CALEXICO — The city of Calexico held its first town hall meeting Wednesday, October 30, in an effort to improve communication and relations with the citizens of Calexico. The meeting gave residents the opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions.
Residents were concerned about the safety and costs of running businesses, environmental hazards of the New River, and the quality of roads throughout the city.
“One of my concerns is the business license,” said Calexico resident Alberto Alviza. “For many years, one of the things we go through as merchants is that licenses are very expensive, including inspection and people are worried about how we can come to an agreement to lower prices on business licenses. As a business person, if I have two or three business, they charge three times the amount. I think that is something that needs attention.”
“I agree when it comes to fire inspections; I feel it should be put on building owners, not workers, and that is something we should address,” said City Manager David Dale. “Something you need to understand is council can reduce fees, because the fees we have [are] outdated and were based on costs the city had in 2006. We had 204 employees are now down [to] 140 employees due the restrictions we had.”
“I don’t think it’s fair to have a lot of fire inspections; it puts a lot of burden on vendors and we will look into that,” said Mayor Bill Hodge.
Concerns about the New River, an ongoing hazard for residents, was also addressed in the meeting.
“I have concerns of the New River. I have suffered consequences from the river, the pollution that comes from it,” said Emarosa Silva. “I have heard from residents before about being sick from the New River — some of the mosquitos on the west side are terrible, it is awful, we cannot go outside, we cannot tolerate the fumes and the odor of the New River. For me, it is very dangerous.”
“We share frustration about the New River. We did get $1.4 million [for] … under-grounding the New River,” said Dale. “It has already been designed; we are waiting on the environmental part to get approved. The plan is to bypass and pump back treated wastewater, and it will be reinforced. We have $10 million secured for that project, waiting for $20 million. Based on these things, the money will be coming in the next year, and it’s looking brighter than it has before.”
Silva also addressed traffic issues.
“The roads coming from east to west are dangerous, too. Adler Street is miserable, coming to Sheridan St., McKinley St., it is dark and people almost bump into barriers coming to Cesar Chavez Blvd. There are also bad puddles; the city should do something about it.”
“Starting mid-2020 will be able to replace the rail underneath so they can have a smooth transition from east to west,” said Public Works Manager Liliana Falomir. “We are able to replace construction that will be probably start around mid-2020, and we will make sure to notify when that will be done.”