The Yucca Valley Town council heard some good financial news last night. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was at that meeting and files this report…
The Yucca Valley Town Council heard some mostly encouraging news at its meeting Tuesday night. Sales tax revenues, which have been mostly flat in previous years, are expected to increase by about 4.5 percent in the 2014-15 fiscal year, and by 5.5 percent the next year after that. The expected increase is due to new retail stores in Yucca Valley, such as Tractor Supply, Marshall’s, Petco, and Ross. In addition, property taxes are projected to increase by 3.5 and 2.5 percent over the next two fiscal years. Council member Bob Leone had a suggestion for another way to increase revenue for the Town: the Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT, charged on hotel rooms. “It’s not going to affect the people in town; it’s a tourism tax. We are the lowest community in the entire area. Nobody’s got 7 percent tax on the TOT. That should be something we should look into and move forward in an effort to bring it up to the current standard of other communities.”
The Council also heard about road maintenance, in which 7.4 miles of Joshua Drive and Joshua Lane would receive slurry seal and cape seal. The Council authorized the project to go out to bid, with an awarding of the estimated $550,000 contract expected in June.
Imminent labor agreements and solar energy highlighted the Board of Education meeting last night. Reporter Dan Stork says that funding measures and policy revisions were also dealt with…
In their regular reports to the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education, the representatives of the District labor unions told about progress made toward agreements. Morongo Teachers Association representative Jason Bolt said that the MTA membership has approved the Tentative Agreement reached during bargaining with the District, and awaits District response. Classified employee rep Maria Brunetti said that her union will vote April 10 on a Tentative Agreement that calls for a 5.77 percent increase, retroactive to last July. The Common Core Funding Plan was approved, as was authorization for temporary borrowing between funds (which is not expected to be needed). Revisions to a policy on weapons and dangerous instruments was approved, but another policy on student trips was held over for further review.
In a public workshop before the regular meeting, the Board heard an informal presentation from Kathleen McKee, a lawyer who specializes in guiding school districts through solar energy implementations. McKee advised on how to seek vendors, and on elements that can or should be explicit in contracts. An example: if a vendor guarantees that 80 percent (to use a typical contractual agreement) of a district’s electricity needs can be met from on-site solar, and if delivery falls below that mark, then the solar vendor should be on the hook for the shortfall. McKee also gave high marks to PsomasFMG, the solar vendor that gave a presentation to the Board recently.
An opening artists’ reception will be held Friday, April 4, for “The Desert Rocks! Life on the Faultline” at the Twentynine Palms Visitor Center. Presented by the Twentynine Palms Public Arts Advisory Committee, the exhibition features two- and three-dimensional artworks by more than 30 desert artists. The public is invited to the opening reception Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to meet the artists, enjoy refreshments, and listen to music by Jamie Hafler. Admission is free. The “Desert Rocks!” art show will be on display at the gallery 10 to 4 daily through June. The Visitor Center is located at 73484 29 Palms Highway in downtown Twentynine Palms.
Local artists will be exhibiting at the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery in Wonder Valley in April. An opening reception is set for Saturday, April 5, from 5 to 9 p.m. Featured artists include Ray Yeager, Mary Best, Douglas O. Smith, Suzanne Ross, Laura Peterson Volz, Bill Dahl, George Howell, Cinda Lassen, and Karin Mayer. The Glass Outhouse is located at 77575 Highway 62, east of the Twentynine Palms airport.
The Twentynine Palms Wildcat golf team hosted Desert Mirage yesterday at Desert Winds Golf Course aboard the Marine Base and won their DeAnza League opener, 245-275. The ’Cats are now 1-0 in league play. Coach Grant Whipple said Brandon Steffins led the way with a solid 38, followed by Ty Lueken, 46.
Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School and Yucca Valley High School golf teams will tee off against each other, starting at 2:45.
The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat baseball and softball teams will host the Desert Hot Springs Golden Eagles at home. Both games start at 3:30 tomorrow.
Also tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan baseball team will host the Shadow Hills Knights at home; first pitch is at 3:15.
And finally, the Joshua Springs Lightning baseball team will travel away tomorrow to Redland Adventist Academy. Game time is 4 p.m.