Community Magazine

Sierra Madre Oversight Board Begins Winding Down Redevelopment Affairs

By Wonder

Sierra Madre Oversight Board begins winding down redevelopment affairsTaking its first step toward winding down local redevelopment assets and obligations, the Oversight Board for Sierra Madre’s former Community Redevelopment Agency held its first meeting Thursday, May 31.

The seven-member board will oversee how Sierra Madre’s Successor Agency distributes the assets left over from its dissolved CRA.

California abolished its redevelopment agencies for cities and counties effective Feb. 1 amid the state’s budget problems. The City of Sierra Madre took over the responsibilities of its dissolved CRA at its Jan. 10 council meeting.

The Oversight Board’s responsibility is to review and adopt Recognized Obligation Payment Schedules prepared by the Successor Agency. This process of reviewing the ROPS is at the heart of dissolving the former redevelopment agency so to satisfy all debts and obligations associated with the former CRA.

The ROPS determine the source, nature and amount of payments for all former obligations of the dissolved redevelopment agency. Such obligations may include bonds, contracts and administration costs of the Successor Agency.

Among the few items of action for the Oversight Board’s first gathering on Thursday was to approve the Successor Agency’s ROPS for two six-month periods: Feb. 1 through Jun. 30, and Jul. 1 through Dec. 12.

Sierra Madre City Attorney Terri Highsmith said at the meeting that the board’s role in approving debt obligations and other funding costs of the Successor Agency is characteristic of the Oversight Board’s makeup.

“Whatever assets are left are to be distributed to the various taxing entities,” said Highsmith, and “most everyone that is sitting on this board represents one of those taxing entities.”

Because the Oversight Board exists to supervise the actions of the Successor Agency, various members were appointed by public agencies, such as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the mayor of Sierra Madre, the county superintendent of education, and others, according to Highsmith.

Sierra Madre resident Heather Allen asked the board members during public comment how the current members were chosen to the Oversight Board.

Highsmith replied that state legislation sets forth who gets to nominate the seven different members and that the selections must be made in public.

“The nomination of each of the members to this oversight board have been done in accordance to the Brown Act,” said Highsmith. “The appointments that the city made were done at a City Council meeting … and that’s the way it would have been done in every other jurisdiction.”

The committee members consist of former Mayors John Buchanan and Bart Doyle, former police chief Marilyn Diaz, David Jaynes, Finance Director Karin Schnaider, Tom Love and Richard Van Pelt.

Although Doyle and Jaynes were not present for the Oversight Board’s first meeting on Thursday, a quorum of the board existed to appoint Diaz as chairperson and Love as vice chairperson.

In other matters, the board recommended that it place an item on the agenda for next time to discuss the transfer of property belonging to the former redevelopment agency.

The board will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jun. 25 at City Hall.

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