Reposted from February 24, 2011
Redevelopment, the concept is fairly simply. Allow cities and counties to identify areas within their jurisdictions that have been abandoned, ignored or left in a state of deterioration as to create what commoningly is referred to as blight. Also, create a funding mechanism, without raising taxes, to finance the revitalization of these blighted areas.
In 1945 the State of California created the California Community Redevelopment Law (CRL) allowing cities and counties to establish redevelopment agencies (RDAs) to address blight. In 1952, voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow tax increment to fund redevelopment projects and to be pledged for repayment of bonds.
So how does this work? The RDA, in Oakley and most everywhere else the City Council sits as the RDA, identifies an area that is blighted and goes through the legal process to create a redevelopment area. Once the area has been legally established property taxes are frozen at a “base” level. As the area is redeveloped property values will increase raising property taxes. The increment in property taxes from the base level is collected by the RDA. The State law allows RDAs to pledge this tax increment to repay bonds and other types of debt incurred to initiate projects.
Much like other state programs, redevelopment has morphed over the decades. Eradicating visible blight was its first goal; then came mandates on affordable housing; then required assistance to local governments (known as “pass-through” agreements); and more recently the broad goal of economic development. The term blight has expanded beyond its original intent of visual blight to now include economic blight.
Redevelopment activities create jobs and expand business opportunities, provide housing for families most in need, help reduce crime, improve infrastructure and public works, stimulating growth that might otherwise not happen. Redevelopment is the only way local governments can stimulate job growth and economic development within their communities.