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State audit says West Sacramento’s handling of redevelopment property was clean & legal
FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 14, 2012 —
By Steve Marschke
West Sacramento has become the first California city to be certified by the state controller with a clean bill of health for the manner in which the city “wound down” its redevelopment agency assets.
When the state abolished redevelopment agencies in a revenue-raising maneuver, cities like this one were left with property assets – some of them major – that were owned by the redevelopment agency, but suddenly in danger of being divvied up and parceled out. West Sacramento handled its redevelopment assets in various ways, putting acreage near Stone Lock under purchase option to the locally-controlled Port of Sacramento, and moving small potential “right of way” properties along roadways to the city itself.
The office of State Controller John Chiang has just announced that transfers like these were in compliance with the law. The properties transferred to the city served an obvious governmental purpose, he said.
At the same time, his office found the City of Hercules inappropriately handled $51.1 million of its assets, which must now be turned over to the local “successor agency” to the redevelopment agency in Hercules.
“We’re the first city in the state to have a completely clear audit,” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon told the News-Ledger. “The controller’s office was auditing whether the transactions that occurred as the redevelopment agency was winding down were appropriate. Some cities had problems.”
How much property did West Sacramento move out of the agency?
“In the range of $70 million, with some as large as parts of the Stone Lock District and some more like 50 square feet,” he said. “Most are not really high-value properties, like those rights-of-way. Our concern was that if we gave them up and they went to auction, somebody could pick them up for next to nothing because they had no development value. Then they could essentially hold us hostage and try to extort the taxpayers for huge sums of money because we need them (for road expansions and such).”
The audit process isn’t over, said the mayor. The state still needs to sign off that West Sacramento transferred some of its pre-existing tax obligations in a legal manner. The redevelopment agency had committed some of the local property tax increment to projects like the Bridge District and Stone Lock District, and the state needs to give approval for those commitments to continue.
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Copyright News-Ledger 2012
Storm may bring high winds Tuesday
- Have battery-operated flashlights and radios with fresh batteries ready. Listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
- If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone or answering machine), plan for alternate communication – have a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone or pager ready as a back up.
- Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling.
- Treat all downed power lines as if they are “live” or energized. Keep yourself and others away from them. Call 911, then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles.
- Customers with generator should make sure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to our crews.
- Unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Before calling PG&E about a power outage, check to see if other neighbors are affected. This would confirm if an outage has occurred in just your residence or within the neighborhood area.
- If only your residence is without power, check circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes to see if the problem is limited to the home electric system.
- After performing the steps above, single or neighborhood outages can be reported to: PG&E’s 24-Hour Emergency and Customer Service Line: 1-800-743-5002
- Once your outage has been reported, you can call PG&E’s Outage Information Line at 1-800-743-5002 to get a status report on your outage and the anticipated time your power will be turned back on.
- If you lose power overnight, you can call PG&E to request a wake-up call. We’ll be happy to give you a wake-up call, as well as up-to-date information on your outage and time of restoration.