Mayors from across the Coachella Valley gathered Friday for a discussion on the economic status, real estate market, and future plans of each desert city.
The mayoral conference happens once a year and it gives the desert’s top city officials the opportunity to discuss their state of affairs, bounce ideas off each other and of course talk about some of the challenges facing each city.
On the agenda were things like the status of each cities real estate market, future plans and of course the economy.
“La Quinta is in a very favorable position right now. Our budget was balanced in July when we set a new budget for next year,” said La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans.
“Our finances are in great condition. Our revenues are exceeding predictions,” said Indio Mayor Michael Wilson.
“Our status is good we’ve got a balanced budget. We’ve got money in reserve, about 20 million dollars in reserve,” said Cathedral City Mayor Stan Henry.
“As usual we’re in great shape, We just passed another balanced budget for about 58 million dollars,” said Palm Desert Mayor Sabby Jonathan.
“We’re really in a renaissance…our income is really going up because of TOT and vacation rentals and hotels and the revenue from tourism,” said Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon.
While it would seem as though Coachella Valley cities are thriving, the single issue virtually every city in the desert struggles with is the cost of public safety.
“The cost keep escalating. We’re approaching 50 percent of our entire budget being devoted to police fire and emergency and the increases keep happening every year,” said Jonathan.
“Uncontrollable costs.Those are the increase in police services and fire services,” said Evans.
“Like every city we’re really worried about the cost of healthcare and public safety and pension costs,” said Moon.
“Those types of increases are unsustainable. So it’s a challenge for us and most cities here in the Coachella Valley,” Jonathan said.
It’s difficult to determine exactly what’s driving the increased costs since every city is different, but one thing is consistent across each city in the desert. The population is growing and more people are staying full time.
“If the costs become unsustainable. It would be imprudent for us not examine other alternatives,” said Jonathan.