County Lays Claim to $33.8 Million In RDA Money Seized By The State

February 25)  The county of San Bernardino has moved to claim $33,818,415 it maintains it is due back from the state in the aftermath of the shuttering of its redevelopment agency in 2011.
In 2011, the state legislature at Governor Jerry Brown’s instigation passed legislation, ABX1 26, closing out the more than 400 municipal and county redevelopment agencies in California.
Redevelopment agencies were formerly adjuncts to local governments which were chartered to reduce blight in those communities and generate economic development. They were empowered to utilize money available from the state and federal government, otherwise obtain loans or financing, or to use their own authority to issue bonds, the proceeds from which were used to eliminate blight and build infrastructure. The improvements from this redevelopment activity would then, theoretically, result in an increase in the value of the property within those redevelopment agency project areas. The increased property tax revenue from those areas would  be used to pay back the loans or debt service the bonds, that is, pay the bondholders.
The law called for the creation of successor agencies to the defunct redevelopment agencies, which would then oversee the discharging of the redevelopment agencies’ debt.
This week, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement between the successor agency to the county redevelopment agency and the county to have the successor agency pay back $12,180,971 in outstanding loans from the county to its redevelopment agency. Those loans included one to the Cedar Glen Redevelopment Project Area of $10,365,000 and another to the Mission Blvd. Redevelopment Project Area of $50,000. In addition to principal on those loans, the first had accrued $1,755,628 in interest to reflect a debt of $12,120,628 and the second had accrued  $10,343 in interest to reach a total debt of $60,343.
The county claims that under a law passed after the redevelopment agencies were closed out, Assembly Bill 1484, the obligations the loans involved could be reestablished if it is demonstrated the loans were made for a legitimate redevelopment purpose.
Those loans thus now stand as enforceable obligations, according to the county, and the California Department of Finance is obliged to make those payments in full to the county.
Furthermore, according to the county, it is applying to have the successor agency to its redevelopment agency transfer all remaining funds, estimated to be $21,637,444 of outstanding successor agency bond proceeds to the county relating to bonds issued for redevelopment efforts in Cedar Glen and San Sevaine.
Cedar Glen lies within the San Bernardino Mountains and San Sevaine is in the unincorporated area between and north of the Rancho Cucamonga/Fontana city limits.
According to Dena Fuentes, the director of the San Bernardino County Department of Community Development and Housing, the aforementioned Assembly Bill 1484 gives the board of supervisors the authority to “act as the governing body of the successor agency to the redevelopment agency of the county of San Bernardino [to] adopt a resolution approving the agreement regarding expenditure of bond proceeds between the successor agency to the redevelopment agency of the county of San Bernardino and the county of San Bernardino  for the transfer of all remaining funds, estimated to be $21,637,444 of outstanding successor’s agency bond proceeds to the county, to be expended in a manner consistent with original bond covenants.”
That money, Fuentes said, included $4,756,226 in Cedar Glen Tax Exempt Bonds, $3,810,122 in San Sevaine Tax Exempt Bonds, and $13,071,096 in San Sevaine Taxable Bonds.

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