We can see the results of RDAs in the bankruptcies of Stockton, San Bernadino, and Mammoth Lakes. RDA eats up $1.5 billion/year of our cities budgets in the State of California. By reviewing the financial records of Imperial Beach shows the actual costs of RDA.
City Services vs RDA: 97% of all RDA funding is from the city itself. Taxes are collected for the general needs of the community, not to fund the private sector. Originally an RDA project took about 2% of a city's budget, now RDAs are swallowing up to 30% of city budgets.
The bigger problem is that the cities are spending even more on RDA than they are acknowledging. Imperial Beach's RDA is 32% of the budget, but I also found $4 million spent on RDA that is being funneled through 'dump accounts'. The budgets of numerous city departments have 'ABC' accounts listed with their expenditures. The ABC accounts pad the departments' budget by as much as 25%. The ABC accounts on the IB Fire Department's $2.3 million budget is $450,000 – 19% of their budget is being padded with RDA costs and legal fees.
Google 'RDA' and you'll find dozens of lawsuits pending. The Imperial Beach Financial Report for the year ending 06/30/11 stated City Attorney Fees at $244,000 – but paid out over $500,000 defending RDA lawsuits. This year the City Attorney Fees are budgeted at $200,000, but have already spent $600,000. In 2011 the City of IB also cut two checks to the RDA Association to help pay for their legal fees.
Another similarity of every city that belongs to RDA and the League of California Cities is massive payrolls for the top elected and appointed officials. Mammoth Lakes has a population of 8,000 people yet the Comptrollers' 2010 report shows their City Manager's salary is $198,533; Assistant City Manager at $186,358; and Exec Assistant to the City Manager at $71,708; and Airport Director at $151,431.
What are the salaries of elected and appointed officials in the city of Imperial Beach? That is information the City refuses to disclose. The new budget shows the City Council and Appointed City Officials shifted half of their payrolls to RDA accounts to avoid the State Wage Limits. City elected and appointed officials are giving themselves multiple titles to double dip wages.
How To Tell If Your City Is RDA? Simply look at the City Council Agenda.
“..JOINT REGULAR MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO, MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACTING AS THE SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY, MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACTING AS THE SUCCESSOR HOUSING AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY, AND MAYOR AND COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ACTING AS THE HOUSING AUTHORITY ..”
The Mayor and Council are hired to oversee the affairs of the City Employees and finances. It is a conflict of interest for council to belong to lobbyist organizations and to use tax payer dollars to fund lobbyists. 'Successor' RDA agencies are RDA on steroids. Their purpose is to shift as much money as possible from the city general fund to RDA regardless of the harm done to the city.
Our government functions on a system of checks and balances, but when city elected and appointed officials conspire together we have lost balance.
The League of California Cities lobbies every branch of city government. Their website lists departments for council, city managers, city attorneys, finance, city clerks, fire, police, & public works. The League nurtures a mentality in city officials that circumventing laws and putting their cities in debt with unnecessary construction projects and massive salaries is acceptable.
Circumventing wage laws burdening cities with massive debt from unnecessary construction projects can no longer be acceptable in our State. We must close down RDAs and remove any elected or appointed officials associated with and lobbyist organizations. Government officials are paid to work for the people, not to conspire against us.