RDAs under scrutiny by state auditors

SACRAMENTO - State Controller John Chiang announced Monday that auditors will be reviewing 18 redevelopment agencies across the state to verify how RDA funds are used and the extent to which they comply with laws governing their use.Redevelopment agencies are funded by the state and used by municipalities to spur development, clean blight and build affordable housing. City officials say RDA funds create much-needed jobs, but Gov. Jerry Brown has called for their elimination, saying the state can longer afford the program. "The heated debate over whether RDAs are the engines of local economic and job growth or are simply scams providing windfalls to political cronies at the expense of public services has largely been based on anecdotal evidence," Chiang said. "As lawmakers deliberate the Governor's proposal to close RDAs and divert those funds to local schools and public safety agencies, I believe it is important to provide factual, empirical information about how these agencies perform and what they bring to the communities they serve." Auditors selected 18 "geographically diverse" RDAs representing varying populations to investigate. The reviews will look at, among other things, how RDAs define a "blighted" area, whether they are appropriately paying for low- and moderate-income housing as required by law, whether they are accurately "passing through" payments to schools within their community, and how much RDA officials, board members and employees are being compensated for their services.

********** Published: January 27, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 41