Artesia’s City Council voted 4-0 last Monday to keep its redevelopment agency, which has been hampered by the state’s restructuring plan for such organizations.
Mayor Victor Manalo told the audience before the vote that the Council made this decision “under duress with our arms twisted behind our backs” in order to save the city from suffering from the effects of dwindled funding due to state action to water down the power of these agencies.
“Even though the title of the [resolution] said it’s voluntary, there’s nothing voluntary about this,” he told the audience. “Either we pay this money [to the state] or we lose an opportunity to follow through with all our plans for redevelopment in the City of Artesia.”
Artesia, like many cities in California, faced a decision whether to pay their share of $1.7 billion to the state or dismantle its redevelopment agency altogether. Manalo has been vocal in his opposition to the state’s redevelopment plan, calling the action in a recent letter “unconscionable.”
However, the council’s plan to pay the state to keep its redevelopment agency is on hold—for now. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Supreme Court on Thursday halted the enforcement by the state for cities to pay the $1.7 billion and will hear arguments from the cities challenging the state law.
Council OKs Communication Plan
The Council also approved a plan to use Nixle’s communication services to correspond with residents and to streamline the city’s internal communications.
Travis Scott, Vice President of Agency Relations for Nixle said to the Council that their products will allow the city to communicate information such as emergencies, advisories or upcoming events through different channels like e-mail, text message, telephone and social media.
The city’s cost for using Nixle’s services is set at $7,750 for the first year because the company has to acquire the Emergency Service Listing, which includes the listed and unlisted landlines in Artesia. The cost for subsequent years will be $6,250 and Scott said that the price will never increase.
“The potential of having the system is limitless,” Mayor Manalo said. “The opportunity to get our message out more in using these technologies and social media is really important to the viability of this city.”
Manalo added that using this new communication system can engage residents on city services and upcoming events.
Despite the wide variety of services provided by Nixle to the city, Councilman Tony Lima said that the city’s small size does not warrant the cost of the project and voted against the motion.
“[The city’s] situation is not one that we should be making expenses unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he said. “We should be making income, not expenses. It’s great for a big city but not Artesia.”
The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be on September 12 at 7 p.m. at Artesia City Hall. For more information, call (562) 865-6262 or go to www.cityofartesia.us.