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By Roz Rogoff

RDA Oversight Board

Uploaded: Feb 13, 2012

I spent another fun night reading the new code for ABX1 26, which is the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies. This is now part of California Health and Safety Code 34179-34188. I don't know why it is part of Health and Safety Code, but that's where Redevelopment Agencies were established.

The new law requires the Successor Agency to the RDA, which is the City of San Ramon, to report to an Oversight Board composed of representatives from other tax-hungry agencies in Contra Costa County. According to the Staff Report for this Tuesday's City Council meeting, "Staff is currently working to get the Oversight Board established."

Since members of the Oversight Board are appointed by different agencies of the County, I'm not sure how our staff is establishing it, but they may be putting a fire under the agencies that are responsible for the appointments. The Oversight Board must be formed by May 1, 2012 or the Governor can start appointing members after May 15th.

Health and Safety Code 34179 describes how members are selected:
(1) One member appointed by the county board of supervisors.
(2) One member appointed by the Mayor for the city that formed the redevelopment agency.
(3) One member appointed by the largest special district, by property tax share, with territory in the territorial jurisdiction of the former redevelopment agency.
(4) One member appointed to represent schools.
(5) One member appointed to represent community college districts in the county.
(6) One member of the public appointed by the county board of supervisors.
(7) One member representing the employees of the former redevelopment agency appointed by the mayor.

So let's look at the breakdown of who might be on the Oversight Board.

The Supervisors appoint two members, #1 appears to be another Supervisor. Since our new Supervisor is Gayle Uilkema, it will probably be her, but it could be our old Supervisor, Mary Piepho.

#2 is appointed by the Mayor to represent the City and could be the Mayor himself or someone on the City Council.

#3 is the most ambiguous, since it could be at least one of two Special Districts. At first I thought it would be the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, so I phoned Roxanne Lindsay since she is on the Board of Directors. Roxanne thought East Bay Regional Parks District receives a higher percent of property taxes than the Fire District. I emailed Beverly Lane, who is a Director of EBParks. So I should know which it is later this week.

#4 is appointed by the County Superintendent of Schools or by the County School Board, depending on which one is elected. I don't follow the County schools closely, but I think the Superintendent is appointed. So the County School Board might appoint one of their members.

#5 is appointed by the Community College District. Tomi Vander Brooke is President of the Contra Costa Community College Governing Board and was Supervisor Mary Piepho's Chief of Staff. She is now a candidate for District 2 Supervisor (ours). That doesn't mean she will be appointed to our Oversight Board, but she certainly has a stake in how it turns out.

#6 The Sups get another appointment of a "member of the public." I don't know who that would be. Maybe we could recruit Abram Wilson for it.

#7 The mayor gets to appoint an "employee of the RDA." As far as I know the RDA has or had only two employees, Marc Fontes and Joe Tanner. I suspect the appointment will go to Fontes.

Fontes is on [Tuesday's Council Agenda http://www.sanramon.ca.gov/councilagenda/yr2012/cc02-14-12.htm to report on the RDA Debt. The [Staff Report http://pool14.ci.san-ramon.ca.us/weblink8/0/doc/423969/Page1.aspx indicates that the tax increment income from RDA properties is almost 60% higher than the debt service on the bonds, and even though the City is the Successor Agency, only the RDA tax increment is contractually obligated to pay off RDA debts.

One other obligation of the RDA is the DDA (Disposition and Development Agreement) with Michael LeBlanc. The DDA transfers the Mudd's property, which is owned by the RDA, to Michael LeBlanc for development. Mr. LeBlanc has until February 28, 2012 to submit "evidence of financing" to the Successor Agency.

Then the Agency has 30 days from receipt to approve or disapprove of Mr. LeBlanc's "evidence of equity capital and mortgage financing necessary for development of the Leased Parcel." If Mr. LeBlanc does not meet the financial requirements, either by missing the February 28th date or the City rejects his plan, the Oversight Board would decide the disposition of Mudd's.

Dave Hudson has claimed the City would have to sell the property to the highest bidder, and the Mudd's building could be replaced not by an upscale restaurant but an office building. This seems unlikely to me, and the code doesn't require the property be sold. The original Resolution to purchase Mudd's states it was purchased to expand Crow Canyon Gardens, which is a City Park.

The Staff report proposed using it as an educational facility to accompany the Gardens.

"Redevelopment bond proceeds are available for the acquisition of the property. A detailed analysis and cost estimate has not been completed for any potential improvements and reuse of the property for a nature center, classrooms, or educational/recreational activities. $215,000 of Agency bond funding is recommended for repairs/modifications needed for the property buildings. Funding of the classroom and office (CIP 550) is available from the Child Care Mitigation Fund."

Section 34181 of the Health and Safety Code stipulates:

"The oversight board shall direct the successor agency to do all of the following:
(a) Dispose of all assets and properties of the former redevelopment agency that were funded by tax increment revenues of the dissolved redevelopment agency; provided, however, that the oversight board may instead direct the successor agency to transfer ownership of those assets that were constructed and used for a governmental purpose, such as roads, school buildings, parks, and fire stations, to the appropriate public jurisdiction pursuant to any existing agreements relating to the construction or use of such an asset."

Now Mudd's was not constructed and used as a park, but it was purchased to expand a park and to be used for educational purposes.

"WHEREAS in implementation of the Redevelopment Plan for the Project Area the Agency desires to acquire the Site to expand the Crow Canyon Community Garden and its redevelopment would assist in the accomplishment of the goals and objectives of the Redevelopment Plan."

So the Oversight Board could transfer ownership to "the appropriate public jurisdiction pursuant to any existing agreements relating to the construction or use of such an asset," which could be East Bay Regional Parks District, the School District, or even to the City of San Ramon.

So Mudd's could be maintained as originally proposed in the Resolutions and Staff Reports as an extension of Crow Canyon Garden with the originally budgeted $215,000 for repairs going to the appropriate public agency.