Councilman: Redevelopment agency re-do to take most of 2011

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – It might take most of the year to complete plans for restructuring the city of San Diego's Redevelopment Agency, a councilman said Monday.

The comment by Councilman Todd Gloria came in the first meeting of the city's ad hoc Committee on Redevelopment, and comes during a time when the future of such agencies across the state are in doubt because of a budget- cutting proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to phase them out.

When the city changed to a “strong-mayor” form of government five years ago, the mayor was removed from the role of executive director of the agency. Mayor Jerry Sanders has since been re-appointed to the position on a temporary basis eight times — including last month — while reorganization efforts stalled.

The options for the mayor's future, permanent role include:

— remaining as executive director;
— being an ex-officio member who participates in agency board meetings but does not vote;
— being left off the board but appointing the executive director and/or board members; or
— reviewing agency actions and agendas.

“All of the options have positives and negatives,” said Gloria, who chairs the ad hoc committee.

He said planning for restructuring the agency assumes that the redevelopment process will continue in its current form.

The governor wants to phase out the agencies and use the savings to pump up the general funds of local governments during an era of tight budgets. He cited a legislative analyst's conclusion that redevelopment agencies do not contribute much to the state's overall economic health.

The idea resulted in a fierce backlash from cities, including San Diego, where officials believe the process has revitalized downtown and created affordable housing in outlying neighborhoods.

Mayor Jerry Sanders and other big-city mayors lobbied Brown last week in an effort to block his proposal.

A report from the mayor's office stated that the governor is willing to have his staff discuss the issue with city officials.

State Senate committees are scheduled to address the redevelopment proposal Friday and next Monday.

Redevelopment agencies take a portion of the tax revenues generated by their projects, and use the money for future construction.

San Diego's Redevelopment Agency oversees the Centre City Development Corp, Southeastern Development Corp. and 17 separate project areas.

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