The Alamedan: Brown proposes expanding districts sought for Point development, January 10, 2013


Governor Jerry Brown may help City Hall attain one of its key legislative objectives this year: Reclaiming the right to use property taxes to help finance the redevelopment of Alameda Point.

In a budget plan released Thursday, Brown began backtracking off his 2011 elimination of the state’s redevelopment program by offering to expand the use of existing special districts that allow cities to leverage future property taxes for military base reuse.

“This proposal will help ensure the new tools are available for key local priorities such as urban infill, transit‑oriented development, and the provision of affordable housing,” Brown’s budget proposal says, listing other items cities could use the districts for if the proposal is approved by lawmakers.

Specifically, Brown is proposing to expand the use of infrastructure financing districts, a seldom-used tool that has been in place since 1990. Under existing rules, cities and counties can put the districts in place to issue bonds – paid off with future property tax revenues – to fund highway, transit, water, sewer and flood control projects, libraries, parks and child care facilities. The districts can only be put in place after winning the assent of two-thirds of affected voters, and they cannot use taxes that would otherwise go to schools.