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State auditing the SCV Enterprise Zone program

Review is part of state’s effort to make changes to the program

Posted: January 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The state of California is auditing Santa Clarita’s Enterprise Zone as part of a new focus by Gov. Jerry Brown to make some changes in the way the program is put into operation in various regions.

Five people from the state are staying in Santa Clarita for the week auditing the Enterprise Zone,” said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager at the city of Santa Clarita.

The auditors began Monday morning and told officials to expect them to be in town possibly through 5 p.m. on Friday. The SCV’s program managers were only given a couple weeks advance notice that an audit would be performed, Crawford said.

The extensive audit format is new, he said. The program was last audited four or five years ago but that only lasted one-half day, Crawford said.

“It’s a lot of work to put together answers for the 50 pages of questions they submitted,” he said. “But we’re working with them to help them and supply all the answers.”

To assist, the city has four staff members available for all the interviews and responding to the auditors questions, Crawford said. The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. has also been very helpful, he said, because they partner with the city on the valley-wide program.

“We think we’ve really implemented the program the way it was intended,” Crawford said. “But any time you’re audited it’s a stressful time. “It’s a massive undertaking to go through to do a massive audit.”

Santa Clarita is the first city in the state to have its Enterprise Zone program audited, he said. It’s his understanding that the city of Pasadena’s program will be next.

Brown first proposed eliminating the Enterprise Zone program in his 2011 budget proposal, but the state legislature rejected the plan. Last week he made recommendations in his 2013 budget proposal to reform the program.

The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development is now working through the regulatory processes to focus on improving the program.

“Given all of the government reforms for the program, we’re going to do everything we can to show that we’re doing everything we can to help,” Crawford said.

At some point the state will provide Santa Clarita with its findings and any issues it identifies, he said.

At that point, the SCV Enterprise Zone program will have an opportunity to respond to the state or clear up any problems the state may identify, Crawford said.



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