Messages from the City Council Members.
A message from Councilwoman Kimball.
November 6, 2015
McDermont Fieldhouse: Drain or Gain?
Since its opening approximately seven years ago, there has always been the question of whether Lindsay could support a 22 million dollar City owned and operated facility; and also whether it would prove to be the economic development engine and quality of life jewel it was designed to be, or simply a big drain on our small city coffers.
The answer is in: McDermont Fieldhouse is a success, and on multiple fronts. It also needs continued and increased support from us, the Lindsay community, to reach the much greater potential that still exists.
At a recent City Council meeting, in the context of community alarm that the facility was going to be underfunded and thus headed for failure, all members of the council affirmed that they do not want to close McDermont Fieldhouse. At that same meeting, an extensive presentation was made by Recreation Director Clint Ashcraft on McDermont operations. Of particular interest was a focus on the 11% of McDermont’s budget which is anticipated to come from City general fund transfer this year. This may sound like a drain, but it actually represents a gain. This is because McDermont now operates our city recreation programs. All cities incur Recreation costs paid for out of their general fund. For us those costs are being steadily reduced each year (and are now about half what they once were) while the quality of what is being offered has greatly increased, thanks to McDermont and the outside money it brings in to subsidize operations. The potential still exists for McDermont Fieldhouse to support all City Recreation and even more someday, and that is an enviable position to be in.
Other important points made in the presentation:
McDermont is providing entrance jobs for youth and young adults, helping them develop the skills they need to be successful in life. 480 so far. Value to our youth? Priceless.
McDermont is helping local businesses, which in turn brings in more sales tax revenue. It brings thousands of people into town who would never come here otherwise. Many purchase food and gasoline and so forth while they are here.
McDermont is a true community collaboration which brings together all elements of our diverse town. McDermont partners include the Chamber of Commerce, the School District, the Hospital District (for health and wellness programs) local service clubs, and local churches. All our school children have some free access to McDermont whether it is through participation in afterschool programs, free admission holidays, Summer Night Lights events, or donations.
Our innovative “Get Up and Move” program brings all seventh graders in for a field trip day of education and experience in healthy living, good nutrition, and active fun. The value of helping even a handful of kids avoid chronic life-style diseases? Again, priceless.
The McDermont Fitness Center rivals or exceeds any fitness center in the state of California, including our largest cities. And it is an incredible bargain. Most of us have no idea how lucky we are to have this facility. Passionate and highly skilled personal trainers work with everyone from children to the very elderly to improve their lives. The gym trains and tones our school athletes, who have definitely stepped up their game since it opened, as well as their parents and grandparents.
McDermont offers attractions found few other places. They include a climbing wall, flow rider/indoor surfing, laser tag, soon to re-open zip line, packinghouse arcade, two full size indoor soccer arenas as well as basketball and volleyball courts. This makes it a highly desirable location for sports tournaments and training camps. The rest of the family has something to do while little Johnny or Susie wait their turn in the tournament! It is such a novel idea that it can even overcome our being off the beaten track, far from airports and freeway exits.
McDermont is helping to re-brand our town as a positive, FIT place to live and work. We are the fitness center of the whole region. Whatever your age, whatever your income, come to Lindsay and you will find help, support, and encouragement to meet your fitness goals. All that McDermont offers; all that the Wellness Center offers—including an outstanding aquatic center; a walkable community; exercise equipment in a newly refurbished City Park, new gyms and sports field on school campuses, a beautiful library, an active cultural arts community; it’s all here folks! Time to count our blessings, make what we have more important to us than what we lack, and spread the good word.
My deepest and sincerest thanks to so many who have made it happen.
Council Member Pam Kimball
A message from Councilwoman Kimball.
June 20, 2013
Often residents have questions concerning the bill they receive each month from the City. Staff at City Hall will make every effort to be helpful and courteous in answering your questions. Perhaps you can also find some answers here.
Am I being fairly charged? The answer to this question begins with thoroughly understanding your city utilities bill. The bill includes three monthly charges for three different services: disposal (refuse, trash pick-up), sewer (toilets), and water. There is also a line for the utility user’s tax, which helps repair roads damaged when sewer and water lines must be dug up and fixed or replaced, and when garbage trucks cause wear and tear. There is a flat fee to provide each of the three services. For a typical single family home, disposal (refuse) is $21.59, sewer is $30.00, and water is $19.97 for the first 500 cubic feet (3,740 gallons) for a 5/8” water meter. These fees do not change even if no one takes out trash, flushes a toilet, or turns on water all month, as long as the service is connected. In addition, our water is metered, and we are charged for any water used over and above the 500 cubic feet allocated for the flat fee. So you could be paying much more, but will never pay less, than $19.97 for water alone. The number of people in your home, the landscape watering you do, and whether or not you have leaky pipes all make a difference in your costs.
I always paid my bill on time. Now I’m being told I’m delinquent. What happened? There has been a recent change to the due date on the city bill. Previously they were not delinquent until several days into the following month. Payment is now due by the end of the month in which we receive our bill. This means it needs to be paid before we get our next bill—which is how all the rest of the world does it. We had an odd system and it was confusing and needed to be changed. In fact, we were required to change it. City Hall understands this has thrown some people off, and has been making allowances while everyone adjusts to the new system.
Why do we pay more for water than some neighboring cities? Other cities have historically had an abundant supply of clean well water, which is inexpensive to provide. Therefore many cities have not metered water use, and charge only a flat monthly fee. This is changing in most places as the need for conservation grows, and as dropping water tables concentrate contaminates in the water—requiring both deeper wells and water treatment facilities. Costs of water are going up and becoming more similar to Lindsay’s. Lindsay is not blessed with abundant well water. Most of our wells have been closed due to high levels of contaminates such as nitrates. Some years back we bonded to build a water treatment plant so that we could accept water from the Friant-Kern canal to supplement the two usable wells west of town. We are still paying off costs for the water treatment plant and large storage tank on Towt’s Hill, and this is reflected in our baseline water charges. We must also pay for the water purchased from Friant (and hope, in dry years like this, that enough for our needs is available!), and the costs of treating it. We must continue testing our existing wells, blending and treating as needed to keep that water within safe drinking water standards. Our costs are higher, so our bills have to be higher than other places.
My next post will concern a water rate and feasibility study being done to ensure that we are charging the right amount to cover costs and no more; and that we are doing all we can as a city to secure our water supply into the future.
A message from Councilwoman Kimball.
May 23, 2013
Street Repair and Maintenance
Due to decades of underfunding and deferred maintenance, many of our city streets are in poor shape. Ten years ago the city council took a pro-active approach to more adequately fund street repairs by creating a community supported utility user's tax. The county Yt cent sales tax known as Measure R, passed in 2007, has also provided more money for transportation projects. During the past decade with these revenues in place, over 50% of our streets and roads have been improved, including much of Hermosa, Tulare Road, and the downtown area. A street projects map here on the website shows what has been done so far, and what still needs to be accomplished.
While projects have slowed these past few difficult years, they have not stopped; and we are getting back to the point financially where more can be done. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being allocated in this next year's budget cycle for street improvements.
One project that citizens will notice this summer is maintenance work on some of our busiest roads. These roads have been significantly improved this past decade but are starting to show signs of wear and tear. They include Hermosa, Sweet Brier, and Elmwood Avenue. It is important and highly cost effective to preserve our investment in these streets with micro-surfacing maintenance. This will insure that good streets do not deteriorate to the point where very costly repairs are needed, as in the past.
Some will question why money is being spent on good streets when others are in far worse shape. The answer is that bad streets are not being ignored; rather their repair is so costly that typically only a few can be worked on each year. It can take hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair two blocks of some streets such as Apia by the Olive Bowl, which is also scheduled for repair this summer. The same amount of money can be used over many blocks for maintenance work that will save a lot of money down the road.
The City Council has unanimously agreed that both repairs and maintenance of our streets and roads are important to pursue as fully as revenues allow.