Kings Beach three-lane project threatened by proposed redevelopment cuts
Tahoe Daily Tribune
KINGS BEACH, Calif. – The project designed to resize Highway 28 through Kings Beach into three lanes with roundabouts could come to a screeching halt by way of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget cut proposal to abolish redevelopment agencies.
Jim LoBue, deputy director of Placer County’s redevelopment agency, said if redevelopment agencies were to go away, as Brown has proposed, it would mean a $7 million shortfall for the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project, forcing project coordinators to look elsewhere for funding.
“Based on the analysis I have read, if you take what is in this version of the bill, it would wipe out 15 years of work and dozens of projects,” LoBue said, referring to a recently released trailer bill by the California Department of Finance.
Additionally, LoBue said the loss of RDAs could mean properties currently owned by Placer County’s redevelopment agency would be put up for auction, and funding for businesses associations such as the North Tahoe Business Association and the Tahoe City Downtown Association would be lost.
“It’s hard for me to gauge the eventual outcome, but I know there is a lot of politics at play in Sacramento, and so how it ends up in the end is up in the air,” LoBue said.
Dave Wilderotter, former TCDA president and current owner of Tahoe Dave’s Skis and Boards, said his initial impressions of the bill language indicate funding for business association staff and operations would be in jeopardy – the county making annual contracts for each – but the bigger loss for the North Shore would be a halt of needed redevelopment projects such as the North Tahoe Fire Protection District’s old fire station in downtown.
“The fire district has no responsibility to take it down,” Wilderotter said. “If there’s no RDA funding, then that piece of property goes into limbo based on the good graces of the county.”
Another concern, he said, is if current RDA property tax revenues are redistributed to Placer County, as the bill indicates it might be politically challenging to have it be spent in Tahoe as opposed to the county’s larger cities such as Auburn.
“There’s no law that says it has to come back to us,” Wilderotter said.
Wilderotter said he sympathizes with Brown’s desire to balance California’s $25.5 billion budget deficit, but thinks a less-severe solution needs to be investigated.
“It’s really easy for a politician to look at RDA funding and say ‘here’s a pot of money,’ but it’s difficult for them to see potential for future investments,” Wilderotter said. “And that’s what RDAs are, an investment for the community.”
The Domus Development Affordable Housing project in Kings Beach, to create 77 affordable housing units in five locations, would not be affected, LoBue said, since the project already has received or been allotted all its funding.
In the meantime, LoBue said the county will continue business as usual until a bill is finalized and the state assembly and senate put it to a vote.
TCDA Executive Director Justin Broglio said the association will await direction from the county when a bill is finalized.
“Placer County RDA has been a fantastic partner of ours, and we would not be able to do what we’ve been able to do for the town without their support,” Broglio said.
Cheri Sprenger, the NTBA’s executive director, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
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