Friday, Jul. 06, 2012
2 from city to see end of RDA
By Thaddeus Miller / email@example.com
LOS BANOS Gov. Jerry Brown last week appointed a Los Banos resident to fill the final spot on the panel to oversee dismantling of the Los Banos and Merced redevelopment agencies.
Former Los Banos Mayor Michael Amabile was named to the panel on June 28, and former planning commissioner Erasmo Viveros on June 4. The third spot has belonged to Atwater-based businessman Mike Gallo since February.
While most governor-appointed panels to dismantle RDAs in the state are already in operation, the one to oversee the dissolution of the redevelopment agency of Los Banos can only now begin meeting to manage the administrative budget and payment schedule for the agency's outstanding obligations. The first payment of the obligations of the RDA are due in early August.
"You've got a unique situation here," said H.D. Palmer, deputy director for external affairs at the California Department of Finance.
Los Banos' redevelopment agency is one of 400 eliminated across the state, because legislators passed a law last year ending the agencies on Feb. 1. Redevelopment money will make its way into public services like public safety and education.
In February, the governor appointed three members to the panel, but two resigned in March, leaving only Gallo on the panel.
The panel will be overseen by a seven-member oversight board that includes Mayor Mike Villalta and city accountant Kim Tomas, as well as appointees by the Merced County Board of Supervisors, Merced Community College District, Merced County Office of Education and other special districts.
Amabile, 57, has owned and managed España's Southwest Bar and Grill since 1978. He was mayor of Los Banos from 1994 to 2006. Amabile was a board member for the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley in 2006.
"I'm glad they finally appointed us, so we can get the job going," Amabile said, adding he "campaigned" for the apointment. Amabile said he wants to ensure Los Banos retains as much former redevelopment property as possible.
Viveros, 30, served as legislative assistant to Democratic Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani from 2009 to 2011. He served on the Los Banos Planning Commission from 2008 to 2011 and was chairman in 2011.
Viveros, a freelance campaign worker, said he wants to buffer any potential negative effects on Los Banos.
"I just want to make sure this transition ... goes as smoothly as possible," Viveros said.
Palmer said a consulting firm hired by the state will work with the seven city jurisdictions that opted not to be successors for their RDAs.