January 21, 2016
GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION APRIL 12, 2016
Rancho Mirage´s months-long effort to secure a public vote regarding the CV Link has been accomplished. The following is a brief message from our City Clerk:
"On the April 12, 2016, General Municipal Election ballot, Rancho Mirage voters will consider four Measures related to CV Link, together with arguments pro and con. This will be a "by mail only" election. Complete instructions will be sent you. Ballots will be mailed to registered voters commencing March 14, 2016.
"March 28, 2016, is the last day residents may register to vote. For voter registration information simply telephone the City Clerk´s office: 760-324-4511.
"According to the City Attorney, the four measures under consideration, three are "Advisory" while Measure 1, if passed, will provide legal safeguards which would deny CV Link a route through the city´s business districts and residential communities unless first approved by a vote of Rancho Mirage residents." Cindy Scott.
ESSENTIAL FACTS REGARDING CV LINK
In discussing the CV Link with members of the public it becomes obvious that much remains vague and uncertain. The confusion is understandable. This is an effort to identify a number of those issues which deserve greater clarity.
CVAG Put the CV Link "Cart Before the Horse"
- In 2011-2012, during early planning, CVAG did not make a concerted effort to fully inform council members or valley residents of the projected financial impact of the CV Link.
As the projected costs of construction were increasing, there were no reports issued to all the cities regarding their respective financial obligations for the projected cost for 75-years of ongoing Operations and Maintenance.
In short, the Executive Director and a small handful of elected officials secured Executive Committee support for CV Link without adequately disclosing the scope of the financial obligations to Rancho Mirage and perhaps others.
Golf Carts Not Permitted On CV Link
- Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) will be legally permitted on the newly constructed 14´ wide portion of the CV Link pathway. They must be licensed by the State, driven only by licensed drivers, carry liability insurance, capable of reaching 25MPH, seatbelts for each seat, turn-signals, etc. Traditional golf carts will not be legal on this NEV pathway portion unless modified to meet NEV specifications.
Cost Of Building CV Link Is Rapidly Rising As Grants Lag
- On October 1, 2013, CVAG´s Executive Director signed a document projecting the cost of CV Link to be $70 Million. Two years later the projected cost is $100 million, and doubtlessly still rising.
- In the past year CVAG received no additional grants. Previously, CVAG had raised only $55 million and nothing during the past year. (CVAG also claims a right to use $20 million in Measure A funds for construction. A contention vigorously disputed.)
Unsubstantiated Health Benefits Claims
- A Desert Sun article (12/8/2015) summarized a health study commissioned by CVAG and the County: "CV Link will do little to help valley air quality."
- The study also confirmed that "CV Link offers less benefits for lower-income communities" where the need is greatest. Diabetes rages in the East Valley, but the CV Link pathway is located too far from residents in Coachella and Indio to expect any positive statistical effect or use as part of a health care regimen.
Policy Reversal: O&M Will Require Local Funding
- The CV Link Master Plan stated as late as March 2015: "Operations and Maintenance Will Not Require Local Funding." On March 30, 2015, CVAG informed Rancho Mirage that the commitment is no longer viable. Now CVAG projects that 100% of O&M will be paid with local funding.
Mr. Kirk Has "Recommended" 5-Cities Carry the O&M Expenses
- CVAG Executive Director Kirk "Recommended" an O&M formula to cover the $1,616,900 annual costs entirely with local funds. He proposed in April 2015 that $600,000 annually of Measure A funds be diverted to O&M, with the remaining $1 million being paid by five cities, including Rancho Mirage, using their bed tax (TOT) revenue.
CVAG Understates Projected O&M Costs
- CVAG claims to have reduced annual O&M costs from $1.6 Million to about
$1 million. The alleged cuts cannot be justified and are unsustainable.
- Example #1: CVAG claims to have reduced Operations by reducing the entire staff from 2 full time employees to ½ person. Managing this project will require considerably more than two people considering the pathway will be "open" 24-hours per day, seven days a week. Consider this partial list of operations expenses: working in shifts; vacations and holidays managers required; personnel services; monitor contractors; organizing of events; payment of vendors; dealing with vendors; issues re required tax forms to vendors; making management level decisions that contractors cannot make; answer phone calls from trail users; media communication;, manage the complete requirements of all the grants received; maintain official records; establishing policy; follow-up on audits; double checking CVAG claims for reimbursement; handle banking transactions; interaction/schedule meetings with cities re street difficulties, roadblocks etc.; interaction/scheduling meetings with City Police Departments; Interaction/scheduling meetings with City Fire Departments; etc., etc.
- Example #2: CVAG claims to have saved $553,100 by eliminating all 10 safety Rangers identified in the Master Plan.
- Plus, CVAG has budgeted $zero for police, paramedics or liability insurance.
Cities Will Frequently Be Sued
- There will be lawsuits concerning injury accidents. CVAG has budgeted nothing for liability insurance to protect the cities from liability and the obligation to pay large judgments and settlements.
- This will require cities to increase their own insurance premiums for additional coverage to protect their residents as they will be named defendants in virtually every negligence-based accident lawsuit that happens in their city.
Residential Security Is At Risk
- With CV Link´s 24-hour accessibility through and adjacent to residential neighborhoods, opportunities for burglary and other criminal conduct will likely increase. CVAG acknowledges that "enforcement ... helps reduce the opportunity for crime..." yet CVAG budgets nothing at all for law enforcement even as they eliminate the ten Rangers from the O&M budget.
The "Use It Or Lose It" Claim
- CVAG leadership, including some mayors, claim that the money CVAG has received for the CV Link is" free money" that will be "lost to the valley if we don´t spend it." The claim is false.
- CV Link announced it has accumulated $75 million toward the $100 million current cost projections. Contrary to their representations, at least 82% of that figure would remain eligible for use in the Coachella Valley. It is not money the valley would lose. CV Link´s Master Plan identifies the following sums as "Confirmed CV Link Funding."
- 82% ($62,000,000) Stays in Valley
Of the balance, only $13,689,500 (18% of the total) would likely be lost to the Coachella Valley, and from that figure over $1 million has already been spent on the project.
Please forward this message to friends who live in the Coachella Valley part or full time. It is important that basic facts get a widespread public airing.
If you wish to contact me, please direct your message to: GDanaHobart@aol.com
Mayor, Rancho Mirage