As Glendale officials prepare to send in their fourth round of funding requests as part of the wind-down of local redevelopment, this time they’re asking for $700,000 to reimburse the city for some of roughly $66 million in loans the city has made since Glendale first started its redevelopment activities decades ago.
City officials requested money to refund the loans when they last asked for their allowance from the California Department of Finance, but they were denied because they hadn’t jumped through certain hoops.
Before reimbursing the loans — some of which the state Department of Finance at one point wasn’t going to honor — officials in Sacramento must review multiple audits of the city’s finances for their stamp of approval.
“We didn’t have that magic ticket,” Elena Bolboian, senior administrative analyst, said at a City Hall meeting this week.
However, by the time the fourth round of funding — which covers July through December — comes into effect, the city expects to get that “magic ticket” and the money to reduce at least some of the outstanding balance over time.
When Glendale first created its redevelopment agency, the city put in millions of dollars to kick-start public improvements, which would later be covered by incrementally higher property tax benefits. Several loans had been refunded with up to $6 million annual payments until state lawmakers ended redevelopment last year to help close a yawning state budget deficit.
Since then, Glendale has been getting money to pay off obligations — such as employee benefits, consultant fees and project costs, including subsidies to the Alex Theatre — in six-month increments.
City officials, though, have complained that they have to beg for money that had historically been theirs and often get less than expected. They also have had to use cash on hand to close the gaps.
Although the city may soon be getting some reprieve when it comes to the inter-agency loan, City Manager Scott Ochoa said it’s not enough.
“We’re getting cents on the dollar for what was owed to this community from the investment that was made early on,” he said.
If the latest funding request is approved as is, the city could get $19 million, including the $700,000 loan payment and $12 million to cover debt service on 2010 bonds that had been frozen by redevelopment’s end.
Also, the city may finally be able to use $17 million that came from those bonds to begin Central Avenue street improvements, Central Library enhancements and other infrastructure projects.