Perhaps more quickly than anyone would have thought, the California Legislature is already considering a collection of bills designed to both smooth the process of dissolving redevelopment agencies and to introduce new tools that cities can use in redevelopment's absence.
For supporters of redevelopment, Senate Bill 1585 (Perez) is the Holy Grail. Or, if not the Holy Grail, at least a big help. It both cleans up some of the challenging aspects of Assembly Bill X1 26, thus making the dissolution process clearer for successor agencies, and expands the definition of enforceable obligations.
The other bill that has gotten significant attention is SB 654 (Steinberg) which would restore some funds for low- and moderate-income housing. That bill has received support from nearly every housing advocacy group in the state, most of which decried the loss of redevelopment's 20% set-aside for affordable housing.
With the Legislature's spring recess upcoming, from March 29 to April 9, several bills have been making progress.
SB 654 (Steinberg) – Affordable Housing
SB 654 modifies provisions relating to the transfer of Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Funds (LMIHF) and responsibilities associated with dissolved redevelopment agencies. SB 654's provisions modify the scope of the term "enforceable obligation" and require that any unencumbered amounts on deposit in the LMIHF of a dissolved redevelopment agency be transferred to specified entities.
Status: Passed out of Senate, 34-1.
SB 986 (Dutton) – RDA Bond Funds
SB 986 provides that all bond proceeds that were generated by a former redevelopment agency shall be deemed to be encumbered and prohibits a successor agency from sending these proceeds to the county auditor-controller. The bill requires that these bond proceeds must be used by the successor agency for the purposes for which the bonds were sold pursuant to an enforceable obligation that was entered into either by the former agency or its successor agency by December 14, 2014.
Status: Heard in Senate Governance and Finance Committee March 21.
SB 1151 (Steinberg) - Accounting for Properties
This bill would require the successor agency to prepare a long range asset management plan that outlines a strategy for maximizing the long-term value of the real property and assets of the former redevelopment agency for ongoing economic development and housing functions. The bill would require the successor agency to submit the plan to the Department of Finance and the oversight board by December 1, 2012, and would require the approval of the plan by the department and oversight board by December 31, 2012.
Status: Will be heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 18.
SB 1156 (Steinberg) – Community Development
SB 1156 would enable cities and counties to establish a "community development and housing joint powers authority" to assume successor agency responsibilities and create an additional sales tax to fund sustainable economic development and affordable housing.
Status: Will be heard in Senate Transportation & Housing Committee on April 10.
SB 1220 (De Saulnier) – Affordable Housing
SB 1220 titled the "Housing Opportunity Trust Fund Act of 2012," would establish a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. The funding would come through the imposition of a $75 fee on the recordation of each real-estate document, and such funds would be used to support the development, acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing.
Status: Referred to committees on Transportation & Housing and Governance and Finance.
AB 1585 (Perez) – AB X1 26 Cleanup/Enforceable Obligations
AB 1585 also expands the definition of "enforceable obligation" to include any loans between the agency and the host city or county within two years of the date of creation of the redevelopment agency or within two years of the date of the creation of a project area if the loan is specific to that project area. Other loans may be also be deemed enforceable obligations provided that the oversight board makes a finding that the loan was for legitimate redevelopment purposes. There are other provisions clarifying the functions of successor agencies and oversight boards.
Status: Passed Appropriations Committee, 11-3; passed Assembly, 58-7. Will be heard in the Senate after April 9.