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Council to Review Recycling Deficit, Extend Ashby Arts Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 18, 2010 - 04:43:00 PM

The City Council will hold a special 5 p.m. Feb. 23 workshop to discuss the city’s refuse revenue deficit. 

The shortage, which includes a drop in residential and commercial recycling and transfer station fees, is responsible for $4 million of the City of Berkeley’s $10 million budget crisis for the next fiscal year. Decreases in mental and public health funds and state money for transportation are some of the other contributing factors for the city’s budget crunch. 

The council will also vote on whether to extend the $1.4 million Housing Trust Fund allocation for the proposed Ashby Arts project at 1200 Ashby Ave. 

The project is currently stalled because of the economy. Project developers CityCentric is seeking a non-profit partner to take over the ownership of a part of the project. 

CityCentric partners Ali Kashani and Mark Rhoades have requested a one-year extension of the Housing Trust Fund allocation in order to pursue critical federal and state funding deadlines. They have been able to get an extension on their loan for the project. 

Touted as a “permanently affordable senior citizen housing project,” the 98-unit mixed-use project has been welcomed as well as criticized by neighbors. While supporters say it will get rid of a neighborhood blight, opponents feel it is exploiting the state’s density bonus law and negatively impacting neighborhood character, parking and traffic.