Yucca Valley, Ca.,- It appears the Town of Yucca Valley had better get out of the landlord business because they are giving away public funds to cover the unpaid utility bills of a dead beat tenant that only pays $1 per year for the use of the town building. Yes, rent free at ONE dollar and the promise to pay their own utilities! The lease contract was written ten years ago and the tenant, Desert Regional Tourism Agency, DRTA, agreed to pay their portion of the utilities for the use of the California Welcome Center building. Hint: It’s called a 3-day notice to pay or quit…then start the eviction proceedings.
At the April 30th meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council, Cary Harwin stood at the lectern and promised to make good on the overdue utility bills while pitching the council for additional partnership funding. At that meeting, the amount of the past due utility bill was pegged at $15,000, five months later, that debt has increased to $18,000.
The Town Council staff report of October 1st, suggested paying off this dead beat’s utility debt using reserves from public funds AND amending the balance of DRTA’s rent-free lease to include no further obligation to pay any utilities. Who came up with that idea? Recall target Councilman George Huntington’s wife used to be a board member of the Desert Regional Tourism Agency, DRTA, and he was happy to vote for the proposal along with Councilmen Lombardo, Leone and Mayor Abel who said, ” He doesn’t have a problem with the total of $48,000 in public funds as an investment in the partnerships but did not want to touch reserves.”
The only one trying to hold the line on this money give-away was Councilwoman Dawn Rowe, who voted NO to an extra $5,000 to the Chamber…and NO to paying the $18,000 past due utilities…and a final NO on depleting the town’s maintenance budget to cover these costs.
Recently the Yucca Valley Chamber entered the arena of politics instead of minding business by endorsing a bad General Fund tax, using the office for personal political aspirations and currently sponsoring a No-recall website on their business website. The Chamber requested an additional $5,000 claiming financial difficulties, they could not sponsor the historic and traditional Grubstakes Parade which is part of Yucca Valley’s heritage. The Chamber threw away $3,000 on a no-bid-bland-beige sign at the entrance to Yucca Valley instead of investing $900 to restore the original entry sign which had been branding the town for over 13 years. The Chamber also mismanaged $3,000 marketing funds to attend a Las Vegas Convention which was not productive for business but used as a cover for a romantic get-a-way on the public’s dime. The Chamber also resides in the Welcome Center building for a token $1 in rent while receiving $15,000 public tax payer funds a year for marketing.
It is time to call for a forensic audit on these agencies who are unable to run their businesses with free rent while slopping at the money trough of public funds.
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