxes that are locally generated.
Those tax revenues benefit us – not some Sacramento politician’s favorite boondoggle. Glendora residents are buying our own lunch – not providing it to the state – for free!
The Governor’s plan to eliminate redevelopment is merely an attempt to again raid the treasuries of local communities, rather than do the tough job of cutting spending in Sacramento. I guess he thinks it’s easier for local governments to cut spending to balance budgets than it is for the state.
The fact is that Glendora has balanced our budgets through this recession by making cuts in department budgets, reducing staff, having city employees pay their share of retirement contributions, etc.
We have cut fat, we have cut muscle, and very soon – especially if we lose redevelopment funds – we will have to start amputating! Other communities in the state are in the same boat.
The Governor’s plan seems like a quick, painless fix to the state’s deficit. The fact is that redevelopment activities support more than 300,000 private sector jobs in a typical year, according to research conducted by Time Structures, Inc.
More than 170,000 of those jobs are in the construction industry – the hardest hit segment in this recession. Redevelopment contributes more than $40 Billion annually to California’s economy in the generation of goods and services.
Redevelopment adds an additional $19 Billion to the state’s construction sector output. This does not include more than $2 Billion in state and local taxes generated by construction activity in a typical year.
Redevelopment creates jobs. Redevelopment revitalizes communities. Redevelopment builds sustainable, transit-oriented communities. Redevelopment cleans up contaminated areas. Redevelopment improves housing opportunities for low-income families.
Communities all over California have benefited from some or all of these. So has Glendora.
Jim Ridenour, writing in Western City Magazine (April 2011) says, “Eliminating redevelopment will bring little financial benefit to California.
"However, it will permanently destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, wipe out billions of dollars in local economic activity and obliterate a key tool that local governments use to meet the state’s in-fill land use objectives.”
The Governor should go back to the drawing board! You betcha!