Budget Spiral: Stealing From Peter To Pay Paul
The City of Emeryville is robbing the piggy bank again, and it's the 'Low to Moderate Income' housing fund that's taking the hit this time. After years of lavish gifts in the form of massive multi-million dollar subsidies to wealthy developers all over town, it appears our budget is in dire straights now.
The Redevelopment Agency is required to make a payment to a state mandated school fund called the Supplemental Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (SERAF). Proposition 98, passed by California voters in 2008 mandates the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency meet its SERAF obligation of $11,291,592 in Fiscal Year 2009-10. The first payment is due on May 10.
Since the Redevelopment Agency has no unencumbered funds left to make the first required payment, Helen Bean, Emeryville's Directer of Economic Development and Housing has recommended taking the money from the housing fund.
In a May 4th dated memo to the city council, Ms Bean acknowledged "The appropriation of $11.3 million from the Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund will significantly deplete the ability of the Redevelopment Agency to pursue and fund affordable housing projects".
Three impending housing projects are now endangered according to the memo:
- The Avalon project, called by city officials a "family friendly" housing development at the Golden Gate Key site on San Pablo.
- 3900 Adeline, a controversial condo proposal the council recently approved for Madison Park Corporation that involved the demolition of an "architecturally significant" and "historically significant" brick building.
- The recently completed Oak Walk project at San Pablo Avenue and 40th Street, slated to be converted to low and moderate housing after the developer, BayRock Development pulled the plug on their initial condo development agreement with the city. After the market tanked, BayRock convinced the city to pony up $3 million for the conversion from market rate housing to low and moderate. This developer stated the project would become "blight" if the city didn't pay $3 million for the conversion.
The city council will decide this issue on Tuesday May 4th at 7:15 PM at City Hall.