OPINION- Yucca Valley Town Manager Mark Nuaimi wrangled a $14,000 raise and a 3 year contract including added benefits increasing the cost to terminate him. His total package is now $293,000.00 per year. He did all of this with an inexperienced council prior to the budget workshop sessions to close his $700,000-$1 million budget gap. He is ending the children’s swimming lessons and the popular Summer Concert series. This lack of leadership also reveals insight into Nuaimi’s real concerns, or lack thereof, because he does not live in Yucca Valley. Z107.7 Editorial link
Nuaimi has been on a spending spree from the moment he was hired in June 2010. He is a politician trying to cross over to a town management position that is not working out for the residents of Yucca Valley especially in these difficult economic times.
His only connection to this small rural town of 20,700 with an average income of $35,000 is the paycheck package he receives now totaling over $293,000.00 a year and he lives in Fontana.
Town Manager Mark Nuaimi was hired by a previous town council claiming Congressman Paul Cook urged him to apply for the position even though he had no real previous experience as a Town Manager. Nuaimi’s turbulent 3.75 years at the helm of the City of Colton left their finances near bankruptcy and reserves were taken down to $50,000. His claim to fame was “he laid himself off as a cost cutting move to save the City of Colton.” The reality was he was NOT going to be promoted to City Manager and the incoming newly hired manager, Rod Foster, made it known there would not be a place setting for Nuaimi anymore.
1. As I see it, there are pockets of money hidden out of sight that should be put back into play. At one meeting, Nuaimi said there was a $71,000 surplus after the completion of the dog park.
2. There is $350,000 (plus $17,000 interest) in a loan to the Hi-Desert Water District that has been returned to the Town verified by CFO/AGM Frank Luckino who reported a $300,000 projected budget surplus for HDWD.
3. When outsourced, the Yucca Valley Engineering Department costs were $124,550 in earlier years. The in-house cost for the coming budget cycle, including vehicle and car allowance is now pegged at $304, 495.00!
4. Remove any and all car allowances for Department heads living within 30 miles from Town Hall. These funds were allocated under the current town manager. Each of these department heads receive six-figure salaries plus benefits. Car allowances in the 2013-2014 proposed budget include: Finance Department, $9,000; Community Services, $6,000; Community Development, $4,500; and Engineering Department, $6,000.
5. Refuse to accept the generous gift of the turn-key Youth Sports park from Mr. Brehm (Cindy Melland/Hi-Desert Star) until the economy has turned around and/or an annuity is provided for maintaining of said gift. Our town cannot afford $200,000-$300,000 maintenance costs per year. Outsource all the current Parks and Recreation maintenance for further savings.
6. Save $3.2 million by pulling the plug on the Yucca Valley Senior Housing fiasco NOW. Threats that Yucca Valley MAY not be eligible for grants are a moot point when the State is broke and the Government isn’t flush with cash either. Obligating $3.2 million dollars to build 75-one bedroom units does not pencil out. There may be another Senor Housing program available in the future that will not jeopardize the financial future of Yucca Valley.
7. The Town Manager must immediately stop any further negotiations or agreements by our town to partner with Brehm Communications/Cindy Melland on developing the Golf Course. It is now in PRIVATE hands and that money pit will never turn a profit even when the town changes zoning to allow building 975 high density units at the perimeter of the golf course.
8. Any litigation costs exceeding $25,000 are to be taken out of the Town Manager’s salary. Spending $50,500 to impound two pets was absolutely insane!
9. Cease the Town’s supplemental funding of the 4th of July fireworks of $8,000-$10,000 for one evening. The Rotary Club should stop competing with the Marine Base signing up for a “Bigger and Better” show each year. A 50% reduction of fireworks blowing up in the sky is still a spectacular event for one evening.
10. Transfer out the marketing funds from the Chamber of Commerce over to DARTA and let the professionals promote Yucca Valley Tourism at the Welcome Center. Charge rent to Chamber and DARTA for office space.
11. Submit Nuaimi’s claims of 400-500 hours for overtime payment to Basinwide Foundation/Brehm Communications in the amount of $30,000-$50,000. Nuaimi is meeting with them to discuss a golf course partnership agreement and has been involved in the designs of the Brehm Sports park. These are PRIVATELY owned projects and why should the citizens foot the bill for special interests?
12. Increase the Hotel bed tax to bring in $150,000 per year assigned only to road maintenance.
13. Invest in Mom & Pop stores by placing them in a tax-free zone for 5 years. Change the name of “Old Town” to “Toon Town” where every building is painted in eye-popping neon colors…Polka Dots! Stripes! Take video of the transformation and showcase the progress on YouTube! Place all receipts for purchases by residents over $50 in a monthly drawing for prizes. Make “Toon Town” a tourist and shopping destination of curiosity by word of mouth or YouTube.
14. Build an indoor skating arena for Roller Derby or Roller Hockey competitions. Set aside one day a week for mini motorized model car competitions or remote control helicopter golf. A wall can be designed for rock climbing. A place to encourage our youth to exercise or just hang out in a climate controlled facility. Add bleachers, bring in food vendors, pizza, popcorn or arcades. What about the old Walmart building?
And, of course……
15. The biggest savings to the Town of Yucca Valley is to give Mark Nuaimi a 30-day notice pink slip laying him off due to budget constraints in this horrible economy. That would save Yucca Valley $293,000.00 per year, not to mention the $$millions of dollars in overspending and over budget projects. After all, it was his idea when Measure U failed, remember? See below….Town Manager $250,000
More ideas coming…….
Margo Sturges Author link
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