Brawley Council News and Notes

By Chris Furguson
The following are highlights from the Brawley City Council meeting on July 16, 2013.
* The Brawley Council discussed at length the idea of allowing residents to continue using credit and debit cards to pay bills. The item was an informational update
According to Finance Director Ruby Walla, the city was expected to incur around $23,000 in merchant fees thanks to the convenience of card use. The program rolled out in April of last year and was centered around the Parks & Recreation department, the Police station and Utility Billing.
Utility billing currently sees the most use and, correspondingly, sees the most fees generated. Suggestions on mitigating the costs to the city included setting a maximum dollar limit on bills to be paid and excluding “high dollar” transactions, such as Permits and Transient Occupancy Tax payments.
All other cities who allow for the use of credit and debit cards absorb the costs.
* The Brawley council looked at a pair of grant proposals by the Brawley Library and Parks & Rec. Department that would provide new computers for the Library and the Senior Center.
The grant applications will be part of the recent Local Entity Grant program that is currently being run by the Imperial Irrigation District. If approved, the funds will come from a “Special Programs” budget and not affect any businesses trying for their own grants.
The two departments are asking for enough money to replace a series of public use computers at the Library that are between five and eight years old and to install three new computers at the Senior Center.
* The Imperial Valley Food Bank and the Imperial County Film Commission gave short presentations to the city council at the meeting.
The IV Food Bank will be holding their “Imperial Valley Harrvest Bowl” at 5 Crowns Cooling on October 12, 2013. Sponsors can spend up to $5,000 on special seats and other bonuses, the proceeds of which will help families and individuals with meals.
The Film Commission will be having their 3rd annual Film Festival on August 2-3 this year. In addition to showcasing films that were shot in the County, 22 local entries will be showing during the festival.
This year’s festival will have the name “The World’s Hottest Film Festival.”

Brawley-only “Gold Line” Route Approved By Brawley Council

By Chris Furguson
At their July 16th meeting, the Brawley City Council approved a map for an incoming city-centered bus route that is expected to begin servicing public transportation users in September.
The proposed route, which is centered around the new transit center on South Plaza and its North Plaza counterpart, includes a total of 29 stops that hits parts of the city not being serviced by the current routes, including much of the city north of Main street and areas near the shopping centers in the southwest portion of town.
This will make Brawley the second city in Imperial County to have a city-centered route. El Centro currently has two routes, the Blue and Green Lines, that reach areas of that city not touched by the main routes.
The new route also makes a stop near the shopping center located near the southwest portion of the city that includes the Wal-Mart SuperCenter and the incoming Starbucks Coffee shop.
The route will be serviced with a 16-seat shuttle similar to the ones used in El Centro for their Green and Blue lines. The entire loop will run around 65 minutes and will join up with the main routes at the Plaza.
Brawley Public Works will paint red no-parking zones at all of the proposed new stops and add signs where needed. The cost to the city will be $5,000 in the Streets Budget.
The speed of the incoming route is thanks to a successful grant application by the Imperial County Transportation Commission.
Resident concerns also included a lack of stops on Main Street east of Palm Avenue, where an incoming Family Dollar is set to open in the near future, and possible routes to the SDSU Campus east of town.
The City Council also approved a final order adjustment to the incoming Transit Center located at the corner of South Plaza and G Street. The center is expected to be completed later this month for a ribbon cutting soon afterwards.