PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs city council approved a $90.6 million budget for the next fiscal year. The budget is growing thanks to a boost in tourism. The city also continues to reap the benefits of the Measure J sales tax. "That penny on every dollar does make a huge difference," said Mindy Reed, the owner of Zin American Bistro and Alicante.
Two and a half years after voters approved the measure, a 1% sales tax increase, the response remains positive. The measure brings in about $11 million per year to maintain community service and help vitalize downtown. Reed supports the revitalization plan but also hopes the money gets spread around. "That's all well and good, but I do hope they continue to put money into just downtown regular projects," said Reed.
Smaller projects like more lights in downtown and sidewalk repair. As well as long term, big ticket items like a multi-million dollar renovation for the library, bike paths and lanes throughout the city as well as improving the conditions of the streets. "Roads are one of the most important issues for citizens in the city," said Robert Moon, the chair of the Measure J oversight commission. "Unfortunately has not a lot of money to put into road repairs over the years."
Moon says there's more than $40-50 million worth of back log road repair to be done in the city. His committee will also consider new ideas from the new community, like a shuttle from one end of town to the other. "I hope they approve the funding for the trolley because I think it's really going to do a lot of things to alleviate parking, which is a big problem for everyone downtown," said Reed.
No matter what projects the committee and council decide to use Measure J to fund, Moon says it's a nice problem to have, considering the financial problems of other cities in the valley. "City council was really looking ahead and smart in getting this Measure J passed when they did, because they did it before things got critical," said Moon.