By John Paul Valdez
Homebuilders have returned to Indio, La Quinta, and PS. They avoid places like Desert Hot Springs because of lack of infrastructure and poor city administration now sadly facing a possible bankruptcy. The city has recently disbanded its fire department, and this becomes a liability for builders as one might imagine.
Solar is also making a big impact on the local economy with several firms enjoying growth at a record pace. Many government incentive programs help homeowners and business owners alike turn to this alternative energy source. I recommend looking at this again if the last time you checked was over a year ago. In this area DHS has shown some promise.
Cities that have invested in their community have gotten the lion’s share of these new developments. Most improvements are shared expenses based on increased receipts to local governments, incentives to businesses, and investments made by those same businesses in a profit driven business plan. Public/private programs are exactly what are needed. The Ritz Carlton is about to be completed in Rancho Mirage. The mall in PS was the result of a tax measure used to build the city up in a public/private partnership, and not a tax measure used to build up public salaries.
The other smart things we see sister cities enjoying are things as simple as medical marijuana and its associated taxes. DHS residents are driving to PS to spend those dollars to support the PS tax base. Those shops should be in the city where the residents want to buy. When buyers are forced to leave a city to buy, that’s called dilution.
While DHS’s biggest problem might seem to be avoiding the bankruptcy, the real problem is lack of investment by business owners in their own community as they turn their less desirable properties into cash cows, and the dilution that occurs when the entire city is forced to leave to buy something as simple as a light bulb in the new technology sector. Need a light bulb? Try Lowes in PS. Need some medicine? Try PS. Need some box store stuff? Leave DHS.
As each of those purchases are made elsewhere, their tax dollars go elsewhere too. That’s how you close a budget gap. It’s a long term solution, not a two week solution after overspending for 6 years and the small matter of a still pending 10 million dollar note on the decade old bankruptcy.
One note would have to be made. Two Bunch Palms, purchased by those infamous “outsiders”, is investing millions into a world class resort in DHS that is bucking the trend of other owners to avoid participating on a large scale in the improvement of the city with direct investment, and their efforts are duly noted here.
Driving into the glamour of the Film Festival over this past weekend made it all seem so close and yet so far for a city that has every reason to succeed with proper long term care. DHS is in the foothills of the mountains and its two largest hotels are run down and hardly the place for any spot light affairs. All that natural spring water is being sold off to the Sentinel fossil fuel burning factory just north of PS, not to tourists in DHS. That has to change if we are to achieve our deserved place in the desert valley.