The Oakdale Redevelopment Agency met for the last time on Monday to finalize an EOPS, Enforceable Obligations Payment Schedule. The EOPS is a list of all RDA debt that will need to be repaid under the guidance of the RDA’s successor agency. Also included on the list were planned RDA projects that have not yet broken ground. Interim City Manager Gregory Wellman said that each item on the list was already intended to use RDA funds.
“The intent has to be backed up by purposeful action,” Wellman said.
Purposeful action could include council resolution to spend RDA funds on the project. Purposeful action further includes bonds taken out for the project, engineering and construction designs, or contracts in place.
“We haven’t added anything new or just because,” Wellman said.
The governor has abolished redevelopment agencies and had the action upheld by the courts, forcing cities with RDAs to take action.
The Oakdale list is 31 items long, and includes tax allocation revenue bonds from as far back as 1997. The Oakdale redevelopment agency was making yearly payments on these bonds, and the successor agency will continue to make those payments on schedule using RDA’s former funding mechanisms. Oakdale City Council voted to be the successor agency for the Oakdale RDA, in part to insure repayment of debts owed to the city by the redevelopment agency. According to the enforceable obligation payment schedule, the RDA still owes the city approximately $3.7 million.
“If it comes down to it, I want to make sure that money is paid back to the city before anything else. That money was a loan and that money belongs to the city,” said RDA member and councilman Michael Brennan.
Agency members, who are all also city council members, agreed that they as a council will prioritize the spending list. First after outstanding debt will be certain projects that the council agreed to fund with RDA money. The Stearns Road upgrade project, a stoplight at the Oakdale Shopping Center, and work at the South Industrial Park were all on the top of the priority list for the successor agency. All projects on the list might need to break ground around April, and be completed this year, to keep their funding.
“If it’s not on the enforceable obligation list it’s gone. We can no longer use RDA funding for anything not on that list,” Wellman said.
Albert Avila, finance director for the City of Oakdale, said that the city is in the process of withdrawing as much RDA funding as possible to keep it local. The total expected outstanding debt or obligation for the Oakdale Redevelopment Agency is over $49 billion. The city expects to be able to cover all expenses on the list, if all costs come in at or below projection.
“Based on what we have in cash, tax increments, and bond proceeds we should have the money to cover it,” Avila said.
Redevelopment agencies in the state of California have now been fully dissolved. The original due date for enforceable obligation lists was in October, but it was extended after the California Supreme Court removed all options for cities to keep their redevelopment agencies. RDA funds can now only be used for debts listed and declared and enforceable obligations. The Oakdale City Council, acting as the RDA’s successor agency will handle paying off RDA debt. This group will have an oversight committee to be appointed at a later date.