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Santa Rosa maneuvers to protect redevelopment loans

Santa Rosa made a last-ditch effort Tuesday at getting repayment of $5 million in redevelopment loans.

The City Council, acting as the successor agency to the former redevelopment agency, re-authorized three loans with the city in the hope it will prevent them from being invalidated by the state.

In an effort to cut the state budget deficit, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature last year eliminated local redevelopment agencies and directed that most redevelopment funds be diverted to schools and other agencies that would otherwise receive the property tax revenues.

Most cities and counties are seeking ways to retain as much of the money as possible, including by redrafting loans. The Legislature, however, is considering a bill as early as today that would prevent such loans from being reforged, and the city sought to beat that deadline.

"It may be for naught, but we have to try," Elaine Bennett, an accountant in the finance department, told the council.

The deal shortens the term of two loans to require repayment by 2020 and reduces the interest rate on all three from 6 percent to 3 percent to better reflect current yields.


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