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CA Supreme Court to Rule On Redevelopment Agencies

A peace may be reached in the ongoing battle of redevelopment agencies between the state and localities in Thursday's ruling.

The California Supreme Court plans to issue a ruling Thursday on the legality of two new laws regarding , a decision that will  have major ramifications for Santee.

The court is considering whether the laws, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, are invalidated by Proposition 22, which bars the state from seizing local tax money. Redevelopment agencies are funded by the increase in tax revenue created by projects in their areas.

One law forces redevelopment agencies to close, while the other allows local officials to keep them open if they make payments to the state.

Supporters of the laws, including Gov. Jerry Brown, say the money is better used to fund schools and other municipal functions during the current tight budgetary times. They cite a state analysts report that shows the cost of redevelopment growing without any tangible economic benefit to the state.

The city of Santee and many other local jurisdictions chose to to keep their agencies open, but doing so reduces their ability to fund future projects.

City Manager Keith Till called the $3.7 million payment in order to keep a redevelopment agency a " 'voluntary' " at a City Council meeting in July. But, one that allowed $41 million in projects approved just this spring, including , to go forward.

Santee officials have pointed to and local affordable housing projects as examples of the success of redevelopment.

At a in the summer, Till said Santee has been vigorously and creatively fighting the state's threatened clawback, working with SANDAG to enter into binding agreements for redevelopment projects.

If the Supreme Court overturns the laws, more money would be available for future projects.

-City News Service with additions by Steven Bartholow

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