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Little Noticed Resolution

Last week, Alameda City Council passed a resolution “Opposing Fiscally Irresponsible State Budget Decisions That Would Divert Local Government, Redevelopment, and Transportation Funds”

There is legislation afoot in Sacramento that would take money from California local governments and transfer it to the State so they can balance the budget, and ultimately pay it back with interest, some day. City Council and the City Manager are of course trying desperately to keep Sacramento’s hands off of “our” money.

But consider the redevelopment funds for a moment. This is property tax money that is generated in Alameda. For the fiscal year 2006-2007, Alameda’s Community Improvement Commission realized over $15 million in revenue, just over $12 million of that coming from property taxes, and the rest coming from interest and other sources. Now consider the graph from the City of Alameda’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Review for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007.

You can see that the tax increment revenue (red bar) exceeds debt service payments (blue bar) by $7 to $8 million dollars. Redevelopment revenue far exceeds the debt service on redevelopment bonds.

During the debate over Measure H – the $120 school parcel tax – the City asserted that none of the redevelopment money could be used to help fund the schools, and that the limited redevelopment money that is passed-through to schools could not be used for the general operating expenses of the school district. (It’s earmarked for the District Housing Fund and the District Capital Outlay Fund.) And we heard AUSD telling us how Sacramento continues to fall behind in school funding at the state level.

So, here we have a proposal to tap local redevelopment funds to help balance the state budget and ensure the schools stay fully funded. But City Council opposes that. What’s wrong with this picture?



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