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City makes plans for redevelopment Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Mar 12 2011 12:00 PM

In a special joint meeting Tuesday, the Chula Vista City Council and the city's redevelopment agency approved $172 million in public improvement funding for pending city projects.

The money will continue funding public infrastructure projects including the Chula Vista bayfront ($136 million), Third Avenue streetscape plan ($4 million) and Main Street ($32 million).

The projects eliminate blight, have no other reasonable means of financing and are consistent with the city's five-year implementation plan.

Development Services Director Gary Halbert said securing the funds now is a precaution against California Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment funds across the state.

Draft legislation released to the public Feb. 24 proposed to eliminate $1.7 billion in redevelopment funds and has agencies scrambling to secure money for infrastructure projects before July 1.

"This is probably one of the most difficult times in our city's history to have a redevelopment tool taken away from us," Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said.

Cox said she has no doubt that Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies will go through legislation but hopes some funds may be restored in the future.

The City Council and Redevelopment Corporation also agreed to set aside $15 million in future tax increment dollars for the next five years for affordable housing, securing a total of $24 million, with a balance of $9.2 million.

City staff presented 13 properties for City Council to consider that are close to transit for acquisition and rehabilitation and moderate income area projects.

Councilwoman Patricia Aguilar opposed the properties staff proposed for future redevelopment projects because of location concerns. "It's being limited to a dozen sites in one area of the city," she said. "It worries me when we talk about revitalization on the west side."

"If the legislation passed and the council did not take the action that staff proposed, future tax increments would be used to pay off the agency from the city's general fund and actions would cease on these projects," Halbert said.

Last November, California voters passed Prop. 22, which protects local services and stops the state's raids on city funds.

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