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EL CERRITO, CA-In a split decision, the City Council here reactivated its redevelopment agency this week following a two-year suspension sparked by controversial decisions. The council’s vote was 3-2.

The agency funds projects with a share of property taxes, and wields the city’s eminent domain powers. For years, there have been public disagreements and controversy over the types of projects selected for redevelopment funds. Another issue was the redevelopment agency’s debt for city staff time.

These factors led to the program’s suspension in 1999, even though redevelopment funds were still used for existing projects. Council members say that the redevelopment program has paid its debt to the city, and that the redevelopment agency is a necessity for building the city’s commercial potential.

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