BIG BEAR LAKE, CA – Given the State’s large fiscal crisis last year and the continued threat to take funds from municipalities to balance its own budget, the City has been aggressive in applying for grant monies to fund major capital projects.  This includes a $350,000 Environmental Enhancement Mitigation grant the City was awarded in April for Boulder Bay Park Phase II improvements.  To complete the improvements at Boulder Bay Park, which include a fishing dock and non-motorized boat launch ramp, the City has also applied for a $750,000 grant through the State of California Boating and Water Ways and $750,000 grant for State Transportation Assistance funds.  The City should hear the result of both of these grants by September.

The City has applied for several other grants through the State, including:

·$600,000 Article 3 grant for a sidewalk project on Big Bear Blvd., from Bartlett Rd. to Paine Rd.
·$786,000 Article 3 grant for a walkway around Lakeside, from Veterans Park to Rotary Park
·$300,000 Safe Routes to School grant for a sidewalk project on Knickerbocker from Big Bear Blvd. to Pennsylvania Ave., which includes speed feedback signs and crosswalk delineation
·$547,000 Clean Water Program grant for rehabilitation of Sewer Pump Station 2/2A
·$1,000,000 Clean Water Program grant for sewer re-line/drainage improvements on Tahoe Dr.
·$2,300,000 Clean Water Program grant for paving unmaintained roads
·$750,000 Clean Water Program grant to address Inflow and Infiltration in portions of Assessment District 2 between Temple Ln. & Edgemoor Rd.
·$590,000 Clean Water Program grant for sewer lateral replacement on Pine Knot Ave.

On April 30, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled in favor of the California Redevelopment Association (CRA), finding unconstitutional a provision in the current state budget, which would have required redevelopment agencies statewide to transfer $350 million to be used to fund State obligations.  It is expected that the State Department of Finance will appeal the court’s decision.

The suit before the court was brought by the CRA and the redevelopment agencies of the cities of Moreno Valley and Madera.  It sought to block parts of budget trailer bill AB 1389.  AB 1389 was approved in September 2008 as part of the State’s Fiscal Year 2008-09 budget package.  That package authorized a one-time take of $350 million from redevelopment agencies (RDAs) statewide.  The lawsuit against the State sought to do two things – invalidate specific sections of AB 1389, and prohibit the state from forcing county auditors to divert these redevelopment funds to the Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF).  The lawsuit argued that State raids of redevelopment funds to balance that State’s budget are constitutional, violating Article XVI, Section 16 of the California Constitution.  That article states that redevelopment funds can only be used to finance redevelopment project activities.  The Court agreed, and wrote “… the distribution of contributions by RDAs to their county ERAFs in accordance with the requirements of section 33685 can be expected to regularly result in the use of RDA’s tax increment revenues by schools and education programs unrelated to the RDA’s redevelopment projects.”

The Improvement Agency of the City of Big Bear Lake serves as the Redevelopment Agency.  Should the State raid of monies moved forward, the City was slated to lose approximately $447,550.  The City will continue to monitor any future action that may come from an appeal of the State Department of Finance.