From the daily archives: Thursday, June 30, 2011

By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors started budget discussions to create a balance budget for the fiscal year 2011-2012.
In a report given by County CEO Ralph Cordova, he said that the proposed budget for the County of Imperial has been difficult to say the least since the State has yet to pass a budget of their own. Cordova said that they are presenting a budget that recommends a lot of adjustments what will bring a balanced budget.
Cordova acknowledged the hard work not only by CEO staff but also the department heads and their fiscal staff.
The overall County proposed budget assumes anticipated general fund revenues of $199,767,423 with an estimated fund balanced carry over from FY 2010-2011 of $10,000,000 for a total of $209,767,423. Proposed general fund expenditures are anticipated to be $216,025, 967. In order to balance, Cordova proposes asked the board to consider and approve the recommendation they are proposing.
The proposed adjustments and savings they are proposing is to hold all merit salaries for 2011-2012 starting July 1st that will have savings for $726,626. Other recommendations include are to not filling budgeted vacancies and will have a savings of $2,423,107. Cordova said that if the positions are needed, they will see it on a case by case basis. The County will also see the reduction of office expenses, special departments expenses, specialized services, and out of County travel by 10%.
The eight recommendations made by executive office would save the County $6, 258,544 for next fiscal year. The proposed budget reflects 2, 127 positions allocations with 70 vacant positions and 234.5 vacant unfunded positions.
“It is important to realize that by accepting our recommendations the proposed budget is balanced, the State of California has yet to adopt a budget and thus the impacts are unknown, but it will very likely require additional budget adjustments.” Cordova said.
The budget hearing will start on August 2nd and the final budget could be approved by August 17.


By Luke Phillips
Presiding over her final Holtville City Council meeting Monday, out-going city manager Laura Fischer introduced her replacement, who will be starting next week, as well as the city’s new finance manager who will be replacing Rosa Ramirez.
Alex Meyerhoff, of Palm Desert, will be taking up the city manager post and Holtville Native Nick Wells will be the new finance manager.
Meyerhoff has extensive experience in community planning and economic development and most recently worked as an Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Real Estate Development at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif.
Before that, Meyerhoff worked as a Director of Planning and Development Services at Escalante Architects in Palm Springs, the Principal of Meyerhoff Development, the Director of Community Development Director for the City of Twentynine Palms, a Principal Planner for the City of Palm Springs, an Associate Planner for the city of Coachella, a Planner for the City of Indio, a Planning Associate at Applied Management & Planning Group in Los Angeles and an intern for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Myerhoff graduated from Palm Springs High School before attending College of the Desert and then the University of California, Los Angeles.
According to his profile on the Web site,  Myerhoff is “highly skilled at developing environmentally sustainable solutions for complex development projects through both project design and mitigation strategies,” and his specialties include redevelopment, urban policy planning, environmental planning, sustainable development, government affairs, land use planning, entitlement and building permit processing, economic development and redevelopment, public finance, urban planning, urban design and infrastructure development.
The city’s new finance manager, Nick Wells, was born and raised in Holtville before moving to attend the University of California in Fresno. Wells says he worked as a controller for various firms for the past 25 years before moving back to the Imperial Valley five years ago to take a job with an El Centro planning firm, but he says this will be his first foray into public government.
Meyerhoff will take over as city manager this coming Tuesday, July 5, and Wells will take up his post the following week on July 11. Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva has been appointed interim city manager until Meyerhoff takes over.
Holtville city treasurer Pete Mellinger welcomed the new city employees, joking that it was good to see some males joining the almost exclusively female city staff.
“It’s good to see the men are taking back the building,” he said. “I was the only man left.”


By Luke Phillips
Laura Fischer attended her final Holtville city council meeting as City Manager Monday after announcing her resignation nearly three months ago. The short meeting Monday was filled with kind words for Fischer from many city officials.
“We just want to thank you for your years of service and all your hard work,” said Mayor David Bradshaw.
Fischer thanked the city staff for hosting a party in her honor which took place over the weekend.
“I really appreciate the staff putting that on for me,” she said. “It was a lot of fun and it was also really enlightening. I found out I was a task-master,” Fischer joked.
Fischer went on to say that she enjoyed her five years on the job and felt blessed to work in Holtville.
“I just want to thank all of you,” she said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working here. I’m blessed and honored to have worked for the City of Holtville.”
City Attorney Steve Walker, who has been on the job for the past 18 years, says that Fischer is the finest city manager he’s ever worked with.
“I can’t say enough good things about her,” Walker said. “She makes us all better. I’m sure we can expect good things from Laura Fischer in the future.”
City Engineer Jack Holt echoed Walker’s sentiments, saying “Wherever she goes and whatever she does she’ll be successful.”
District 5 Supervisor Ray Castillo also stopped by to wish Fischer good luck and praised her job performance.
“I just came to wish Laura the best,” he said. “Holtville certainly looks a lot better than it did five years ago when she started,”
At the end of the meeting Fischer once again thanked everyone for their kind words.
“I found out a few things about myself,” she said. “It’s been fun.”

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