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RDA donates $200 to county's fair exhibit

May 15, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here, seated as the city Redevelopment Agency board, voted to give Imperial County $200 toward its state fair exhibit after councilman David Ouzan said a $1,000 donation would be excessive.

Reading from a letter sent by the county, Ouzan noted that county officials had only requested donations of $200 or more for the exhibit. The RDA agenda stated $1,000 would be considered.

"This is an outrage here! How did we get to $1,000 from $200?" he asked.

Councilman Alex Perrone said, "I agree that we should give them $200."

Perrone theorized it was possible some city staffers thought giving $1,000 to the county would be a fair trade-off since the county gave $1,000 to help support the upcoming mariachi festival.

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If that was the case, though, Perrone said, "trading $1,000 for $1,000 isn't a good deal for us."

City Manager Richard Inman said whatever amount of money the RDA board decided to donate to the county would be used to help pay for the county's state fair exhibit in Sacramento.

Ouzan said no one from the county was at Tuesday's meeting to explain how Calexico's donation would be used.

Mayor John Renison said, "What burns me more is we're sending — how many people to Las Vegas?"

Interim Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Ralph Morales said, "Five."

Renison continued, "We're spending thousands of dollars on that and what are we trying to accomplish?"

He added: "We're being penny wise and pound foolish."

Renison said the city must make sure that whoever is going to Vegas brings back tangible reports of their time there and contact information.

The upcoming conference in Las Vegas will be attended by shopping mall developers who city officials hope to lure to Calexico.

Councilman Victor Carrillo asked if the board could return to the brunt of Ouzan's original point. Carrillo said the issue regarding the trip to Las Vegas had been discussed in the past.

Renison said he realized that it had been discussed but when he had brought up his concerns then no action was taken.

"So I brought it up again," he said.

Ouzan made a motion to approve giving the county "$200 and no cents."

Approval was unanimous.

In other business during the RDA meeting, the board gave direction to staff to bring back price estimates for fixing the roof on the Community Center.

The RDA could spend around $80,000 in the first phase of improvements on the center, fixing the roof and the air-conditioning units. In the second phase the agency could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the bathrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

By deciding to consider fixing the building, it's unlikely the RDA board will build a new facility, according to Renison.

At the end of the meeting, the board voted to allow "certain individuals" to fly to China and make a presentation before investors there.

Inman said city staffers had been sent two invitations from Chinese businessmen. He said the businessmen would reimburse major costs associated with the trip.

Renison asked if there would be an expectation that any staffers flying to China would have to file detailed reports as to their activities there. Inman said that would be the expectation.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or aclaverie@aol.com

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