Redevelopment Agency doesn't make move on $1.3M

COSTA MESA — In an emergency meeting Friday, the Costa Mesa Redevelopment Agency passed on a chance to inject $1.3 million into the city's general fund after the board failed to second board member Wendy Leece's motion to repay a loan to the city.

City staff told the board that lawmakers in Sacramento are working on a bill that could dissolve all of California's 425 redevelopment agencies and take the money that belongs to them with it. Costa Mesa's agency has more than $10 million, but most of that is already designated to city projects.

A chunk of that though, a little more than $1.3 million, is undesignated and could be paid back to Costa Mesa's general fund so it can be used locally instead of redistributed by the state, officials said.

Staff members said it's unclear how soon legislators in Sacramento could make a decision so they called the meeting Friday before it was too late and the money would vanish.

About half of the $1.3 million the board was considering is obligated to go Harper's Pointe Senior Apartments on Baker Street. The rest could have been used at the City Council's will if the board had chosen to repay the money to the city.

Board member Gary Monahan made a motion to receive and file city staff's recommendation to repay the loan — which would essentially do nothing with the money — and that failed in a 2-2 tie with board member Eric Bever absent.

Wendy Leece then made a motion to have the board repay the $1.3 million to the city, but it failed for lack of a second by Monahan or board members Steve Mensinger and Jim Righeimer.

Over the last few months the city has begun a dramatic restructuring to stave off future budget deficits as it faces projected high pension costs. More than 200 city employees were given notices earlier this month they could be laid off in six months if the city could find private workers to replace them.

City leaders elected earlier this year to dissolve the police helicopter program it shares with Newport Beach to close a $1.4 million hole in this year's budget.

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