WatchSonoma Watch

Petaluma sues state to keep redevelopment funds


Petaluma filed suit against the state Department of Finance this week in an effort to retain millions of dollars in redevelopment funds the city had earmarked for two major road projects, including the East Washington Street-Highway 101 interchange that has been under construction for months.

The state abolished redevelopment agencies throughout the state last year and has staked a claim to the local tax receipts to supplement the state budget.

Highway 101 in Petaluma.

Former redevelopment agencies have been arguing with the state’s Department of Finance since then over which planned projects constitute “enforceable obligations.” Funding for those the state deems not under contract is taken by the state.

In Petaluma, the state has denied about $15 million in funds the city directed toward two Highway 101 interchange projects: East Washington Street and Old Redwood Highway.

It also has rejected another $7.5 million Petaluma earmarked for the Rainier Avenue crosstown connector project. A second lawsuit may be forthcoming on that issue, Councilman Mike Healy said.

The state has repeatedly rejected Petaluma’s arguments that its signed funding agreements with Caltrans and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, which administers local transportation tax money, constitute legal contracts.

In its suit, Petaluma argues that the state has used “flawed and arbitrary rationale” to review the agreements.

At the core of the dispute, the suit says, is whether the city, acting as the “successor agency” to wind down redevelopment activities, should be compelled to renege on financial commitments made by the former redevelopment agency.

No hearing date has been set. The suit was filed in Sacramento Superior Court.

3 Responses to “Petaluma sues state to keep redevelopment funds”

  1. 0 Representation says:

    It’s also common sense not to budget money that each city of Sonoma County was told not to plan on having. But it was budgeted anyway. Come on Petaluma QUIT wasting taxpayers money on frivolous lawsuits, changing roads that don’t need to be changed and NOT fixing the roads that DO! Common sense is something the Petaluma City Council lacks.

  2. The Hammer says:

    It ought to be illegal for one government agency to sue another.

  3. James Bennett says:

    So that, this ICLEI adherent city hall can hoard our money to install hardscape to contain and oppress us.

    So that they can qualify for OneBayArea grant money to install more Smart Growth hardscape to contain and oppress us.

    So that our children can repay the destruction of the American Dream.

    So, that’s why it’s difficult for me to understand why folks are at home when their town holds weekly city council. They are hearings; a chance for you to be heard.

    So, when you don’t show up, they interpret your absense as compliance.

    So, exercise your freedom of speech (while you have it), bring some accountability to what’s left of our process.