By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council approved an agreement with various professionals in preparation for bond agreements that will be presented to the RDA Board for future development projects.
The City of Calexico and The Charles Company have been negotiating a $7 million dollar bond to assist with the development of the Grand Plaza Outlet Center that will be located on Second Street in Calexico. The Redevelopment Agency requested entering into agreements with Urban Features, Richards Watson & Gershon, and with Kinsell, Newcomb & De Dios to prepare bond issuance documents to be presented to the Agency Board within the next 30-60 days. Prior to the bond issuance the amount paid by the Agency for the professional services will be up to but shall not exceed $20,000. The balance of any professional fees for the bond issuance transaction will be paid out of the closing funds from the bonds.
The Grand Plaza project consists of a 487,600 square foot retail outlet center that would have brand names stores in what is to be the new downtown area next to the new port of entry that will open in 2013. Two years ago, the Redevelopment Agency approved the sales of the UFW Building and the Horacio Luna Gun club.
Councilman Bill Hodge agrees that projects like the Grand Plaza are good for Calexico but argued that RDA’s money has not been used to its maximum potential since its has been used more for developers than not use to fix blighted areas around the City and also have failed to support housing. “Our Movie Theater is owned by the Redevelopment Agency, yet we see that there is blight in the property. Before we go into the Grand Plaza or any other development project, we should look at our own facilities and use it to improve our parks and the quality of life of the City.” Hodge said and proposed to have a public forum and have input of the people.
Councilman Daniel Romero said the upcoming audit the State of California will do to the Calexico RDA will be to study those agencies that get benefits and see how they use their programs. “Calexico will come clean but those monies could not be here if Gov. Brown is successful in his proposal to eliminate all RDA.”
Mayor Pro Tem Luis Castro said that he is concern about this item and asked to table this for a later day since they need to analyze this even further.
Mayor John Moreno said that this is a good proposal presented by RDA and said that while he agrees with some of the points of Councilman Hodge, infrastructure is needed to bring back the quality of life in Calexico so it can help bring much needed jobs to the region and bring back sales tax that can fund parks and other city services in the future. “If we do nothing, we will get nothing in return.”
The council voted 3-2 for this agreement having Hodge and Castro casting the nay votes. In other items, the council made the evaluation of the City Manager and its performance as City Administrator. After an hour in closed session the Council took no action. No comments were made by the Council regarding the evaluation.