City of Chula Vista v. StephenshawAnnotate this Case
This dispute arose out of 2011 legislation that dissolved California’s redevelopment agencies and created a process for winding down their affairs. The Department of Finance (Department) determined that certain reimbursement agreements between the City of Chula Vista (City) and its former redevelopment agency (Agency) were not “enforceable obligations” under the redevelopment dissolution laws. Thus, despite having approved payment under the agreements on prior “recognized obligation payment schedules” (ROPS), the Department denied payment authorization on the fiscal year 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 ROPS. The City and the Chula Vista Redevelopment Successor Agency (together, plaintiffs) filed this action seeking to compel the Department to recognize the reimbursement agreements as enforceable obligations and approve the use of property tax revenues for such items on all current and future ROPS. The trial court denied the petition and entered judgment in favor of the Department. On appeal, plaintiffs argued the Department erred in rejecting the items as enforceable obligations under Health and Safety Code section 34171(d)(2). Alternatively, plaintiffs contended the Department should have been estopped from denying the items based on its prior approvals. The Court of Appeal concluded some of the disputed items were enforceable obligations, and reversed the trial court's judgment in part.