One of the reasons the cities of San Bernardino, Stockton and Mammoth Lake have gone bankrupt is that the state took away redevelopment agencies. Those cities, among others, were using redevelopment agency income as a borrowing fund to help pay municipal expenses. When the state grabbed redevelopment money, those cities suddenly found themselves without the ability to deficit finance.
Fortunately, that did not happen in Madera, where the redevelopment agency was operated by the book. Income from redevelopment activities was used according to the law and accurately reported to the state (although there was some question whether the state ever read the reports).
The closure of the Madera Redevelopment Agency also has been accomplished according to state rules. The RDA now is an arm of city government, basically a caretaker of the residual activities such as finishing projects that were under way when the Legislature stepped in and mandated new rules.
On the other hand, Stockton and San Bernardino are in big trouble. The state may go after them to pay back money they have misused. Mammoth Lakes’ problem was over the way it dipped into the redevelopment bucket. The city lost a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against it over alleged misuse of RDA funds.
When the state did away with redevelopment agencies, it created a lot of unnecessary heartburn for cities that did redevelopment the right way.
Because of what our RDA did the right way, the city is still able to help people with low-cost housing and still can finish some projects that were under way to improve city neighborhoods.
Madera also has a substantial inventory of properties available for housing as a result of RDA activities that otherwise would have been blights on the city.