Santa Rosa plans to sue the state to recover some of the millions of dollars it lost when its redevelopment agency was dissolved.
State finance officials again have rejected bids by Sonoma County and Santa Rosa to continue with several high-profile redevelopment projects, a move that may trigger them to join the growing list of local governments suing the state. The latest rejections from the Department of Finance will likely prompt the county to proceed with its lawsuit against the state, a county attorney said.
Santa Rosa is preparing to lay off four workers in response to the dissolution of its redevelopment agency. Under a plan to be presented to the City Council Tuesday, the city’s economic development and redevelopment departments would be reorganized to eliminate five full-time positions, one of which is vacant.
The 30-year run of free parking at the Santa Rosa Plaza mall will end this summer. Officials from Simon Property Group distributed letters to merchants and city officials Thursday announcing a new controlled-parking program that will charge people up to $9 per day to park in the downtown mall’s five garages.
On a narrow stretch of Burbank Avenue in Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood, an impressive $28 million elementary school has been under construction since last spring. But plans to open the school in the fall are in jeopardy.
The state’s decision to grab local redevelopment funds will have a big impact in Santa Rosa, according to City Manager Kathleen Millison and Economic Development Director David Gouin. They say the city will lose more than 2,800 construction jobs and $84 million it had planned to invest in projects, programs and services. They want residents to contact the Legislature and urge lawmakers to postpone the Feb. 1 deadline.
Officials in Sonoma County struggled Thursday to gauge the local impact of a state Supreme Court ruling that upheld the state’s elimination of redevelopment agencies. Uncertainty remained about the ruling’s implications, especially to redevelopment projects already under way.
The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce wants $300,000 from the cash-strapped City of Santa Rosa to fund its new economic development initiative. The chamber this year launched a county-wide jobs push called BEST, Building Economic Success Together. The group estimated that with $3.25 million it could create 4,000 new jobs by helping local businesses expand and attracting new businesses to the area.