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"Confine sewer plan to downtown area"
Letter to the Editor, Hi-Desert Star / Desert Trail, March 8, 2022
At the Feb. 22 Twentynine Palms City Council meeting, our city manager used a survey to justify community support for rushing a sewer and wastewater grant. We have the survey. The 77% support quoted by the city manager equals 271 voting residents out of 8,145 registered voters. Not only is the sample small, many of the questions are biased to produce the answers desired by the city.
We’re shocked that council failed to query the city manager about the survey or the grant. We must also ask how the city manager gets so many 5-0 votes without substantive discussion? If consensus is being created outside the public eye, that’s a violation of the Brown Act.
With their 5-0 vote, council is rushing city residents into a grant that will cause issues down the line. It is unlikely the city will get more than $50 million in funding given the number of applicants. Yet the city is obligated to show full funding for the $150 million to $200 million project in March 2023. Where’s that difference going to come from IN A YEAR? Wouldn’t the city have to put tax increases on the June and November ballots in order to show potential funding? And even if those pass, the funding won’t exist by the completion date of the project in 2026.
We’re not against sewer and wastewater for the downtown corridor, of course that’s needed. But building sewer out beyond that corridor is a level of development that we don’t believe the community supports. Council is going to see a groundswell opposing growth and development beyond downtown once people are educated about what’s planned.
If council doesn’t start asking questions and challenging the city manager’s desire for 29 Palms to look like Yucca Valley, seats will be lost in November.