Council rejects governor's proposal to ax redevelopment agency

The Huntington Beach City Council voted unanimously Monday to send a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown opposing his proposal to eliminate the redevelopment agency.

Mayor Joe Carchio said Huntington Beach would take a big hit if the agency is eliminated.

"It would just devastate us," he said Tuesday.

Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies statewide is part of sweeping cuts to balance the state's nearly $20-billion budget deficit.

But Huntington Beach is among many cities that credit growth and projects to the money that comes from redevelopment, Carchio said. With new housing projects comes affordable housing units, he said. The city also credits the agency for the ongoing improvements at the Bella Terra shopping center, the proposed Costco and the recently completed Strand project, Carchio said. And that's not counting the jobs the agency creates, he said.

"Jerry Brown — he's trying to fix the budget, but look at what affordable housing did for him in Oakland," Carchio said. "Oakland would never be where it is today. We need this to be able to clean up the blight and continue to have jobs."

The council also prioritized five city projects for which it seeks state and federal grants. They are the water infrastructure improvement projects, the Beach/Edinger Corridor improvements, the Murdy Fire Station improvements, the Talbert Lake Diversion and the Bartlett Park improvements, according to a city staff report.

With the way things are going at the state and federal level, being able to obtain grants for one or two projects would be a good thing, Carchio said.

In other city business, the council voted to consolidate the Finance Board and Investment Advisory Board into one, making it the Finance and Investment Board.

The council also amended its code to give the city manager the authority to hire and fire all department heads, except for the police chief, which would need the council's approval.

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