Elaine Holmes is currently the Mayor of Indio, and a long-time Indio business owner. She owns and operates PJ’s Desert Trophies & Gifts in downtown Indio. Mayor Holmes sat down with Indio Live to discuss the recently passed Measure X; increasing the city’s sales tax by 1% from 7.75% to 8.75% on April 1, 2017.
Madame Mayor the residents of Indio gave overwhelming approval to Measure X in last November’s election with over 73% approval. By this time most of our residents know what it is, how much additional revenue is the city looking at?
Measure X is estimated to bring in an additional eight to nine million dollars a year in tax revenue.
Tell us where the city currently is in the process of allocating those funds?
Our focus right now is making sure we spend the money in a fiscally responsible manner. Our City Council and the Citizens’ Finance Advisory Commission are both studying our needs to determine how and where the funding should be applied. I can tell you everyone involved in the process is committed to being good stewards of this money by listening to our residents and their feedback. One thing to remember about these funds, they have a twenty-year sunset. Measure X funds are really designed for one time use. That is a huge consideration for us, making sure we don’t take on liabilities that become unfunded down the road.
If you were to list your top priorities for this money, what are you looking at as most important?
Public safety is a top priority. We are a growing city of 88,000, it is important that we have the infrastructure we need to not only react to problems, but proactively prevent them.
Economic development is going to be vital as well. We need to continue to grow our revenue so we can have the general funds we need to invest in emergency response officers and other public safety needs. We need those additional tax dollars that are sustainable over time that come from local business investment like mixed use development.
If I am a local resident of Indio, what should I be on the lookout for over the coming months and years when it comes to Measure X funds? What are the things I can look at to see my tax money at work?
Well, the first thing to recognize is that this is a process. Rather than rushing in and spending the money hastily, we have been doing study sessions to solicit public feedback, we are working with the advisory commission who will present their findings to City Council, as of right now we haven’t made any final decisions on spending. With that said, my initial thought is for our residents to look for a new police headquarters and a new library to serve our students and residents in the city. We also have a significant number of road projects that are coming. Our Public Works Director has put a pavement plan in place that specifically looks at some of our heavily traveled roads to get them needed maintenance, as well as getting into our residential neighborhoods. I’m confident our residents will be able to visibly see their dollars at work.
I know you are very confident in the direction Indio is heading, final thoughts on Measure X and how it will impact residents?
Come to Indio! If you look at everything that is happening in the east end of the valley; our events, our new hotel developments, there are game changing things happening on our end of the valley. This is where you want to be, where you want to live, and where you want your business to be. That is the direction Indio is going in, and it’s exciting!