The Twentynine Palms City Council worked through its agendized items on energy savings, an electronic sign, and housing last night. Dan Stork fills in the details…
Twentynine Palms city staffer Larry Bowden told the City Council that electricity savings of $50,000 per year are available to the city. He explained that it is the responsibility of a ratepayer to find out whether it is paying the best possible rate. The City engaged a consulting company to study its Edison bills to identify potential savings, at a fee of half the savings for three years. The consultant found that Edison has been charging “demand fees” that ding the city heavily for things like lighting parks. As a result of the studies, the City has started receiving rebates for excessive past charges.
By a vote of 4-1, with Cora Heiser dissenting, the Council voted to front $20,000 for an electronic sign on Adobe Road near Theatre 29, to publicize both Theatre offerings and City events to casino and local traffic. Theatre 29 will reimburse the City for half the cost, on a schedule to be determined. Gary Daigneault, representing the Theatre 29 Board, said that the Indian tribe running the casino has pledged $6,000 toward the cost, and the Theatre plans a private fundraising effort for the $4,000 balance. The Council also required that the sign be reviewed by the Planning Commission, a step that city staff had recommended waiving.
A representative from PMC, the consulting company that prepared the Housing Element of the General Plan for the period 2013-2021, walked the Council through the Element. She explained the various state requirements for the plan, as they relate to low-income housing, zoning rules, density bonuses, emergency shelter, accommodating people with disabilities, and more. She also outlined why it is financially and administratively important for the City to comply with the state’s rules.
During public comment, resident John King complained about his treatment by the City’s Code Enforcement arm over the status of vehicles on property he owns.
During Council comment time, member Cora Heiser said that City Attorney Patrick Munoz had inaccurately described the disposition of funds formerly available to the now-dissolved Redevelopment Agency.