Council pays state so SD can keep redevelopment agencies

City News Service

The San Diego City Council on Monday unanimously reaffirmed its decision to pay the state nearly $70 million to keep its redevelopment agencies open.

As part of the budget process, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills that phased out the agencies statewide unless they made the remittance, which San Diego Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone called a “ransom payment.’'

The payment calculated by the state Department of Finance last week is $69,255,216.

The amount accounts for about 40 percent of the tax revenue made by the city’s Redevelopment Agency, the Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Development Corp. Agency officials said they would have to delay some future projects and scrap others so they could make the payment and keep up with current obligations.

The agencies make their money when their projects increase the property tax base in their areas, and put it toward future projects. They also set aside 20 percent of the income for affordable housing.

State officials say the money is better used in city’s general funds.

Monday’s vote to authorize the payment was the second reading of action taken two weeks ago.

There is a chance the city won’t actually have to fork over the funds, because supporters of redevelopment have sued to block the state legislation.