Dear Randy: Riverview and Redevelopment

How does the nixing of redevelopment agencies relate to San Diego Christian College moving into Riverview?

You can call up , send emails all over, and reach out in many directions in looking for an answer to a local problem or help with an issue- or we can get that question right to , and he can use his resources and local government know-how to get the best answer around.

Send your questions or comments on any topic, preferably a local issue, to steven.bartholow@patch.com, or leave it as a comment below, and we'll pass it onto Mayor Voepel. He's agreed to shoot for answering one a week, so let's keep those questions coming!

Q. Hello Mayor Voepel,

I had a question regarding a recent statement you made about the . In explaining your decision you were quoted as saying: "But we lost the redevelopment district." I was wondering what you meant by that-what was the redevelopment district?

Also, I remember a few years back the plan was to go after biotechnology companies. Is the , the site that was designated for these companies? And are we still seeking them? Thanks in advance for your insight.

A. In a nut-shell, redevelopment districts allowed cities to borrow money, using bonds from property tax increases to fund projects that would generate future new property taxes.

Santee has been able to "parley" many projects and developments through the years, especially our Town Center and low income housing. Because the bonds are paid back by the new projects' tax increment, the program was self supporting and not a direct tax on anyone. Santee was able to keep 80 percent of the redevelopment tax increment all these past years. Now that the State of California did away with Redevelopment Districts, of the property tax on new projects ($1.8 million loss for Santee just this year), the rest goes to the Sacramento (State) rat hole now.

I had because it would have taken up valuable office park, biotech buildings and generated no property tax (non-profit school). I because, after we lost the Redevelopment District and the future tax increment, the benefit to Santee for having the college here out-weighed the loss in property taxes.

I can always be critiqued for following the money for our city, that is one of the reasons our beloved Santee is in better shape than most of the other Cities. Another saying I often repeat from the hills of the Missouri Ozarks that irritates my urban elite friends is: "No money no honey." Meaning that if the City is not making money and in the black, we have no more development or nice projects like our wonderful etc.

Patrick, in answer to your last question about still pursuing the biotech's and corporations for Town Center; yes we are, but in this economic climate many of the Corporations are "no money no honey" as well!

Respectfully submitted,

Randy Voepel Mayor,

City of Santee


Thank you for the reply, Mayor Voepel.

I knew about Jerry Brown , but didn't realize it particularly pertained to our Town Center. That's a shame, and I was disappointed to see the courts uphold it.

I wasn't questioning your vote to approve the Christian College. Actually I agree with it, as that complex has been a ghost town for quite awhile. I had just wondered if it was going to be in the site that was designated for the biotech companies. Thank you for answering my question on that. Obviously, we'd all like to see high-paying biotech jobs there instead of a non-tax generating school. But it looks like it's the best decision in a bad situation. It's just been bad timing in that the economy sank at that particular time that those buildings were completed. Kind of like the housing market dumping right as was set to finally move forward.

Sometimes it seems if Santee didn't have bad luck, it wouldn't have any luck (as far as our timing is concerned).

I share your vision of Santee , and am glad to see our city leaders are still pursuing biotech and other corporations for Town Center. In the meantime, we can pacify ourselves with landing and . Great additions to our town, and can't wait!

Thanks again for taking the time out to respond.



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