From the daily archives: Wednesday, March 16, 2011

By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors took the first steps Tuesday to start the redistricting process based on the 2010 census data.
The 2010 census data reveals that the population in the valley went up 22.6% going from 142,361 in the year 2000 to 174,528 in 2010. From all the seven cities in the Imperial Valley it was the City of Imperial who had the highest growth going from 7,560 in the year 2000 to 14,758. This is an increase of 95.2% over the last ten years for the City of Imperial. The Census numbers that were released last week show that from the 174, 528 people that live in the Imperial Valley, 140, 271 are Hispanics.
Based on this information, County Clerk Sylvia Bermudez requested the board this past Tuesday to initiate request that will initiate the establishment of a County redistricting process to provide the public with an opportunity to participate and provide input on redistricting plans to the Board of Supervisors. Every ten years counties have to start adjusting electoral district boundaries following the federal Census to account for population shifts and growth during the previous decade.
The board gave direction to the register of voters and the County Executive Officer to return to the board with the criteria, procedures and timeline for the redistricting. Also it was given direction by the board to create a redistricting advisory board to advise the BOS on the new County district boundaries. The advisory board will be composed by five members nominated by each member of the board.
County Clerk Sylvia Bermudez informed that her office, the County Executive Office, and Planning and Development will be involved in the redistricting process. County CEO Ralph Cordova said that the new district needs to be done by December of this year.
The County also approved the travel of Supervisor District 3 Mike Kelley to Yiwu, China and Assistant CEO Jerry Santillan in a trip that will take place from March 19th thru March 29th to attend seminars promoting economic growth in Imperial County.


By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council voted 3-2 this past Tuesday to enter into a consulting agreement with Urban Futures for the administration of the Redevelopment Agency and any successor entity.
The agreement with the professional consultant was made so that the agency can continue to receive professional services necessary for the administration of the redevelopment agency, such as performing obligations required pursuant to enforceable obligations; preserving assets and minimizing liabilities; providing info required for audits; taking measures to avoid triggering a default under any enforceable obligations of the agency; and any other necessary professional services requested by the Agency. The estimated yearly amount under the agreement is $100,000 per fiscal year; however that can be higher or lower depending on the amount of services that are requested by the City/Agency. The cost will be paid solely with Redevelopment Agency tax increment funds, according to a report given by City Manager Oscar Rodriquez.
City Consultant Marshall Lynn will serve as contractor’s lead staff person in-charge of contract responsibilities and will be principally responsible for day-to-day management of the contractor’s obligation under this agreement and will serve as principal liaison between City/Agency and Contractor.
Councilman Bill Hodge pulled this item from the consent agenda for discussion. Hodge said that there are many questions about the future of redevelopment need to be answered. He said that citizens needs to know about what is happening at the Redevelopment Agency and suggested to have a public forum to answers questions the public has about the recent State RDA report. He acknowledged Marshall Lynn’s expertise but said he cannot vote to approve this item.
Councilman Daniel Romero said that he had similar concerns about the estimated cost for this agreement. Romero told Hodge that the consultant will be paid on an hourly basis. He agrees to give him a one year contract. “Right now the City needs a consultant and Mr. Lynn has been here for many years. He can help us in this transition time.” Romero said.
City Manager Oscar Rodriquez said that there is a real possibility that the State might take a vote on the future of RDA and the phase out of the agency could come very soon. Rodriquez said that the intent is to protect the City and emphasize that this is not an iron clad contract.
Mayor Pro Tem Luis Castro said they will be using property tax money to cover these expenses. Castro also said that according the state audit, Calexico has the highest administrative cost in the State with 87.51%. Castro said that he would prefer and re-organization of the city.
Councilman Romero made a motion to approve this agreement with the condition that that is only for one year or less. The motion passed 3-2 having Hodge and Castro voting against it.


By Mario Conde
The Calexico Council gave approval to the City Manager to start the re-organization that could change the City structure at every level.
City Manager Oscar Rodriquez has proposed that the City re-organize into a more vertical system that will reduce City departments. Rodriquez said that by providing for fewer departments Calexico will create a structure that provides for more flexibility and practicality by allowing the department head to be more effective and efficient in operating their departments. It will also provide for the opportunity to properly cross train more employees.
“This new system will allow the City Manager the opportunity to supervise less people and provide quality leadership and guidance to the department heads, as well as the entire organization. It will provide department heads with more flexible staffing. Under the new vertical structure department heads will be given greater latitude to do their job while providing for more accountability.” City Manager Rodriquez said.
The City currently has eleven departments working right now. The new structure will reduce it to only five departments. Under this new city organization, the Public Works Department will have under its umbrella the Engineering, General Services, Utility Services , and Airport.
The Administrative Services Department will be incharge of Finance, Personel, Library, Community Center, Cultural Arts Center, and Recreation.
Finally, the Community Services Department will have Redevelopment Activities, Housing Activties, Planning Department, and Building Deparment. Police and Fire Department will keep their current functions.
Rodriquez said that this is the only the first step in establishing a new City organziation. The second step willl be to review the positions under the new department heads and evaluate if they are justified. Step three will review the re-organzied structure and make necessary adjustment to salaries if they are warranted.
Mayor John Moreno said that the ultimate goal in this re-organziaton is to save money. The Council has been pushing for this re-organization for quite sometime in order to lower spending and have a better streamline of City services.
In other news, the Council granted a 90-day extention to the Imperial Valley Assistant Living for the Calexico Armory Property in order for them to apply for more funding to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The agreement with the City will be terminated immdiatelly if they are rejected funding.

%d bloggers like this: