Palm Springs, Ca,- On November 8, 2011, the voters approved Measure J, a 1% sales General Fund tax increase to “improve the quality of life, fix potholes and save 911″ and other promises actually geared to pay for part of the Desert Fashion Plaza. This 25 year tax Measure is expected to generate $8 million a year, or $280 million over 25 years in increased sales tax revenue with $3.3 million a year ($43 million over 25 years) going to the downtown revitalization and the remaining funds for city projects.
While the Town of Yucca Valley spent a combined total of over $250,000 on the failed Measure U tax, the City of Palm Springs only spent $52,900 on an informational campaign for Measure J. Ballotpedia Link.
Oversight committees have been set up and a new website will be developed for Palm Springs citizens to watch the progress and where the tax proceeds are going to be spent. The Oversight Committee was given $600,000 to assign towards projects.
In June 2012, the city’s Financing Authority, through De La Rosa & Co., offered for sale to the public $46 million of lease revenue bonds. They sold out within hours.
All appears to be pretty rosy except for the signatures that have been gathered recently to repeal a part of Measure J.
According to the Desert Sun:
“PALM SPRINGS — Just 16 days before demolition begins for the Desert Fashion Plaza revitalization project, a handful of residents delivered a petition to City Hall, telling the City Council to “reconsider or repeal” approval of the project’s six-story hotel, or face a public vote.
Members of Citizens for a Sustainable Palm Springs turned in dozens of petition booklets with 2,775 signatures Tuesday, more than the 2,425 required, to place a referendum on a ballot.
The group says the hotel is too tall, its architecture unimpressive and approval was rushed through without enough input from the public.
“They really should have kept things transparent, people involved. In their defense, they put a tight schedule to keep Wessman in line … but it backfired,” said Frank Tysen, a member of the group.
City Council members approved applications for the project by John Wessman on Dec. 19. The council vote came after reviews by the Architectural Advisory Committee in November, then the Planning Commission. Dozens of people for and against the project showed up at the meetings.
Per a financial agreement, the city was expected to approve the project before the end of the year so Wessman could stay on schedule for construction to begin Sept. 30.
The project will replace most of the empty,dilapidated Desert Fashion Plaza mall with three new city blocks with retail, restaurants, office space, new city streets, plus the hotel at the northwest corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive.
The petition only deals with the hotel portion, so City Attorney Doug Holland said the rest will be able to move forward.”
Read more of this story: www.MyDesert.com link
Palm Springs Measure J Report Card Story link
Margo Sturges Author link