MOORPARK : Redevelopment Suit Still Not Settled

The Moorpark City Council and the local school district continued negotiations Wednesday to try to settle their three-year legal battle over the city's redevelopment plan.

After almost three hours, the council and the board of the Moorpark Unified School District had not made any progress toward compromising on how to divvy up future property taxes in the downtown area that Moorpark has slated for redevelopment.

"I think greed is getting into the way on both sides here," said Councilman John Wozniak. The school district filed a lawsuit against the city in 1989 when the council proposed to redevelop its older neighbors.

Under Moorpark's redevelopment plan, the city would receive about $300 million over the next 45 years for rehabilitating a 1,217-acre older section of town. The money would come from any increases in property tax revenues in that area after 1989.

Normally, Moorpark shares its property tax revenues with Ventura County, the school district, the Ventura County Community College District and the Moorpark Mosquito Abatement District.

The other four agencies all objected that they would lose millions of dollars in future tax revenues under the proposal, and they each sued the city over the plan. The city cannot begin using any of its redevelopment funds until all the lawsuits are resolved.

Moorpark has agreed to give the schools $35.9 million in future tax revenues from the redevelopment area over the next 45 years.

But school board members Wednesday also asked for a percentage of tax revenues from the former high school site, on which school officials plan to build hundreds of homes.

In addition, school board members asked the city to use redevelopment funds for a new maintenance building for its schools.

The lawsuits against the city's redevelopment plan are scheduled to be tried in Ventura County Superior Court on Aug. 3, unless they are settled beforehand.

Once all the lawsuits are resolved, the city expects to have about $200 million in redevelopment funds left, said Deputy City Manager Richard Hare.

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