The city of San Diego isn’t immune to the growing list of government entities and industries looking for a bailout, and it received one of sorts last week when the Centre City Development Corp. agreed to assume bond payments for Petco Park for five years.
The CCDC serves as the city’s official redevelopment agency and oversees downtown redevelopment projects.
The ballpark payments will last only five years, and total $56.6 million. About $153 million is outstanding on the bond balance from the $169 million issued in 2002, and refinanced in 2007.
Along with paying an $11.3 million debt service on ballpark bonds, CCDC approved repaying funds loaned more than 30 years ago to kick-start redevelopment of San Diego’s downtown core area.
According to a CCDC report, the agency will forward $173 million to the city coffers in an eight-year span.
The other funds, some $116 million, derive from funds the city loaned to CCDC from 1977 to 1984 from general fund and other sources so that the agency could acquire parcels and construct public improvements such as streets and utility lines.
Councilwoman Donna Frye, who has been pushing CCDC to repay the city loan since 2004, says she was glad to hear the city has finally set up a repayment schedule on the debt.
“We’re finally putting some internal controls into this,” Frye said.
Frank Alessi, CCDC chief financial officer, said in a report that the city received about $20 million in reduced revenue than anticipated for the 2008 fiscal year, and expects further reductions for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
“As a result of changing economic conditions, the city cannot continue to support the payment for ballpark bonds debt service without reducing essential public services funded by the general fund, such as police and fire services, environmental services, parks and libraries,” according to a CCDC report prepared by Alessi.
Last year, Mayor Jerry Sanders proposed cutting the city’s budget by closing down certain neighborhood library branches, swimming pools and other city recreation centers.
, Mike Allen