Residents attending Thursday’s meeting of the Oversight Board to the Successor Agency formed after the dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency left feeling somewhat frustrated.
The answers they were seeking weren’t forthcoming at the meeting, not because the board was withholding information, but because the board is so new and so many things are yet to be worked out.
Last year in an effort to shore up California’s budget crisis, the state mandated that all cities must dissolve their redevelopment agencies and relinquish funds to the state.
With projects still underway, some cities formed state-approved Successor Agencies to wind down the work. The City Council members serve as the members of the Successor Agency, but a state-mandated Oversight Board was also created to guide the work, much like a corporation’s Board of Directors.
City Manager Paul Arevalo is the only member of the Oversight Board that most residents recognize. The other six members were appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the LA County Superintendent of Education and the Community College District, as dictated by state law.
Roderick Burnley who previously worked for the West Hollywood Community Development Commission, as the city’s redevelopment agency was officially called, served as chair of the meeting.
The biggest issue facing the Board at Thursday’s meeting was the matter of money. With the dissolution of the redevelopment agency, its assets as well as its debts and financial obligations transferred to the Successor Agency. The state’s Department of Finance will have final say over how much of those financial obligations the agency must assume.
“The power of this Board pales in comparison to the state Department of Finance,” said Arevalo.
In the meantime, the Board approved a Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS) for the period January 1 to June 30, 2013. The agency will make $1,863,188 in ROPS payments during that six-month period.
The total outstanding debt and financial obligations the agency will have as of January 1 is $151 million. Sometime in early 2013, the state will announce its ruling on how much of that money is owed.
“The amount of money owed is a significant amount for a small community,” Arevalo acknowledged.
Many other questions, especially regarding the Plummer Park renovations, were left unanswered. The board apologized for not being able to give more precise answers, explaining the entire process is still being worked out, still awaiting rulings from the state.
On September 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Plummer Park Community Center, the city will hold a public workshop explaining more about what the redevelopment agency did and what the Successor Agency and its Oversight Board now are responsible for doing.