City Council Makes Changes to the Proposed Urban Renewal Plan
In February, the Talent City Council reviewed public feedback on the city’s proposed Almeda Fire Recovery and Revitalization Plan – a plan that proposes using urban renewal financing to implement projects intended to help the Talent community recover from the Almeda Fire.
In response to the feedback, the Talent City Council decided to change the plan so that:
Taxing Districts were less financially impacted than originally proposed – Over the life of an urban renewal plan, taxing districts such as the City, County, Fire District, Library District, etc. continue to receive current levels of property tax revenues from within the urban renewal area, but any increases in property tax revenue from new build or increased values are placed in a separate account for the next 20 years and used for financing urban renewal projects. The current levels of property tax revenues is referred to as the “frozen base.” City Council decided to lessen the financial impacts of urban renewal on the affected taxing districts by postponing the freezing of the tax base for an additional year. This change would allow tax revenues the taxing districts receive from within the designated urban renewal area to grow by an estimated 25% in that additional year before the tax base gets frozen.
Any major financial changes to the Plan would be subject to voter approval – Urban Renewal Plan’s have a set amount of money that can be spent on projects, an amount dubbed “maximum indebtedness.” If an Urban Renewal Agency decides down the line that they need a higher level of maximum indebtedness to accomplish the Plan’s goals, there is a process that must be followed to adopt that change. This additional stipulation will require that, before going through that process, the Urban Renewal Agency must first seek public approval through an advisory vote.
Shady Brooks Mobile Estate would not be included in the urban renewal district – Residents of Shady Brooks Mobile Estate – one of the few manufactured home parks that was not impacted by the Almeda Fire – requested that their neighborhood not be included. They cited concerns that the Plan’s projects might cause gentrification, which could lead to the displacement of current residents at Shady Brook.
It is clear what affordable housing means and who the plan is most intended to serve – One of the main goals of the plan is to recover the affordable housing that was lost in the Almeda Fire. But what does “affordable” mean? And for whom would it be “affordable?” The City Council directed staff to add language that clarifies that affordable housing means housing that would cost no more than 30% of the income of a household that was making 80% below the median income for an area. Here in Talent, this means housing that is intended to serve seniors on fixed incomes, single-parent families, and members of our Latino communities who originally lived in the manufactured home parks that were lost. By including clearer language, Talent’s community will be better able to hold the Urban Renewal Agency accountable to accomplishing its intended impacts.
A copy of the Plan with these amended changes can be found at City Hall or on the City’s website at www.cityoftalent.org.
Amended Plan is Referred to the Voters for an Advisory Vote in May
At their March 15th Council meeting, City Council voted to refer the amended Almeda Fire Recovery and Revitalization Plan to the Talent voters.
A ballot measure will be on the May 16th Special Election, asking voters to advise the City of Talent on whether the City should move forward with implementing the Plan using urban renewal tax increment financing. If the measure passes, the Plan will be adopted by the Talent City Council. If it fails, the Council will not consider adoption.