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Agency Budget Gains Approval
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Riverbank adopted the final 2008-2009 budget for the Redevelopment Agency at a Monday night meeting, 4-1, but ran into problems with the City Council budget and by a 5-0 vote postponed action on that until the Sept. 22 meeting.

"With a 20 percent projected decline in revenues, I don't think we can afford this," Councilmember Dave White said, comparing adoption of the Redevelopment Agency budget to gambling and registering the sole no vote.

Councilmember Virginia Madueno, however argued everybody had spent a lot of time and energy on the redevelopment project and she expected it to bring new jobs and new businesses to the downtown.

"As a mayor I'm very pro business but as a CPA very conservative with money," said Mayor Chris Crifasi. "The figures are there but close. The one thing we've got going for us is the increased sales tax. Can we set aside revenues in the general fund to loan to the RDA?"

Based on tax increment information provided by the Stanislaus County Tax Assessor, the Agency is projecting gross tax increment revenues of $1,211,000 or a 20 percent decrease from the last fiscal year. This is due to the reassessment of home valuations by the Assessor's Office, Finance Director Marisela Hernandez informed the Agency.

The final operational budget is pegged at $10,294,965 both for projects and administration of the Agency.

The Administration fund, projected at $527,700, is funded directly by tax increments and includes costs such as salaries and benefits for agency staff, professional services like legal counsel and miscellaneous office expenses.

The Project Fund anticipates expenditures of $5,758,928 for projects such as the Del Rio Theatre renovation, downtown beautification, Plaza del Rio construction, RDA Project area expansion and the downtown specific plan preparation. The project fund is funded partially by tax increments but currently has proceeds from the bonds issued in February of 2007 for its main source of income.

Funds 225 and 227 are the debt service funds from which to repay the bonds issued in February. For the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the Agency must pay about $738,000 in interest, part with bond proceeds and part with tax increments.

The Housing Set-Aside Fund (Fund 227) is funded by 20 percent of the gross tax increment revenues, which must be set aside to fund housing projects.