What makes an effective city government? Here in Indio, we believe in providing transparency and a swift response to the needs of our residents. Last month’s newsletter focused on economic advancements. This month, we shift to discuss the many ways our city is working to improve the quality of life for its residents.
The City Council has been busy holding public hearings to engage our residents on district-based elections. Based on feedback from our residents and several draft map recommendations from our demographer, the City Council approved the “violet” map on a 4-1 vote (Councilmember Lupe Ramos Watson abstained). An ordinance will be introduced in the next few months and if passed, will go into effect in November of 2018 when three of the five new districts will vote to elect new city council members, and the remaining two districts will do the same in 2020. We appreciate everyone who attended the hearings and letting your voice be heard on this very important matter. You may view the approved district election map at Indio.org.
In response to the concerns raised by Indio pet owners and animal welfare organizations in our community this past year, on August 2, 2017, the City Council voted to adopt an ordinance to prohibit “backyard breeding.” This is a practice that contributes to pet overpopulation and stray animals, and often prioritizes profits over animal welfare. This ordinance will also protect residents from other negative impacts of backyard breeding, namely noise and cleanliness concerns. We hope this will make the city more enjoyable and safe for all.
On a lighter note, the City of Festivals will be welcoming newcomer Desert Oasis, which will feature reggae, Latin, hip hop, and ska music. The two-day festival will kick off on Saturday, October 7th at the Empire Polo Club. Over twenty bands will play three stages, including event headliners Rebelution and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley. New events not only provide fun for citizens, but spurs economic growth. Go to DesertOasisMusicFestival.com to get your tickets.
Speaking of economic growth, the city also welcomes two new businesses in downtown Indio on Miles Avenue. Casa de Silvia offers award-winning authentic Mexican cuisine, and Paletas Puro Michoacán offers great tasting Michoacán ice cream that promises Indio residents another option to beat the heat. The City Council also unanimously approved a resolution to begin development of a new orthopedic surgery and joint replacement medical facility in the Northgate Crossing project area on Jefferson Street and Indio Boulevard. The facility will provide high quality knee and hip replacement services to address the needs of our growing senior population in Indio and the eastern Coachella Valley.
We also celebrated the new John J. Benoit Detention Center’s Topping Out Ceremony this month, which marks a major milestone towards the project’s completion. The Jefferson Street interchange will also officially open on August 17th. I am also proud to announce our city won the Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge for the third consecutive year. Thank you to all who gave blood to save lives!
While the city proceeds with its search for a new city manager, the City Council has decided to appoint Mark Scott on an interim basis on a 4-1 vote (Councilmember Troy Strange voted no). Mr. Scott has worked as the City Manager for a number of cities, including the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Burbank, and most recently the City of San Bernardino. He officially starts on Monday, August 14th.
The city will continue to work for its residents, encouraging innovation and events that spur economic growth, and listening to the voices of its citizens. When we all work together, everyone wins.
Rob Rockwell - Acting City Manager