14 April 2005

San Jose pursues ballpark site, other neighborhoods left out in the cold?

Barry Witt of the Merc writes that on Tuesday, San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales and the City Council held a closed-door session to approve the Redevelopment Agency's pursuit of the 13.9-acre Diridon South site, which has 10 separate property owners. This has leaders in other San Jose neighborhoods worried that funds used to purchase the properties, valued at $20-40 million, will be diverted from their projects.

Where does this money come from, you ask? SJRA has a large pool of money available to them tax increment funds, loans, and other sources. Most of this is reserved for other projects, but there's always some unreserved portion remaining. The unreserved portion usually gets allocated as well, but sometimes it's left to accrue interest.

The kicker is that analysts projected a $25 million operating surplus for SJRA in its five-year plan (2004-05 to 2008-09). A proposal had that surplus go into a Priority Future Projects list, on which such projects could be acted upon in the first two years of a revised budget, but it could just as easily be used for a ballpark site, since SJRA doesn't require any major discussions or hearings to change how unreserved funds are spent.

The mayor and city council argue that SJRA's budget will be big enough to handle all consituents' concerns, but if the price tag on Diridon South escalates to near the $40 million mark, SJRA might have a tough time figuring out where the rest of the money comes from. It's not expected that any funds would be diverted or extra loans taken out to secure the site, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

The other question to ask is "Why doesn't SJRA send this money back into the general fund to offset the budget shortfall?" A good question that has a very simple answer - they don't have to.


Anonymous said...

chck this out its about the redevelopment plan around the coliseum.
I saw this at the city of Oakland website.

It's basically the plan to redevelop the area around the Coliseum. I have seen that most of these plans are currently under construction already. I read in an article about the New ballpark and Mr. Wolff was asked if he thought about just building a ballpark but he said to the reporter you have no idea what were going to build there. Looking at theses plans i could see how a new ballpark could fit in with the rest of the activity going around.

Marine Layer said...

The Coliseum redevelopment plan has substantial pieces in it, but most of those are already built. Hegenberger Gateway is just about open for business, and the Amtrak station is almost finished. The key is all of the land immediately surrounding the Coliseum/ballpark. Are developers interested in this area for retail and housing? And will the tax increment funds from this be enough to largely fund a ballpark project? I've posted on this in the past, and you can find my take on this in some of the archived posts.