Oversight Board To Determine Fate Of Millions Of Dollars In Redevelopment Assets, Obligations
Seven-Member Board Held Its First Meeting Yesterday, May 7, At City Hall
By Sean Belk - Staff Writer
May 8th - The oversight board, responsible for determining the fate of tens of millions of dollars worth of assets and obligations from the abolished Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA), held its first meeting, yesterday, May 7, at 9 a.m. at City Hall.
The seven-member board oversees the Long Beach City Council, which is acting as the successor agency to the former Long Beach RDA, while ensuring the city is conforming to the state’s dissolution act, known as AB 1X 26.
The oversight board in Long Beach is one of 71 oversight boards in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller and the California State Department of Finance also have jurisdiction over successor agency actions.
A memo sent to the mayor and city council, dated April 30, and obtained by the Business Journal, lists the seven members of the newly formed Long Beach oversight board. The city is responsible for staffing and preparing staff reports based on actions taken by the successor agency.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has appointed Jane Netherton, president and CEO of International City Bank and a former chair of the RDA; Richard Powers, executive director of Gateway Cities Council of Governments; and Carol Meyer, a healthcare consultant and former county employee.
Eloy Oakley, superintendent and president of Long Beach City College, is representing the Long Beach Community College District, while James Novak, chief business and financial officer of the Long Beach Unified School District, is representing the Los Angeles County Board of Education.
Mayor Bob Foster has appointed Ellie Tolentino, the city’s housing services officer, who administered affordable housing projects through a city-operated non-profit, and Teer Strickland, a realtor and former Long Beach RDA boardmember.
Cheryl Burnett, spokesperson for Knabe’s office, said the oversight boardmembers were appointed due to their “experience and commitment” to the issues.
During the May 7 meeting, the oversight board was expected to vote on holding meetings the first Monday of each month at 9 a.m., adopt bylaws, receive an oral presentation on the Brown Act, receive an oral presentation on ABX1 26 and designate Dale Hutchinson, former RDA administrator, as the point of contact for the state’s department of finance.
The board was also to take up several items already approved by the successor agency, including: adopting the successor agency’s administrative budget; approving the successor agency’s recognized obligations payment schedule (ROPS); contract amendments related to the construction of Fire State No. 12; and a settlement agreement with Sprint PCS Assets, LLC related to a tenant leasehold eminent domain case.
The newly appointed board comes after ballyhoo that the state’s new law would unravel former RDA obligations and contracts, putting several projects in jeopardy and causing financial losses. Under the dissolution act, the successor agency is required to liquidate assets as “expeditiously as possible” and at the “highest value,” regardless of land use.
In the last few months, legislators have drafted “clean up” legislation to resolve what they said would be disputes regarding so-called “enforceable obligations,” along with $2 billion in outstanding balances in affordable housing funds. However, no measure has received approval from the full legislature or been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown yet. Also, the state’s law was challenged in a lawsuit by a handful of local cities, led by the City of Cerritos. But so far, a superior court judge has denied the case and the lawsuit remains in appeals court.
Long Beach city management stated earlier this year that city staff would do everything in its ability to maintain contracts that the former RDA had entered into before redevelopment was officially abolished on February 1.
City Manager Pat West assured the city council in January that becoming the successor agency put the city in a “better position” to influence the disposition of RDA assets in making sure they go toward what’s best for the community. He also said he would fight to maintain enforceable obligations. At stake is $118 million owed to the city, about $41 million in repayments owed to the Port of Long Beach and other obligations.
Los Angeles and Santa Clara county officials, however, have recently expressed opposition to what they say are attempts to undermine the state’s dissolution act.
L.A. County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka noted in a February staff report that several provisions in AB 1585, a bill introduced by Senate Speaker John Perez, would cost taxing agencies and counties tens of millions of dollars. However, Los Angeles County supervisors said they would favor the use of RDA funds for affordable housing.
Knabe has told the Business Journal that he supports the proposed legislation, unlike his colleagues, and winding down redevelopment assets should be done “carefully to make sure that the benefits of the entire redevelopment process can be preserved to the greatest extent possible.”
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