By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Windsor this week reshuffled its budget to adjust for the loss of more than $2 million in redevelopment funds, avoiding layoffs and finding other ways to pay for some projects, such as a redesign of a key portion of Old Redwood Highway.
“We’re making do with less,” said Town Manager Matt Mullan.
The council had planned to spend more than $23,000 in redevelopment money during the upcoming fiscal year on those three community events, which also are subsidized by business sponsorships.
But with the state eliminating redevelopment programs, the council is using general fund money instead.
A much larger expenditure involves $465,000 for the city’s contribution to road and sidewalk improvements on Old Redwood Highway — including installation of traffic roundabouts — that are part of the proposed mixed-use, Bell Village development. The project involves an Oliver’s market and 387 apartments on the old Windsorland mobile home site.
With redevelopment funds evaporating for the road redesign, the council earmarked money from the general fund instead.
Windsor is still losing $1.5 million in projects in 2012-13 as a result of the state eliminating redevelopment agencies.
The losses include park improvements, tenant improvement loans, and the planning and design of proposed new police and library buildings.
Half of the cut is $750,000 for affordable housing development programs.
It was the second time in months that the Town Council has re-balanced its budget. In March, council members cut $3.1 million in projects out of the 2011-12 budget a result of lost redevelopment money.
For decades, redevelopment funds have been derived from property taxes and used to eliminate blight, stimulate economic development and create affordable housing.
Redevelopment programs were ended in February by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature, and the money redirected to schools, fire districts and other local taxing agencies.
In Windsor, redevelopment funds have been used for acquiring land to build Town Green Village, a new fire station, improvements to Keiser Park, design of the train station, aid to first-time homebuyers and road improvements.
Despite the loss of redevelopment funds, Administrative Services Director Jim McAdler said that “rebalancing (the budget), thank goodness, didn’t require any layoffs. We’re pretty tight staffed here as it is — very lean.”
Redevelopment money was used to pay for a portion of a variety of projects and parts of the salaries of 39 town employees. To balance its budget, the town needed to cut the equivalent of six full-time employees, McAdler said.
Windsor did so by not filling vacant positions dedicated to redevelopment, as well employees in planning and economic development, public works and engineering.
“We did it through salary savings and spending reductions,” McAdler said.
“We continue to be in pretty good shape here,” he said, referring to the town’s $5.8 million held in reserve, representing more than 40 percent of Windsor’s $14.1 million annual general fund budget.