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Redevelopment Agency Struggles For Funds
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Recession has struck heavily at Riverbank's plans for redevelopment. The city has almost completed underground utilities installation, streetscape improvements and the Plaza Del Rio construction on Third Street in the downtown, but renovation of the former Del Rio Theater at Third and Atchison streets and redevelopment of the cannery site is at a standstill for lack of funds.

The reasons are indicated in the Riverbank Redevelopment Agency's staff summary of the 2010-2011 final operating budget that came before the RDA board on Monday night, Sept. 13.

Agency funds for redevelopment are supposed to come from climbing reassessments and tax increments on the redevelopment area. But assessments in this economic climate have been falling, not rising.

The Agency's projected gross tax increment revenue for 2010-2011 shows a 7 percent decrease from the prior fiscal year, Riverbank City Manager Rich Holmer informed the board.

The RDA's Administration Fund (Fund 224) is projected to be $78,000 representing a 66 percent decrease from 2009-2010 primarily due to the state's deferment of AB 1290 pass-through payments to the local taxing agencies. (Fund 224, designed to finance salaries for Agency staff, professional services such as legal counsel and administrative fees charged by the county auditor, is currently being funded by reserves.)

The Project Fund (Fund 225), also currently being funded by reserves, will not be allocating any funds for projects or programs this year, except for $5,000 to complete the downtown specific plan for the cannery.

Anticipated revenues for 2010-2011 are $103,389 with $98,389 being set aside for "possible" payment of a second SERAF payment due to the State. These expenditures reflect a 96 percent decrease in spending from the prior fiscal year.

Funds 226 and 227 are debt service funds to pay off bonds and other debts. For the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the Agency has the responsibility of paying $1,023,038 in principal and interest on the 2007 bonds. The agency has paid off $100,000 toward the $500,000 loan made by Stanislaus County for the downtown beatification project but has requested a multi-year deferment on repayment for the rest.

"The Agency will need to use all the current reserves that have been set aside and any new gross tax increment for our debt service payments," Holmer wrote in his memo.

The final fund, the Housing Set Aside Fund, comes from allocating 20 percent of gross tax revenues for affordable housing projects.

"While the Agency will not be initiating any new projects this fiscal year, it can take pride in its partnership with the newly opened and fully occupied 64-unit affordable Riverbank Family Apartments development," Holmer added.