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Redevelopment funds crucial for Turlock jobs, housing

POSTED June 17, 2011 8:48 p.m.

Dear Editor:

As Mayor of the City of Turlock I feel compelled to let my concerns be known regarding the latest state budget proposals. (Wednesday) the Legislature passed a budget that essentially eliminates redevelopment agencies in the State of California. In order to stay in existence, redevelopment agencies would be required to make large payments to other agencies, thus assuming the state’s responsibilities. In Turlock we do not have the funds to make these outrageous payments. As a result our redevelopment agency will have to shut down at a time when it is most needed. Our redevelopment funds have been committed and used to build projects locally that generate benefits and jobs for our community.

Redevelopment agencies are a unique tool that local governments can use to make their communities better by eliminating blight, improving public safety, providing affordable housing, and creating jobs.  (On Thursday) the Governor vetoed the budget saying it did not do enough to balance the budget.

Redevelopment funding has provided for revitalization of the downtown, construction of affordable housing for seniors and families, rebuilding of the Carnegie Arts Facility, construction of infrastructure in industrial areas, park improvements, a water play feature at Broadway Park, and much more. The Public Safety Facility currently under construction in the downtown is financed in part with redevelopment funds.

In addition to eliminating a valuable funding source for local projects, elimination of  redevelopment agencies will eliminate the potential for construction of affordable housing. Much needed low income and very low income housing planned for construction in Turlock in the next year will not take place without redevelopment funds.

In these difficult economic times it is unconscionable that the state take away our most powerful local tool for job creation. I ask you to call upon our Legislators, Senator Cannella and Assembly Member Berryhill, to thank them for their continued support of redevelopment. Also, please ask the Governor to leave redevelopment funding intact to benefit our city.

 

— John S. Lazar, Mayor

City of Turlock

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