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COPYRIGHT. HEWS MEDIA GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Republishing Prohibited Without Proper Attribution. 2013.
By Randy Economy and Brian Hews
(Sacramento) California Controller John Chiang told Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper in a statement on Monday that Cerritos city officials must comply with a ruling that demands that more than $170,000,000 in municipal assets be transferred to state coffers as a result of the elimination of redevelopment agencies in the state more than two years ago.
HMG-CN requested that Chiang respond to a statement that was issued by Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows and other top city officials last week that blasted state officials over the final ruling.
In the ruling Chiang told the newspaper through spokesman Jacob Roper that “more than two years ago, at a time when severe budget shortfalls forced difficult choices between competing programs, lawmakers (with sign-off from the Supreme Court) put schools, public safety, healthcare and other local services ahead of redevelopment.”
The Controller’s office also stated: “Moving away from a long-time dependence on redevelopment and now sharing those funds has been a difficult transition for many cities. While we appreciate their frustration, the Legislature and the courts have made it clear that redevelopment assets must be used to pay off the RDA debts and support other community services.”
“Once the assets have been returned to the locally-appointed oversight board, existing law does provide Cerritos with an opportunity to work with the local board to address its concerns — that some of the assets serve a governmental purpose and should be retained by the City,” the statement continued.
“As always, my office will continue to work closely with impacted cities, including Cerritos, to ensure that they understand their responsibilities and successfully comply with new state laws,” Chiang sternly warned.
In response to the ruling, Barrows blasted Chiang in a tersely worded prepared statement saying: “The City paid the Redevelopment Agency consideration for the transfers and the transfers were legal and permissible under state law at the time they were made.”
Barrows also said, “The State Controller’s Office went beyond its authority to demand that the assets that were transferred for consideration be returned to the Successor Agency for disposition.”
The Cerritos Mayor who has been a vocal critic of the State’s decision to dissolve redevelopment agencies concluded by saying: “The state has arbitrarily decided the money doesn’t belong to the City and has rolled back years of redevelopment.”
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