Rancho Mirage Pays the Price for Redevelopment
The State of California shut down all redevelopment agencies unless cities or counties pay the state.
A lawsuit against the state is pending. But in the meantime, the city of Rancho Mirage has decided to pay the price.
It's a steep price to pay to keep redevelopment agencies. Almost 10 million dollars this year... and 2.3 million each year after that to the state.
"If they come along and change the law or add something else to the law they can raise that, we are literally at their mercy, they are holding a gun to us," said Rancho Mirage Councilman, Gordon Moller.
"The state basically is saying your redevelopment agencies are shutdown unless you agree to make a quote "voluntary" payment, well we call it extortion," said Rancho Mirage Finance Driector, Scott Morgan.
But Rancho Mirage City Council voted unanimously to keep their redevelopment agency and pay the price.
"It was the appropriate thing to do but its a painful decision, who wants to pay 9.8 million dollars," said Morgan.
"It's just a shame because that redevelopment money goes toward the betterment of the public, and that's the most important thing," said Moller.
You've seen projects funded by redevelopment dollars in Rancho Mirage.
The River in Rancho Mirage. The city acquired those 30 acres to attract a developer.
The library was built by redevelopment dollars.
And recently the affordable senior housing project, San Jacinto Villas.
Rancho mirage currently has 30 million dollars worth of projects in the works.
"We have so many projects that are out there that need to be done," said Moller.
It's dry right now but during the winter months, Frank Sinatra drive in Rancho Mirage is often closed because of flooding, the Rancho Mirage City Council plans to use redevelopment dollars to either put a bridge over Frank Sinatra drive or raise the road and put larger drains underneath.
Rancho Mirage started their redevelopment agency in 1979 to build flood control infastructure after heavy rains.
"Wiped out the Mirage Cove area and a motorist was killed on highway 111 because of the flooding, so that triggered the creation of the redevelopment agency, quite frankly, Rancho Mirage would not be the city that it is today without the redevelopment agency," said Morgan.