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By Brian Hews
Cerritos will Meet and Confer with the California Department of Finance today in regards to the cash payment of $17.1 million owed by the Successor Agency to the Cerritos Redevelopment Agency.
City Manager Art Gallucci said the money in question was money owed the city by the Redevelopment Agency and had been allocated for an affordable senior housing project, Cuesta Villas that was to be build on ABC land on the corner of Norwalk Boulevard and 166th Street. He noted the law states any redevelopment funds, which comes from local property taxes that weren’t allocated for projects or low to moderate income housing needs to be returned to the county. “This isn’t the case here,” he stated.
But in a conversation with Los Cerritos Community News, Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said that the city transferred the money on Feb 1, the very day Redevelopment ceased. When asked if the state had a good case to demand the money, he declined to comment
He also said that in the letter from Mayor Edwards, the word “demand” was wrong. “The state does not get the money, the taxes will be distributed locally to the taxing agencies,” said Palmer.
Mayor Jim Edwards said the city’s independent auditor, Pur and McGeady, who prepared the Successor Agency’s Due Diligence Review to determine the amount of cash that was available for distribution to the affected taxing agencies, including the City, County and State, said the review concluded that no cash equivalents were available for distribution. The review was approved by the Oversight Board of the Successor Agency to the Cerritos Redevelopment Agency and submitted to the Finance Department on Oct. 15.
In speaking with Pur and McGeady on Nov 9, Ken Pur told LCCN that the report was only half done, and that they would have the remainder done for the Meet and Confer. When asked about how the report was approved Oct 15 when only half completed, he declined to comment.
“It’s the city’s position that no payment is required at this time,” Mayor Edwards said. “The loss of $17.1 million would have a direct impact on the financial resources of the City, which would require city officials to closely evaluate future operating expenses.”
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