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City Council Approves CCDC/SEDC Merger, Creates ‘Civic San Diego’

The San Diego City Council today approved a proposed merger between two quasi-independent agencies that had been in the redevelopment business until the state shut down the practice.

The combined Centre City Development Corp. and its cousin, the Southeastern Development Corp., will become known as "Civic San Diego'' on a 7-1 vote. Councilwoman Marti Emerald dissented.

Redevelopment agencies throughout California were ordered to dissolve under legislation signed into law last year and later upheld by the state Supreme Court. By closing redevelopment agencies, their funding becomes available for other public projects.

The agencies were funded by the increases in tax revenue created by projects in their areas. Proponents of the legislation, including Gov. Jerry Brown, said it frees up more than $1 billion for education and public safety.

The new "Civic San Diego'' organization will wind down current redevelopment activities, help with land-use permitting and planning, manage downtown parking meter income, and support economic development, according to city documents.

Civic San Diego's budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is set for $5.9 million and primarily will be funded through permit application fees, parking meter revenues, and administrative and project management fees.

Emerald voted against the measure since it only concerns downtown and some areas of southeastern San Diego, not the city as a whole.

David Graham, a senior policy adviser in the office of Mayor Jerry Sanders, said the proposal was narrowly tailored to conform with state wishes.

While redevelopment agencies were eliminated, some ongoing activities were allowed to be completed, and the state Department of Finance recently approved a list of such projects and a budget for San Diego, Graham said.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer said the Civic San Diego plan allows the city to preserve the expertise of employees who have been working on some of the projects for years.

"What we're talking about here today ... is how do we make sure that as we have those projects that are on the list, that those are managed effectively and delivered to the citizens who are waiting,'' Faulconer said.

Faulconer and the council members who voted in favor backed Emerald's call for a more citywide effort in the future.

The plan was supported unanimously by the boards of both the CCDC and SEDC.

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