By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Building a new police station is a top priority in Cloverdale, but whether that happens anytime soon hinges on a court battle.
“We’re waiting with bated breath on the outcome of litigation over redevelopment funds,” newly appointed Mayor Bob Cox said Monday.
Cloverdale, like other cities around the state, is hoping a state Supreme Court hearing in January will free up funding for redevelopment projects such as the new police headquarters.
Cities and redevelopment agencies are suing over the state’s re-routing of property tax revenue from the agencies to schools, claiming the overhaul by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown was unconstitutional.
Cox said that the current police station is considered seismically unsafe.
Approximately $4 million is set aside in the city’s redevelopment agency funds to build the new headquarters, along with $2.6 million in existing and anticipated development impact fees. The likely location is near the Citrus Fairgrounds.
But because of the litigation, redevelopment agencies can’t purchase property or enter into new projects for the time being.
“I’m guardedly optimistic,” Cox said of the court outcome. The ruling may not be 100 percent in favor of cities and redevelopment agencies, he said, “but I suspect the courts will find the state can’t keep those funds for themselves.”
Cox, 66, who was unanimously voted in as mayor by his colleagues last week, has been on the council since last year. A retired auto parts manager for a Ford dealership, he was appointed in 2010 to replace Councilwoman Mary Ann Brigham, who resigned with two years left on her term.
Cox said his focus is on economic development, particularly helping local businesses grow, rather than pulling in companies from out of town.
That means continuing to attract tourists and nurture new artist cooperatives, art galleries and local food producers.
Cox said “we don’t want to be a Healdsburg” with a glut of tasting rooms, but also noted that “we have a new wine tasting room and another opening up in the spring.”
Cox said he plans to run for election next year.
“I like what I’m doing. I’m enjoying it,” he said, adding that the council seems to have a lot of support. “There’s good vibes in this town.”