The meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council was far-ranging and crisp. Reporter Dan Stork was there, and says that the topics ranged through budgetary matters, public art, and how the city might respond to homelessness…
Twentynine Palms City Manager Joe Guzetta described to the City Council the calendar of budget topics he intends to present to them in the next few months. Some council members professed to be surprised at the relatively low public turnout for the opportunity to provide input to the budget process. Several speakers made pitches for continued or increased funding in the areas of tourism marketing (Paul Smith); Community Emergency Response Team (Kelly Lomax); Action Council 29 murals (Larry Briggs); the fire department (Tamara Alaniz); public safety (CJ Horn); homeless veterans (Kevin Fish); and attracting new residents (Jack Briggs).
At the request of Council member Cora Heiser, approval of a ball field lighting project at Knott’s SkyPark was pulled from the consent agenda, and was modified to approve only the bid process, but not going through with the project without coming back to Council.
Staff was authorized to spend $13,000 of previously budgeted Public Art funds on a “Miner and Pack Horse” statue by Ricardo Breceda. Approval was unanimous, with Jay Corbin changing his mind about the project from disfavor to favor after hearing the staff report. Council also approved installation of three statues donated by Simi Dabah–-two at the SeniorCenter, and one at Theatre 29.
City Manager sketched current programs in the MorongoBasin for combating homelessness. Three actions followed on the subject: Jim Harris will represent the City at meetings of Morongo Basin Haven; Sheriff’s Lt. Russ Wilke said he’ll arrange a presentation to Council on Project Hope, a Department program to reduce recidivism by addressing homelessness among released offenders; and, at the request of Jim Harris, staff will look into the availability of two unused elder-care facilities for purchase and conversion to shelters.