From the daily archives: Thursday, October 18, 2012

By Chris Furguson


• The Brawley City Council, at their meeting on Tuesday, October 16, welcomed newly hired firefighter Julio Rivera to the city’s ranks.

Brawley Interim Fire Chief Chuck Peraza introduced Rivera to the council, in front of Rivera’s parents and other family members.  Also on hand were members of the Brawley Public Safety Committee to congratulate the new firefighter.

Rivera, who was working with the department as a “call-paid” firefighter, recently passed his testing and was hired to fill a hole in staffing.

Rivera thanked his family and Chief Peraza “for the opportunity to work for the city.”


• The Brawley council extended a state of emergency declaration for an additional 30 days.  The item, which was on the regular agenda portion of meeting, was approved unanimously by the three presiding members of the council with no discussion.

After the Earthquake swarm a few in late August, the council declared a state of emergency and must review the declaration and renew if the need for such a declaration is warranted.

Mayor George Nava and council members Miguel Miranda and Don Campbell approved the extension.  Council members Ryan Kelley and Sam Couchman were not present.


• The Brawley City Council heard an update on the city’s credit card payment program at their meeting on Tuesday.

Finance Director Ruby Walla said that the program was becoming popular with residents but was extremely useful for commercial accounts with large bills to pay.  This has also led to unexpected costs that the city is incurring, especially when large accounts are paying their bills with a single card.

Walla also mentioned the possibility of future payments through the city’s website.  Walla said she had been contacted by a company that specializes in helping counties with bill payments.

The council gave Walla direction to continue pursuing these possibilities.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council took more steps into implementing a hotline for residents of City this past Tuesday.

Councilman Bill Hodge proposed to have a “hotline” for residents in order for them to express their concerns and give their tips. Hodge argued that this would be a great way to have a better communication with their constituents.

Last Tuesday, City Manager Oscar Rodriquez brought up and option to implement this ideas and asked for direction by the Council. The Citizen Request Management System is an option that is available to us for obtaining comments and concerns from the general public Citizen Request Management CRM Module manages customer communication regarding inquiries requests for information and requests for service complaints questions and compliments.

This public communication tool would allow the City to increase transparency improve responsiveness and manage expectations keeping residents informed and involved. The CRM Module is designed to incorporate with the City existing website look and feel creating a seamless connection to the Public User Accounts can establish a profile and log into the system allowing them to track history of their requests.

Implementation of the Citizen Request Management System has a one time cost of $4,000

The implementation includes 4 days of Project Management Training and system configuration

support. Hosting of the software is an annual fee of $6,000 Annual Software Hosting

includes enterprise unlimited software license unlimited technical support software maintenance/upgrades. The implementation of the system and the annual maintenance fee would be distributed to all city departments. This system would be installed on every computer in the city the city website and have a mobile connect application.


Councilman John Moreno asked if this system could take other languages other than English. Rodriquez said that they will check on that but most likely they will be able to provide that option.


Councilman Hodge was very pleased with this idea and asked the Council to move it forward. Council gave direction to the City Manager to proceed with the investigation of this devise and for its possible implementation.


By Chris Furguson


The Brawley City Council heard a special update at their Tuesday, October 16 meeting concerning the aftermath of recent fires in the downtown area and the possible demolition options the city has.

The fires occurred on September 14, when the Superior Furniture building burned, and the more recent October 4 fire at the Top Hat Cocktail Bar.

Demolition of the Superior Furniture building was scheduled for Wednesday, with a portion of North Plaza to be closed while work goes on.  If work is not finished on that day, the road will need to be closed for an additional day.

When the clean up is complete, including the portion of the building that covered the sidewalk, the city will be allowed to open up the right lane for parking and additional flow of traffic.  The lane had been closed due to potential risks with the pillars falling onto the street.

The lane had been closed to traffic shortly after the fire occurred.  The closing has had an impact on businesses on Main Street who have not had the parking they are used to.  “It’s not perfect, but we hope it will provide some relief” said City Manager Rosanna Moore.

Mayor George Nava said that he was glad progress was being made.

The council also heard an update on the October 4 Top Hat fire, which closed portions of G street and 8th Streets.

The street closures are due to the possibility of the building, already visibly leaning before the fire, possibly collapsing onto the street.

Area businesses have also been dramatically affected.  According to Moore, the owner of El Sol Market, which sits on the corner of 8th and Main streets, estimates that he has lost as much as a 25% loss of business due to the street closures.  Moore also said that the owner is trying to be patient with the city.

Moore also clarified that the city is in a bind due to the owners of the property being labeled as “deceased.”  Normally, the city would notify the owners and have them clean up any damage but that process has been complicated.

Since property taxes have not been collected since 2006, Imperial County has begun a process to sell the parcel by February 2013.  According to City Attorney Dennis Morita, Brawley’s costs in any demolition and fencing would achieve “super priority” status and that any money collected would first go to the city.

Mayor Nava added that “it would be next to impossible to collect on any liens” the demolition would warrant.

Moore also said that the Imperial County Environmental Health group has raised concerns about the building and may be able to offer options that the city may otherwise not have.

The council gave Moore direction to pursue avenues of demolition and fencing to help open the closed-off streets and determine the cost to the city.  A special stand alone item on next Tuesday’s joint Council/Planning commission meeting will address the city’s options.

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