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Healdsburg continues to spar with state over $27 million for redevelopment

Healdsburg is pressing ahead in its attempt to salvage more than $27 million in redevelopment projects, despite being rejected by the state the first time around.

Healdsburg is pursuing a different approach than most cities, arguing that a judge previously upheld the validity of its projects and that they are "enforceable obligations."

So far, the state Department of Finance has rebuffed the city.

"We are frustrated with the state. Every time we turn something in, they turn it down," Mayor Gary Plass said Thursday. "They don't even take time to review it."

At stake are several dozen planned projects. They include street and infrastructure upgrades, $6 million to help pay for a recycled water irrigation system; $6 million to extend utilities south of the city; and $2.4 million to improve the Healdsburg Avenue five-way intersection.

Another big ticket item is the city's $6 million purchase of the old Foss Creek School for use as community center.

Also in play are another $3 million in projects that the city recently completed. The state potentially could ask Healdsburg to reimburse the money, according to Finance Director Heather Ippoliti.

They include work that was done on the Railroad Depot; Badger electrical substation; Recreation Park improvements; the Healdsburg Avenue Bridge; and a neighborhood revitalization program.

For decades, redevelopment agencies relied on property tax revenues to help stimulate economic development and create affordable housing.

But they were dissolved this year by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature in an effort to help the state budget.

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