With the future of California redevelopment programs in question after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed their elimination, Controller John Chiang Monday announced state auditors will review 18 redevelopment agencies to learn how RDA funds are used and the extent to which they comply with laws governing their activities.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Chiang said the 18 agencies under review are geographically diverse and represent urban, suburban and rural communities.
The reviews will look at, among other things, how the 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 as required by law, and how much RDA officials, board members, and employees are paid.
The reviews are to be complete by early March.