State cuts Burbank's bill for dissolving redevelopment agency

State finance officials this week reduced Burbank's bill for dissolving its redevelopment agency by nearly half — from $42 million to $24.3 million. The change came after city officials contested the state's demands as too harsh.

"We're happy that at least Department of Finance took to heart most of our arguments," said Ruth Davidson-Guerra, assistant community development director. "To have to write a check for $24 million to the county is a lot better than $42 million."

The final bill is still far more than the $11.7 million Burbank officials argued they owed as they and cities across the state close down their redevelopment operations. Of that estimate, $7.1 million had been allocated for infrastructure projects along the North San Fernando Boulevard and Victory Boulevard corridors, and $3.7 million was allocated for a new youth community center.

But in its final determination letter sent Saturday, the state asked for an additional $12.6 million.

Roughly $10.5 million of the funds the state asked for includes a debt reimbursement from the redevelopment agency to the city, and another roughly $2 million had been set aside to fund renovations at Johnny Carson Park.

And the city should still get the $10.5-million loan reimbursement back. "It's just going take a little bit longer," Davidson-Guerra said.

The state in March had asked for an additional $9.5 million spent on reconstructing the Burbank police and fire headquarters.

But Burbank officials contended the transfers were valid under the sections of the law that exclude the return of any funds tied up in third-party contracts. After a meeting between the two parties, the state finance officials agreed with Burbank's interpretation of the law.

Burbank will have to cut the check to Los Angeles County within five business days, with the money to then be distributed to various taxing entities, including the Burbank Unified School District and the city, which means some of the funds will return.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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