HAYWARD -- In the latest maneuvering related to the state's threatened dismantling of redevelopment agencies, the city is looking at ways to protect affiliated assets, including $11 million owed to the city and $30 million in real estate.
Because there are so many unknowns regarding what the state will do, the City Council is prepared to vote Tuesday to authorize immediate action, should it become necessary.
"This is a continually moving target," said City Manager Fran David. "It is completely unclear to anyone at this point whether this is a serious proposal, a shot across the bow, a rock in the pond to see where the ripples go or a chip to trade for something else."
Officials have been weighing options. For land holdings, the viable option is transferring the land -- which includes real estate that's being held for resale and redevelopment, such as the former Burbank School site -- to city ownership, either directly or as repayment for the city's loans.
Pinole officials moved a roster of properties from the redevelopment agency to city ownership Thursday. Hayward officials don't want to do it until it becomes necessary, because it adds complications. Redevelopment agencies have considerably more leeway in terms of how they get rid of the land. City ownership would bring with it state regulations, such as making it available for purchase by affordable housing groups before being put on the general market.
As far as the debt owed by the agency, city consultant David Mills said that "in the mind of the state, those debts don't exist."
"We need to look at what can we do to pay those things back as quickly as possible," Mills said.
One way would be to "securitize" the debt: The redevelopment agency would issue a bond that the city would buy. That would protect it more than just a loan agreement, Mills said.
The maneuvering is due to the Legislature considering huge changes to the redevelopment process, in which communities use tax increments to fund the revitalization of a blighted area. In Hayward, the redevelopment take would amount to about $3.9 million a year, which would have gone toward projects such as revitalizing Mission Boulevard, or the area around South Hayward BART.
City officials throughout the state have been frustrated and angered by the lack of information coming from Sacramento regarding what is going on, and Hayward is no exception.
"This truly is as crazy as it sounds," said Councilwoman Barbara Halliday. "The state has gone bananas here. They are causing all redevelopment agencies throughout the state to consider these proposals that are risky, or costly, and hopefully we won't have to do anything like that. But we have to do something to protect ourselves here."