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Council elects town to act as successor to redevelopment agency

Like many communities around California whose redevelopment agencies will be dissolved Feb. 1, Danville will act as a successor agency so that it can continue to receive funding from the state to satisfy $21.4 million in outstanding debts.

On Tuesday night, Danville's Town Council unanimously voted in favor of the town becoming a successor agency. The action is a direct result of California's monumental financial woes and should provide the state with $1.7 billion in property tax revenue. On Dec. 30, the state Supreme Court upheld a law that dissolves all 400 California redevelopment agencies (RDA), simultaneously striking down a law that would have allowed cities to pay for their agencies.

Since the mid-1980s, Danville's redevelopment agency has spent $53 million on projects, including the extension of Railroad Avenue and the construction of the town's library and community center on Front Street. Besides maintaining infrastructure, redevelopment projects funded since 1986 have included the renovation of the Village Theater, also on Front Street. Last January, the RDA purchased a parcel in the downtown area, adjacent to San Ramon Valley High School, as part of the downtown beautification project.

When Danville's redevelopment agency is dissolved, all of its non-housing funds and assets will be turned over to the newly created successor agency, which has the responsibility to pay off the redevelopment agency's remaining debt. Affordable housing assets will be turned over to the Successor Housing Agency, which will continue to perform affordable housing activities. The remaining affordable housing fund balance that is carried over from the redevelopment agency will be used to repay existing housing fund debt.

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said Danville is in better financial shape than other Bay Area communities that have utilized redevelopment monies to combat blight and fund police departments.

"What happens to the town and all other redevelopment agencies in the state, we're essentially walking away from future tax increment monies that haven't already been committed to projects," Calabrigo recently told the Express.

Town documents reveal that Danville's operating budget and capital improvement program specified more than $1.1 million for service, programs and projects undertaken by its RDA. As of Feb. 1, that funding will completely disappear.

Danville will assume the role of successor agency until 2016, after which a master entity in each county will take over debt service until the debt is retired.

There was no public comment at Tuesday night's Town Council meeting.

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