Figuring out the bond freeze
December 28, 2008 § 10 Comments
I am still waiting for local media to cover the effects of the bond freeze, and have been contemplating summarizing the projects that I know of, that have been halted. Tim Brick, of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, just made it a little easier for me: ASF sent out a press release calling out the State and the impact they will be having on their projects. Thank you Tim, for standing up and making yourself heard!
An excerpt from Tim’s announcement, of projects halted:
The Arroyo Seco Watershed Coordination Program — $35,000 — Two staff people have been told to stop work on the grant program, as requested by the California Department of Conservation. This program began in July and had quarterly billing, so there has only been one invoice (July-September), and the grant managers have not yet processed the invoice for payment. In other words, ASF has not been paid for five and a half months of work on the grant, amounting to about $35,000 in staffing costs and expenses.
The Central Arroyo Stream Restoration Program — $251,000 — All work on this program was completed in September and the final invoice for $251,371 was submitted. The grant manager and the administrator in Sacramento both praised the program accomplishments and approved the invoice for payment, but that invoice did not reach the State Controller’s Office by December 17th, so it will not be honored.
(Note – my understanding – which is third-hand – is that the State changed their tune and gave agencies til 12/23 to turn in final invoices.)
As mentioned in my earlier post, pretty much all bond-related projects that are funded and managed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Rivers & Mountains Conservancy, Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority, State Coastal Conservancy and Wetlands Recovery Project have been halted – even existing contracts – in the arenas of stormwater treatment, wetlands acquisitions and restoration. (to say nothing of housing, road projects, and stuff outside of Creekfreak’s purview). This means a lot of people are suddenly without work.
Locally, here’s a short list of projects impacted (expanding on the two mentioned by Tim above):
- Ballona wetlands restoration.
- Malibu wetlands restoration
- Cerritos wetlands acquisition
- Ballona Creek projects – Greenway access projects, planning, stormwater quality improvement projects, research
- Compton Creek restoration feasibility study
- Watts stormdrain daylighting study
- South Gate habitat enhancement project along the LA River/bike path
- Projects for the Whittier Narrows
- Stone Creek restoration at UCLA
- watershed coordination & water conservation projects
If your project has been impacted, feel free to add a comment. I think it would be good for the Creekfreak-reading public to see the breadth of work in the region has been halted.
Meanwhile up in Sac, the Bee covered the halt, as it relates to Bay-Delta projects. Most chilling (if you happen to live behind this levee) is the halting of a levee repair project.
Now here’s where I have go off the edge into speculation. I would be thrilled for a newspaper to cover the story – and set the record straight. Does the problem go away when we pass a state budget? Or is our state credit rating so down in the dumps that we need to take other action to be able to sell bonds again? And what is this statement below by our State Treasurer, especially the part highlighted in red?
“Normally, the money the PMIA lends to infrastructure projects gets replenished when the State sells bonds. Unfortunately, the credit crunch and State budget woes have combined to close the bond market to California. Lockyer has determined the State will not be able to sell bonds until the Legislature and Governor forge a budget solution. With the State unable to sell bonds, continued lending for infrastructure projects would substantially reduce the resources available to the PMIA to keep the State afloat.
The PMIB’s action will, through June 2009: stop new infrastructure loans; bar increases to existing loans; and generally prohibit agencies from spending any more funds under existing loans. Staff estimates the actions would make available to the PMIA $3.8 billion to pay for services supported by the general fund.
As a practical matter, the development shuts down infrastructure funding from the PMIA until a budget solution is enacted and the State can sell bonds again. ” -Tom Lockyer, State Treasurer, statement published in California Progress Report, Failure to Resolve Budget Crisis Harms Economic Recovery Efforts – California Progress Report.
This sounds like a great opportunity to take that 6 month sabbatical I’ve been hankering for. But seriously, this is totally confusing. someone (LA Times?) really needs to clarify this. Please. Because June 2009 is a very, very long work furlough.
Tagged: Arroyo Seco Foundation, bond freeze, California Progress Report, California state budget, environmental projects, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, State Coastal Conservancy, Tim Brick, Tom Lockyer, Wetlands Recovery Project