Each candidate was given three questions and a limit of 750 words in which to answer all of them. Following are their responses, which are presented in the alphabetical order of the candidates’ last names.
Matas on Attracting Business:
Our economic development plan has been in place for over two years and we are seeing continue growth and interest in our community. The following projects are either inquiring about Desert Hot Springs or in some sort of permit/ construction phase (as of Oct. 6):
1. Borrego Solar (under construction)
2. Borrego Community Health (construction completed 8/13)
3. Pierson Plaza-County Office Building (in for construction permits)
4. Rio Ranch Markets (approved, awaiting building plans)
5. Wal-Mart & ancillary retail pads (processing EIR)
6. Unnamed Regional Fuel Facility*
7. Infill retail project on Palm (between 2nd & 3rd) development
8. Family Dollar (working through DOF approval process to sell land)
9. Walton Development (two (2) master planned communities Highland Falls, Tuscan Hills) (working through plans for homes, retail, hotels)
10. ARES Logistic facility (2.6 million sq. ft.) (User A)
11. ARES Logistic facility (User B)
12. YK Spa (10 room boutique hotel under construction)
13. Unnamed Restaurant-A on Palm (working on land acquisition through governmental agency)*
14. Unnamed Restaurant-B on Palm (working on land acquisition through government agency)*
15. Unnamed Restaurant-C on Pierson*
16. Unnamed Restaurant-D on Palm (within proposed Wal-Mart Center)*
17. Remodel/Rehabilitation of Spring of Eden Hotel
18. Remodel/Rehabilitation of Hyundae Hotel
19. Lease negotiations with unnamed user for former RDA property**
20. Land sale negotiations with unnamed user for former RDA property**
(*) Unnamed tenants/users until their property acquisition negotiations are completed (all private sector negotiations)
The Economic Development Committee is focused on bringing more retailers to our community as the economy rebounds.
Matas on Budget Balancing:
Staff is working through recommendations on how each department head will balance their department’s budget; we then need to reduce our spending according to the projected updates we will receive in November. We can increase revenue from our economic development strategy and work to make minimal cuts to city services. Public safety will never receive a vote from me on cuts; I believe with professional, sensible decision-making from our staff, we can cut in contracts and non-essential services for a balanced budget. In the last two months, our staff has renegotiated two contracts and has saved the city approximately $300,000.00; this is a start.
Matas’s Ideal DHS:
Six years ago when elected our current city council made progress in attending every meeting and promoting Desert Hot Springs throughout the county and state. Today we are respected and the image of Desert Hot Springs is better but more work needs to be done. We have plans to enhance tourism (Miracle Hill Plan) and economic development (award-winning strategy plan). We can capitalize on the national parks plan to merge several thousand acres into Joshua Tree National Monument just north of our city (Sand to Snow National monument plan). We have award-winning students with many ideas on how to make the city a better place to live and as the founder of the Desert Hot Springs Youth Council we need to continue to make the youth of community a part of the decision-making.
With these ideas and plans, I will ask for your vote on November 5, 201 — Moving Desert Hot Springs Forward.