Life after redevelopment agencies?

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon announced Friday that he is forming a special advisory team to look at how the city might accelerate community redevelopment efforts if its redevelopment agency is dismantled by new state laws.

Governor Brown has proposed eliminating local redevelopment agencies to help balance the state’s budget. Local governments will be able to keep their agencies functioning if they pay the state some hefty costs – a price which West Sacramento leaders say the city can’t afford.

The city is hoping that an outside lawsuit will be successful in thwarting the change to redevelopment law, but the new task force seems aimed at preparing for the worst case, from the mayor’s point of view.

“We have assembled some of the brightest, most creative, and accomplished experts to help scope proven and innovative strategies that West Sacramento can use to stay on the leading edge of economic prosperity,” said Cabaldon in a press release.

He named City Councilman Chris Ledesma as chair of the mostly-private sector group. Ledesman said “failure is not an option.”

Other team members include: Meg Arnold – Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA), Grant Deary – NorCal Beverage, Jeffrey Dorso – Land Use Attorney, Pioneer Law Group, Catherine Dunwoody – Executive Director, CA Fuel Cell Partnership, Jack Ehnes – CEO, California State Teachers Retirement Systems, Mark Friedman – President, Fulcrum Property (Bridge District Developer), Lon S. Hatamiya – President and CEO of the Hatamiya Group; AgriVest Ventures, Barbara Hayes – Sacramento Area Trade and Commerce Organization (SACTO), James Morante/Clay Schmidt – PG&E, Donald Terry – Community Development, Wells Fargo Bank, Dr. J. Robert Fountain – Regional Economics Consultant, Denice Seals – CEO/President, West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, Val Toppenberg – retired Redevelopment Agency Director, City of West Sacramento, and Bob Murphy – retired City Attorney, City of West Sacramento

    The advisory team will meet over the next three to six months to study issues such as business retention and business recruitment. It will also look at strategies and mechanisms for community investment related projects that in the past have been mainly funded by tax-increment financing through the city redevelopment agency.

“We are disappointed and angry with the State’s egregious and short-sighted action to abolish redevelopment,” said Cabaldon in the press statement. “But our community expects West Sacramento to continue what we’ve started, so beginning this process now is important to being ahead of the curve and to remaining competitive.”

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