21 Aug 2014
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City Left Holding the Bag on Key Redevelopment Projects

Santa Monica will spend $22.7 million less next year on capital improvements and is forced to delay work on a number of projects as it grapples with the death of its Redevelopment Agency.

City Left Holding the Bag on Key Redevelopment Projects

A handful of significant capital projects are on the city's budget backburner as it scrapes together money to pay for improvements once funded by the Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, Santa Monica will spend more than $118 million on capital projects, but that’s a $22.7 million decrease compared to this year's spending.

Substantial amounts of money are being earmarked for projects that were supposed to be funded by redevelopment, including the new Pico library, , , and traffic signal synchronization.

To pay for the projects, the city is dipping into some of its reserves to the tune of $12.5 million. City staffers said the maneuver is a one-time occurrence that will not affect Santa Monica's bond AAA rating.

The Redevelopment Agency was dissolved Feb. 1 as a result of a state Supreme Court ruling, leaving the city to absorb most of its costs. 

An entity separate from city, the agency used its own revenue to invest in projects mainly in blighted parts of cities. Any projects that weren't already underway by the time the agency got the ax, will now go unfunded or will be paid for out of the city's General Fund.

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In the past five years, the redevelopment agency funded $96.3 million in capital projects, which typically include buying or rehabilitating land, buildings or other major infrastructure at more than $50,000.

Facing a $4.6 million deficit in the next two years—primarily because of the costs associated with the death of redevelopment—this year, the city can only afford 53 of 99 projects that were in the planning pipeline.

What’s not going to happen? To name a few: a re-design of Main Street parking lot No. 9, an expansion of City Hall and infrastructure studies related to plans for the .

Other projects that will move forward? The installation of eight new elevators in downtown parking structures 2, 4 and 5 (scheduled for completion in 2015); new markings for crosswalks and bike lanes; a new fire station (scheduled for completion in 2016); and structural improvements o the Santa Monica Pier (scheduled for completion in 2014).

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