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Cerritos fiscal picture described as ‘good’ despite RDA’s end

Cerritos Mayor, City Manager look to new fiscal year

Cerritos Mayor Jim Edwards and City Manager Art Galucci look ahead to the new fiscal year without redevelopment agency revenue. Jerry Bernstein Photo and Article

By Jerry Bernstein

Mayor Jim Edwards and City Manager Art Gallucci described Cerritos as a city with a healthy environment and strong business community. Speaking at the State of the City luncheon sponsored by the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce held at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, the Mayor said during the past year Cerritos had received $457 in sales tax revenue per capita, ranking Cerritos number 18 of all the cities in Cal-ifornia
He said local businesses and the Cerritos Auto Square have contributed to the city’s strength. He cited the reopening of the remodeled Chevron station on the corner of Artesia Boulevard and Bloomfield Avenue as an example of the city’s commercial growth along with the construction of a new 18,000 sq. ft office building on the corner of Carmenita Road and Alondra Boulevard, The Mayor said new restaurants that have opened in the city, include “Stacks” on Gridley Road, “The Lucky Dog” at the Cerritos Center and Buffalo Wild Wings on 183rd Street in the “Best Center.
Turning to the city’s environment he said the city recently trimmed 129 trees. This includes 49 new replacement trees thanks to a grant fund from Los Angeles County. Edwards also noted that Cerritos has again been named Tree City, a title it has held consecutively since 1998. Concerning the city’s infrastructure he said the city council recently approved a contract in the amount of $189,120 for residential street improvements.
Turning to sales tax revenue, “he said Cerritos ranked Number 55 in sales tax revenue out of 530 cities in California in 2011 with a total of $22 million collected. This has really helped our city, he said.
City Manager Art Galluci took note of the killing of the Redevelopment Agencies [RDA] in California by the state legislature and Governor Brown. He said 400 cities in the state, of which 71 are located in Los Angeles County, saw their redevelopment agencies pulled out from under them with the income formerly derived from the agencies now going to Sacramento to balance the state budget. This means the end of local redevelopment as we have known it and most important the jobs they provided. He said with the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agencies the city lost an annual $30 million in tax increment (income). There will be fewer redevelopment projects in the future which mean fewer jobs.
The city manager cited RDA projects built include the city’s sheriff station, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, high school gymnasiums built at Whitney and Cerritos High Schools and Grant Stadium at Gahr High School, the Senior Center, Liberty Park improvements, including its community center, the swimming complex at Cerritos Park East, plus housing for senior citizens. Gallucci said they were just a small illustration what the Redevelopment Agency provided. He asked what would Cerritos be today without these RDA projects?
Galluci also noted the development of the Cerritos Auto Square, Cerritos Center, and Cerritos Towne Center would not have happened without the participation of the Cerritos Redevelopment Agency. Many of our residents don’t realize this, “he stated. For example the city owns the land the Town Center sits on and receives rent. The buildings are owned by a private corporation.
Turning to retail sales, he said overall sales increased $320 million in the fiscal year 2011-12. Auto Square sales also increased, averaging 900 cars a week. Cerritos receives once cent for every retail dollar collected in the city. He said it is obvious Cerritos has become a regional center for retail sales, adding “We are projecting this year will be the best year ever in retail sales at Cerritos Center.” He noted on Black Friday some 81,000 people moved through the mall. The city has a population of 50, 000,” he added.