Town prepares for loss of redevelopment agency


Town officials are preparing for the loss of Danville's redevelopment agency, which will be officially dissolved on Feb. 1. State Supreme Court upheld a law that dissolves California's 400 redevelopment agencies, and allows the state to seize $1.7 billion in property tax revenue, last week.

"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," said Town Manager Joe Calabrigo.

Danville's redevelopment agency (RDA) has spent approximately $53 million over 25 years to extend Railroad Ave., construct the library and community center, renovate the Village Theater and maintain infrastructure. Most recently, the RDA purchased a multi-million dollar building near San Ramon Valley High School as part of the downtown beautification project. The town will no longer be able to take on redevelopment projects and, instead, will focus on paying off outstanding debts.

"There would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million in tax increment funds that would have been available between now and 20 or so years left in our agency," Calabrigo noted. "When agencies are eliminated, to the extent that they still have outstanding obligations, they will be allowed to receive enough tax increment funding to meet those obligations."

In short, the town will act as a successor agency to the RDA and will continue to receive funding from the state to pay off $21.4 million in outstanding debts. Calabrigo stressed that Danville will not take on any additional financial obligations that it didn't have before, but residents may see the results of the disappearing agency.

"Short of general fund dollars, which are competing for every other capital purpose, or trying to find a way to spur reinvestment on the part of private property owners, there is no replacement source of funding," Calabrigo said. "In terms of the future, there will be projects and improvements that either won't get done or won't get done as quickly, but it's not going to take away anything that's already there."

According to town documents, Danville's operating budget and capital improvement program specified $1,156,254 for services, programs and projects undertaken by the RDA. Although that funding will completely disappear, Calabrigo said Danville is in better shape than other Bay Area cities that use redevelopment funds to combat blight and pay for police.

"In Danville's perspective, the role of our agency has been paying for projects…. and we haven't done a lot of the things that will be causing problems for a lot of the bigger cities.

This would have been a lot worse for Danville had it occurred any time in the past because we wouldn't have had those 25 years under our belt," Calabrigo said.

The Town Council will confirm itself as a successor agency during its Jan. 10 meeting.


Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jan 4, 2012 at 9:12 am

" The town will no longer be able to take on redevelopment projects and, instead, will focus on paying off outstanding debts." Sounds like a good plan to me!

Like this comment
Posted by miSFit
a resident of Diablo
on Jan 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm

The town already saw this coming and appeared to set up projects accordingly during last year.

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Posted by guynextdoor
a resident of Danville
on Jan 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Yes, the town is much better managed than others thanks to our manager, staff, council and volunteers. I have just one question. If the funds being seized have already been appropriated by the state, where in our property tax did they come from? I see no line item for a state assessment or RDA. I certainly hope they're not seizing our future property taxes. The state has its own tax revenues.

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Posted by [removed]
a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Dear Editor,

Looking at Danville's need for economic development in the face of heritage considerations seems to be the full reality of redevelopment. There are global funds available to rejuvenate the business district and its infrastucture without government funding. That process would bring affordable senior housing to downtown over quality retail facilities fully ready for anchor retail and commercial service important to drawing regional shoppers.

There truly needs to be a new perspective to allow Danville's business district to be a regional, inviting location for hospitality, retail, commercial and institutional attraction.

There are funds available to create high-density housing in the business district and in appropriate areas that needs more than a heritage viewpoint to achieve such redevelopment.

All Danville's government must do is join the neighborhoods of Danville and its region in creating such results.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Danville
on Jan 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

So Joe, you should level with the citizens of Danville by telling us all that the RDA took property tax monies on the "blighted properties" that you bought which resulted in an overall increase in the property tax burden on all of us. The RDA was just a convenient way to get the property taxpaying members of our community to unwittingly pay for "community improvements" that largely benefitted the business owners down town. No thorny issues of getting the voters to approve what you did, just buy what you like and let us all pay for it. Personally, I am glad to see the RDAs all go. Maybe now some of the non-downtown streets will get some sorely needed repairs because you can't steal the money that might otherwise be used for that purpose.

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