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Ripon council opts to dissolve redevelopment
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RIPON – With the Oct. 1 deadline looming, the Ripon City Council opted last Tuesday to create a “successor agency” to the redevelopment agency.

In doing so, elected leaders can wind down the business of the Ripon Redevelopment Agency. Included is the expansion at the Mistlin Sports Complex consisting of the recently approved $3.3 million in bond revenue for the baseball/softball fields.

Under state Assembly Bill No. 26, RDAs are scheduled to be dissolved at the end of the month. However, AB No. 27 could allow for such agencies to continue operations on a yearly basis as long as voluntary payments are made to the county auditor/controller.

Meanwhile, the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities say AB No.26 and AB No. 27 are unconstitutional. They’re challenging both bills, filing a lawsuit last month in the Supreme Court of California.

A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2012.

The Ripon City Council voted 5-0 on the “successor agency,” but with an “out” clause pending the outcome of the litigation.

“We’re withdrawing (from the RDA) with the option to change our minds,” Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt said.

By dissolving the agency, Ken Zuidervaart, Ripon’s director of planning, provided several key points at the previous session.

Included were the following:

•The City could receive about $120,000 per year – or $3.8 million total – in property tax revenue into the general fund over the life of the plan and through the end of the tax increment collection period (2043).

•Over the life of the plan (2026) and the current loan terms for low-mod loans (2056), the City could receive, at a best-case scenario, an estimated $1.2 million based on the RDA’s current assets.

•AB 26 could provide an allowance for the administrative costs of the successor agencies – or $250,000, in this case, for the City of Ripon for the 2011-12 fiscal year – and, according to the bill, the same amount could be provided to the successor agency for each fiscal year thereafter.

On the latter, Zuidervaart indicated some debate and confusion as to whether the $250,000 will be ongoing or only for one or several years.

Locally, the RDA was established in 1983. The life of the plan for the original project area goes through 2026. The added territory area takes the plan up through 2028.