Riverbank ex-ammo plant budget also on agenda

RIVERBANK -- Tonight, the City Council will consider accepting the budget for the former Army ammunition plant.

The city took possession of the World War II-era plant April 1 through a five-year lease with the Army. The city expects to eventually own the site and transform it into a regional industrial park with high-paying jobs.

The plant's military mission of producing shell, grenade and mortar casings ended March 31 when the Army officially deactivated the plant.

The City Council, sitting as the Local Redevelopment Authority, will hold a public hearing tonight on the budget before voting on whether to approve it.

The proposed budget will cover April 1 through June 30, 2011. A staff report says the city expects revenues of $3.045 million and expenses of $2.35 million. The city would put $625,000 into reserves and close the budget with a balance of nearly $70,000.

The revenue is expected to come from tenant leases, the sale of land to businesses, grants and a $903,000 payment from the Army.

Expenses include $738,000 for operations and maintenance and $240,000 for a firm to manage the plant at Claus and Claribel roads. The money to pay the firm is coming from a grant.

The Army is relocating its Riverbank operations to its Rock Island arsenal in Illinois. Military contractor NI Industries expects to have the remaining equipment and materials moved by September.

The city is getting a site with nine tenants employing 175 workers. City officials project it could have 500 to 1,000 jobs in five years and as many as 1,700 when fully developed in 10 to 15 years.

Theplant also has been on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list since 1990. The Army has spent years removing pollutants from the groundwater and base.

The plant transfer was reviewed by state and federal environmental regulators, and the Army will continue its cleanup. Tonight's meeting starts at 7.