On January 27, 2018 the City Council held a Planning and Goal Setting Workshop to establish goals for 2018. Establishing goals and priorities that are clear is the most effective way for business to be conducted by the City. Many of the goals identified by the City Council can be achieved with existing resources, however, in those cases where additional resources are required, the need will be addressed through the development of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
On July 11, 2018, City Manager Charles McClendon provided an update to the City Council on the progress staff has made on the established Goals for 2018. Below are the Goals with what has been completed in red:
- Quality of Life – Develop and improve options and opportunities to enhance the quality of life for the people of Cathedral City.
a. Develop plans to link downtown facilities, as development occurs, so that pedestrian movement in the area is facilitated.
b. Join the Sister City International organization, form a local committee and consider additional Sister City opportunities. March 28, 2018 the City Council approved joining the Sister Cities International and the formation of a Cathedral City Sister Cities Committee.
In July 2018 the international membership and selection of the committee will commence, with the beginning of the new fiscal year. Committee opportunities have been advertised on-line and through social media.
c. Work with the Palm Springs Unified School District to identify options and the costs of operating the CCHS pool for public use in the summer months. May 15, 2018 met with the PSUSD representatives, Mayor Henry, City Manager and Economic Development Director to discuss the opportunity for the City to use the CCHS swimming pool for summer recreation. Follow-up meetings with PSUSD to ascertain costs, review proposed contracts and discuss the management of the facility are scheduled for Summer / Fall of 2018.
d. Prepare an item for Council consideration related to a Healthy Cathedral City initiative to provide general fund revenues which might be used to support recreation and pool programs, a community center, the Senior Center and the Boys & Girls Club. This is related to the potential of a Sugar Tax; which council has decided not to move forward on.
e. Make an improved effort to promote Commission seats to youth in the community. The Public Arts Commission had a high school youth, Andrea R, attend and participate in the monthly meetings during 2018. We will continue to actively engage the high school to send youth to both the Arts and Community Events Commission.
f. Work with CVAG to encourage that the next CV Link section to be built continues south from Ramon. Staff has not allowed CVAG the opportunity to forget that Cathedral City is ready for the next section of the CV Link Project. Staff is assisting CVAG on the securing of an access easement to the CV Link, off Sarah Road just north of Ramon. Staff has also had very preliminary discussions with CVAG regarding the expansion of the east side of Date Palm from Perez Road to the Big Lots shopping center in conjunction with a trailhead for the CV Link adjacent and north of Big Lots on City owned property.
g. Develop plans for a CV Link destination feature at the Date Palm entrance to the facility. As cited above.
h. Continue to explore the possibility of annexing into the Desert Recreation District and develop plans to improve recreation opportunities in the community. A study session discussion was held on May 9, 2018 and a follow-up discussion is on the agenda for July 11, 2018. This will require LAFCO action and the formation of a city-wide CFD to support the assessments.
i. Use volunteers and interns to supplement staff and provide learning opportunities. HR has developed a volunteer policy and handbook. Finance has an intern currently working.
j. Continue to implement the Fire and Police strategic plans and staffing recommendations as financially feasible and develop an over-hire policy so replacements are trained and ready to go when a vacancy occurs. The F.D. has accomplished significant goals and improved staffing identified in the 2016-2020 F.D. strategic plan. The department is working on an update to the F.D. strategic plan for 2019 – 2023.
A Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant was awarded to the City, which added six firefighter paramedics on 2-12-2018.
June 2018, six replacement firefighters are in the background/medical testing process to fill five F.D. vacancies (four retirements, one non-completion of probation and one promotion) and to extend one over-hire position (due to long-term worker compensation injury) consistent with the City Council goal of pre-hiring for replacement personnel. (FD)
Police continue to enhance relationships with Neighborhood Watch groups. Safety was enhanced at the front desk with the installation of bullet resistant glass. Tablets being installed in new patrol vehicles. Inaugural Community Police Academy held, and 21 graduated. Strengthened our partnerships with Homeless providers in the Region, while also reducing blight in the community through Homeless camp clean-ups. Several policies were reviewed and upgraded, to include the Immigration Policy. Increased traffic enforcement efforts via OTS grant and school zone enforcement. Reduced traffic issues in variety of school zones through proactive enforcement efforts, and only investigated two traffic fatalities. Police focused on addressing the property crimes that commonly affects our community members’ quality of life. Our year to date statistics show the following decreases in property crime: Larceny: -1.7% and Auto Theft: -37.9%. Staff vacancies are filled as they arise and internal promotional processes are in progress for Commander and Sergeant.
k. Develop a plan, including an aggressive fine structure, to address illegal fireworks by May 31, 2018. Completed – May 23, 2018 the City Council approved a prohibited fireworks ordinance. City-wide marketing and signage of prohibited fireworks and the associated citations/fines was put in place during May-July 2018.
l. Continue to evaluate and improve community events. During this past Council goal setting meeting, the Communications and Events Manager provided an update on the City’s special events. He outlined which events were seeing growth and which had a downward trajectory. The City has since increased funding for the Taste of Jalisco, Tejano Music Fest, Easter Kidapalooza, and Snow Fest. Each of these events are family-centered and kid friendly.
m. Other QOL Notes – Staff has worked with the Desert Healthcare District, Loma Linda University and residents of the Dream Homes on a place-based initiative designed to determine what the community wants and needs in terms of health care, recreation and park facilities. Staff also worked on a clean-up project involving residents and the City-owned future park site.
2. Economic and Community Development – Promote quality development in Cathedral City to improve economic opportunity for all residents and improve the appearance of the community.
a. Develop options and cost estimates for a Date Palm entry feature of some type to signal entry into the City from I-10. ED Staff and Community Development staff are evaluating several options including (i) The installation of Cal Trans signs along Interstate 10 calling out services (e.g. lodging, gas, and food) available at the Cathedral City exits; (ii) Installing sidewalks along the west side of Date Palm Drive between Vista Chino and 30th Avenue that could have decorative rock installed between the walkway and the curb; and (iii) Other entry enhancements are being discussed to include the color staining of concrete, and additional art elements.
b. Develop tools and incentives such as density transfers and others to help promote quality development in the City and apply as appropriate. During the General Plan update process, higher intensity zones are being evaluated and, where appropriate, will be recommended for implementation.
c. Identify the owners of privately held property near Ramon and Crossley and develop strategies and plans for development. Staff is identifying and contacting property owners to determine their development plans, and/or their willingness to support alternative land uses.
d. Proceed with the required economic analysis related to the possible annexation of Thousand Palms and then with subsequent engagement with the community. In May Staff issued an RFP for the fiscal analysis of annexing all or a portion of the City’s sphere of influence. Contract award is on the July 11 agenda.
e. Work with Wells Fargo with the goal of relocating and/or improving their branch facility in Cathedral City. The corporate office of Wells Fargo has authorized the acquisition or leasing of a standalone branch within Cathedral City. Staff is working with Wells Fargo to identify viable brick and mortar locations.
f. Conduct research and develop a plan for a micro loan program. Staff is working with Accion, a Palm Springs micro lender to establish a greater presence in Cathedral City. Accion presented at a City/CVEP/SBA small business financing workshop. Staff continues to connect entrepreneurs and small businesses with Accion, and other loan programs.
g. Work with College of the Desert staff and secure a location for the auto tech center in Cathedral City. Staff is working with COD to identify a suitable location. COD is currently evaluating sites on East Palm Canyon.
h. Work with Riverside County on the location of a County medical and services center in Cathedral City. Staff has met and spoke with County EDA, and RUHS in an effort to keep a Cathedral City RFP a priority. Additionally, Staff has spoken with land owners and/or developers about sites which might be suitable for an FQHC.
i. Develop and make available a tax sharing program to assist with infrastructure costs for new development in the North City area. Staff continues to evaluate ways to lower infrastructure costs in the North City and potential financing mechanisms.
j. Identify funding sources that might be available for tourism advertising to the Tequila and Jalisco markets. No activity to date.
k. Review cannabis revenues and consider a designated planner position to process cannabis related applications. In process of reviewing the potential for reorganizing staffing tasks at the information and business license desk that would free up other existing community development staff to assist in the cannabis permit process.
l. Promote a business-friendly approach in Economic Development and Community Development. ED Staff and Community Development staff meet regularly to ensure there is open flow of information between departments. ED Staff and Community Development staff attend developer meetings as appropriate to ensure sound information is provided in a timely manner.
m. Keep downtown as a development focus. Staff continues to broadly market Downtown properties, and to seek out capable and motivated tenants and development partners. Potential developers for the 13.5 acres at East Palm Canyon and Date Palm have been identified.
n. Use community events to invite and entertain Economic Development clients. Potential corporate sponsors have been invited to several signature events to engage in the festival activities and entice their interest for the event in the following year. We have seen positive results with the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival, Taste of Jalisco, and LGBT Days.
Staff has and continues to invite key clients to important City events, such as the State of the City, and music festival events.
3. Housing and Homelessness – Promote the development of new housing in the community.
a. Work to promote the completion of the Landau veteran’s housing project with the goal of starting construction by 2020. Council approved entering into a Disposition and Development Agreement with Urban Housing Communities for the development of a 60-unit Veterans Housing project on June 13, 2018.
b. Work with regional partners to address homeless in the community with the goal of reducing the number of homeless persons in Cathedral City. We strengthened our partnerships with Homeless providers in the Region, while also reducing blight in the community through Homeless camp clean-ups. CDBG Action plan identifies funding to address homelessness.
c. Work with the property owners and governmental agencies to identify funding options for the renovation of the Cathedral Palms housing. Staffs continue to work with Tony Mize of National Core to secure funding opportunities to rehabilitate this project.
4. Infrastructure – Improve public infrastructure in the community.
a. Analyze street maintenance needs as identified in the Pavement Management plan and develop plans to address. Staff is working with the current funding and budgeting to provide necessary street improvements and maintenance, which includes utilization of SB 1 funds. Staff is also working with RCTC to provide the best exposure for this funding source with respect to the repeal measure that will be on the November ballot. Once given the go ahead, Staff can provide the public with information as to the cost of road maintenance/repairs/reconstruction on an annual basis. This may be best done closer to the Nov. vote on the future of SB1.
b. Develop a plan and insure proper maintenance of the CV Link. Completed by partnering with Renova to provide the maintenance of the CV Link.
c. Work to push the DaVall interchange through the regional planning and funding processes. The DaVall Bridge Project Study Report (PSR) is underway. One of the last steps is to have Cal Trans review the document. CVAG has authorized the additional $190,000, required by Caltrans for the Cal Trans review of the PSR, which will allow the PSR for the DaVall Bridge Project to be completed. When the PSR is completed, we will start soliciting CVAG to fund the next phase which is the Project Approval & Environmental Document (PA and ED) for the Project.
d. Other Infrastructure Notes - Coordinated the City Urban Revitalization project to replace the Fire Station 411 at 36-913 Date Palm Dr. through the Architectural Review Committee, Planning Commission, CURC Board and City Council.
5. Community and Business Relations – Provide information to the community and opportunities for individuals and businesses to interact with their City government.
a. Conduct research on the San Francisco programs designed to open up banking opportunities to residents and evaluate their applicability in Cathedral City. A study session featuring the Treasurer from San Francisco is being scheduled.
b. Evaluate the possibility and costs of a program to seed a college fund for public school kindergarteners. Average cost without incentives for about 520 Kindergartners per year is $32,000 for just the annual investment, education materials, application materials, plus staff time to educate, track and manage the program, which is estimate at a minimum of $75,000 per year and would depend on the way the program is constructed and incentivized. A study session featuring the Treasurer from San Francisco is being scheduled.
c. Continue outreach to the Latino-owned businesses in the community. Staff partnered with CVEP and SBA to support Latino-owned businesses by offering entrepreneurs, and small business educational workshops in both English and Spanish. Staff is securing a SBDC funded bilingual consultant to provide periodic no-cost consulting services at City Hall. With City support, the GCVCC has established an annual Wedding and Quinceañera Business Expo at the DoubleTree Hotel in Cathedral City. ED staff hosted a booth at the Latino Business Expo and Networking Event in May. The event was arranged by “Get in Motion.” Cathedral City was the only city represented at the event. Periodic City and GCVCC business walks include a Spanish speaking team member to ensure all businesses are equally engaged.
d. Work with state agencies and other cities to seek a solution to provide for banking services for the cannabis industry. Staff continues to follow and communicate with state agencies regarding associated banking issues for the cannabis industry. On April 18, 2018, SB 930, which was recommended by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, would create a new, limited-purpose state charter for privately financed banks under a program that would be overseen by the State Department of Business Oversight. The measure would allow cannabis firms to deposit money in state-licensed banks, which would issue checks to the businesses for use in paying rent and state and local taxes and fees, as well as for paying vendors for goods and services provided to their businesses.
e. Work with an identified community group seeking to establish a job resource center and identify other resources through the County or other agencies that may be available. Staff is supporting ICUC and CCCC in their efforts to secure a job resource center. Staff continues to suggest the inclusion of a job resource center in any Cathedral City FQHC RFPs.
f. Get at least two agreements in place for new businesses to include a local first hiring provision and other items as applicable. Staff has secured two Local Hire MOU’s, with additional MOU’s on the horizon. Job fairs for filling identified jobs have been held.
g. Focus on business retention and growth of existing businesses. Staff continues to focus on this initiative by conducting periodic business walks, by implementing a weekly electronic business newsletter, and by offering monthly training classes. Staff works with businesses (i) trying to open (e.g. the Roost, and the AMP lounge); (ii) during public improvement projects in order to minimize disruption (e.g. businesses within the Pickford Promenade), and (iii) by participating in ribbon cuttings, and business recognition events (e.g. Ace Hardware, Planet Fitness, and the Orion Awards).