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City Council to Pay Redevelopment "Ransom"

The topic of this week's council meeting: dealing with less money.

What do you do when the state asks for $3.7 million in order to keep a redevelopment agency that approved just this spring? If you're the Santee City Council, you reluctantly hand it over.

Wednesday night's Santee meeting and then got focused on four main topics: What the council referred to as a "ransom" payment to keep the city's redevelopment agency intact, dealing with less , new development at Riverview and sharing costs of repairing Fanita Parkway.

The city found itself with 6.5 percent less money than it planned to have in order to help support public service projects such as the and Meals on Wheels. The council was forced to amend the 2011-12 CDBG action plan, and equally drop funds to all receiving parties. With this drop in funds, the city has 22.5 percent less CDBG money compared to last year.

Next, City Manager Keith Till explained the affect of Sacramento's recent state budget, which includes bills that "abolish redevelopment agencies throughout the state, which are only allowed to continue with a 'voluntary' ransom payment of $3.7 million," said Till.

"If we don't opt-in, it grinds the entire redevelopment agency to a halt and it won't function," he continued.

According to Till, the city can afford to pay it. Till said there is currently a court case with a good chance of reversing the bill, but he suggested the city opt-in, pending the legal challenge.

The council noted that the City of San Diego and El Cajon chose to opt-in.

The council voted unanimously to opt-in to the program and to pay the fee in order to continue the redevelopment agency.

The Council also discussed options and conceptual plans for development on the parcel of land. The company has its offices on one parcel of land, and two others sit undeveloped.

Conceptual maps were shown to the council and ideas for development include a private college, , commercial shopping and office areas, and residential housing. Expect a more detailed look at these concepts soon, and take a look at conceptual maps from the meeting in the media box.

The final topic of discussion at the meeting was of the worth of repairs to . The council agreed to splitting costs three ways between the City of Santee, and .

Once the street is fixed, it will become a public street.

According to the agenda report: "Improvements to Fanita Parkway will extend the street's lifespan approximately ten years or until the Ranch project is constructed. As part of the approved project, Fanita Parkway will be completely reconstructed with landscaped medians, curbs, gutters and sidewalks."

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