Clovis News

State takes millions from Valley agencies

Communities across California are going to have to pay the state about $1.7 billion after a judge ruled that their redevelopment funds can be tapped to cover the state's budget deficit.

On Monday, Fresno will have to cut a $6.7 million check from its redevelopment agency funds.

"We have been planning for this possible outcome over the past year," said Marlene Murphey, executive director of Fresno's redevelopment agency. "It is detrimental to redevelopment activities in Fresno and elsewhere in the state."

The money being taken from the cities will be funneled to the state's Education Reaugmentation Fund. Schools in the redevelopment areas will share in the money that the state receives from the cities.

Fresno's redevelopment area covers 14,000 acres in downtown Fresno and other parts of the city.

Losing the money means the city's planned redevelopment projects will take longer to complete, Murphey said.

Clovis will have to pay $1.7 million to the state, money that was to be used for downtown revitalization, improvements along Clovis and Shaw avenues and job-attraction efforts.

"Projects we thought we could move forward on are just off now," said Tina Sumner, the city's redevelopment agency manager.

The money being funneled back to the state was expected to be used in local construction projects, money paid to local companies and local employees.

"Taking this funding will stall job-creation efforts in Clovis at the worst possible time," Mayor Harry Armstrong said.

"It's incredibly narrow-minded of Sacramento to reach into the pockets of local redevelopment agencies, one of the state's strongest job-creating engines, at a time when job creation and economic development are desperately needed."

Other local communities also are losing large chunks of funding. Those losing more than $1 million include:

Madera, $2.56 million; Lemoore Redevelopment Agency, $2.37 million; city of Tulare, $2.17 million; Visalia, $1.8 million; Dinuba, $1.58 million; Tulare County, $1.35 million; and Coalinga, $1.06 million.