Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature this week on two bills that dismantle California’s redevelopment program is a significant blow to Irvine’s Great Park. But officials are waiting to see how dramatic the blow will be.
One bill kills redevelopment in its current form, but the other allows cities and counties to keep their redevelopment agencies as long as they agree to pay into state accounts for such services as education, infrastructure and public safety. The state plans to collect a total of $1.7 billion from the cities.
A complicated formula will determine what each city and county must pay to state education, firefighting and transit funds in order to keep their redevelopment agencies. Cities have until November to join the new program or dismantle their redevelopment programs.
Therein lies the uncertainty. Irvine city leaders don’t know how much in redevelopment funds the state will ultimately decide to take from the city, according to Assistant City Manager Sharon Landers. State legislators are expected to pass additional bills that could change the formula and the city’s share of the state assessment, Landers said. The League of California Cities plans to sue the state over the redevelopment bills.
The law directs the state Department of Finance to give city and counties their payment figures by Aug. 1, which, as it stands now, is the precursor of a day of judgment for the city’s redevelopment agency.
“It’s a business decision,” Landers said. “And the council would have to know what the cost is to opt in and what impact that would have on the redevelopment area.”
In light of their redevelopment agency’s still uncertain future, council members have already started planning alternate funding sources for the park.
As Voice of OC reported in May, council members awarded a no-bid contract to San Francisco-based Strada Investment Group to generate public-private partnership deals.