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City Manager's Message - June 2019

Dear Neighbors,

Judging by the temperature of my steering wheel, Summer has finally arrived in the Coachella Valley. I wonder how long I will recall that we had a lovely, temperate Spring?

Our activity level at City Hall changes during the Summer -- from the frenetic pace of Festival Season, followed by City Budget season. Activity changes, but things stay plenty busy! After the City Council approves our new Fiscal Year 2019/20 Budget on June 19, our staff will begin with the very big job of implementing what can only be described as another “BOLD!” City Council Work Plan. The City Council adopted this philosophy for how they want our community to respond to the many opportunities presented to us in today's economy. They directed that we be "BOLD!" in seeking out ways to enhance our community - investment, development, neighborhood enhancement, employment, housing, youth opportunity, etc.

While the traffic on City streets slows down in June, our workload picks up. It is the best time, for instance, to implement the roughly $8 million in street repair or rehabilitation projects that the Council allocated funding for once again this year. City staff and construction contractors will be very visible on our streets performing a variety of street work – crack sealing, slurry sealing, asphalt overlay and, in some cases, reconstruction of the streets.

While road repairs have been the #1 request of residents in recent years, the Work Plan includes much more than that. Following is a summary of the projects included in the Work Plan for our just adopted City budget. I can assure you that this is a very sizable commitment by a City of our size and relatively modest resources. It is BOLD! And please keep in mind that 90% of what we do every day is not even included on this list – things like Police Patrol, Emergency Medical response, landscape maintenance, project planning and permitting, code enforcement, crime investigation, firefighting, building inspection, senior and teen center operations, etc.

2019/20 City of Indio Work Plan

  • Complete ALL the FY19/20 components of the CIP. (This includes $40 million in projects under one bullet point!)
  • Open up Avenue 44 with temporary repairs
  • Complete adoption of the General Plan
  • Adopt the Zoning Code Update following General Plan adoption
  • Adopt the Downtown Specific Plan
  • Establish a Special Events regulatory office and develop a Downtown activation/special events plan
  • Establish a formal Development Review Committee process
  • Help get COD construction underway (including lease of lay down space or parking)
  • Take possession of the White’s Steel site and perform demolition
  • Move forward on a development MOU for the Grand Marketplace (former Indio Fashion Mall)
  • Complete review and adoption of Citywide Fees & Charges
  • Complete and implement the Development Impact Fee study
  • Complete a 10-year General Fund Financial Model to assist as a long-term financial planning tool
  • Complete an update of the Indio Water Authority rate study
  • Complete the Municipal Power service delivery options evaluation
  • Work with Riverside County Transportation Commission to move forward the Temporary Train Platform project
  • Move substantially down the path in implementing internal IT projects to improve financial management, public safety communications, and land/permit management
  • Move substantially down the path toward construction of a new Police Dispatch Center
  • Adopt the Public Safety “Campus” Plan (Jackson Street Police and Fire Station upgrades)
  • Acquire a new Fire Ladder Truck (shared in cost with other agencies)
  • Move substantially down the path toward implementing ERICA public safety communications upgrades
  • Complete the grant applications for SB 68, Tiger Grant and other funding opportunities
  • Complete an internal Classification & Compensation study
  • Work with Desert Recreation District on the following:
    • Support for the Pawley Pool project
    • Review of funding alternatives
    • Consideration of a Gymnastics Center on the old Ralph’s site
  • Evaluation of contracting Park maintenance functions
  • Implement new Community Development Block Grant projects
  • Initiate an Arts & Culture Master Plan
  • Initiate a Citywide Fiber Master Plan
  • Initiate the Street Light/Telecommunications Master Plan
  • Consider a new Sign Code/Property Management Code and enforcement plan
  • Evaluate upgrades to the Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Relations program associated with Short Term Rentals
  • Review Tamale Festival Contract
  • Consider moving the BBQ Festival to the Indio Towne Center
  • Fill 15 new positions – 5 Sworn Police, 2 Civilian Police, a Chief Building Official, 2 Public Works Maintenance staff, 2 Water Authority staff, 2 Administrative staff, Marketing Manager
  • Bring forward an evaluation of our LLD’s and recommendations to improve the quality of landscaping (if possible)
  • Bring forward an evaluation of the City’s Risk Fund position with recommendations as appropriate
  • Continue to process private development applications, including:
    • Indio Grand Marketplace
    • The Palms Shopping Center
      • Hampton Inn
      • Maya Cinemas
      • New Gym/Fitness Tenant
    • Golden Corral
    • Dutch Bros. Coffee
    • Courthouse Grill
    • Showcase Shopping Center
      • Buzz Box
      • Chipotle
      • Others?
    • Indio Towne Center/Red Mountain Group:
      • Burlington
      • Marshall’s
      • Ulta
      • Others
    • New Apartment Projects in the John Nobles Neighborhood
    • Ring Power Corp. Industrial Offices
    • College of the Desert Expansion
    • JFK Hospital Expansion
    • Acadia Behavioral Health Facility
    • Several Gas Station/Convenience Store Projects
    • Numerous Single-Family Residential Subdivision Projects


I would be happy to address any specific questions about any of the above. I thank the Mayor & City Council and the City staff for putting in weeks of work on this year’s Budget. We hope we are meeting community expectations and hopes, and always appreciate your feedback. The more we hear from our public, the better we can gauge your hopes and measure our performance.

July 1 is the start of a New Year for us at City Hall! In that spirit, let me say thank you to our public for all the support we have received this last year.

Sincerely,

Mark Scott
City Manager
mscott@indio.org

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