Taxpayers Will Pay for Part of Desert Fashion Plaza
Taxpayers and business owners are drawing their lines.
And its coming down to measure J-- a one percent sales tax hike in Palm Springs.
The city's plans for a new mall at Desert Fashion Plaza depend on the taxpayer's paying for it.
The battle lines are drawn, and the stickers are coming out-- No on Measure J, and Yes on Measure J.
Part of the money from the tax hike would go to helping developer John Wessman tear down the old mall, and build a new one.
"It sounds like John Wessman is too big to fail, so since he's too big to fail the poor and the seniors, the city council has to tax them to take it from the poor and give it to the rich," said Bob Richmond, former chair of the Coachella Valley Republican Party.
Empty storefronts haunt the center of downtown Palm Springs. Desert Fashion Plaza has been described as an eyesore by some neighboring business owners.
"If you're going to have a city grow, and be successful, especially in these times, someone has to pay for it, and a one percent sales tax is the fairest most decent way to do it," said Jerry Keller, owner of Lulu California Bistro.
The city is working on a contract that says taxpayers will foot 43 million dollars to help build the new mall
"Palm Springs taxpayers association and many others are seeking for a vote no on measure J, and ask the city to go back to the negotiating table and do a purchase agreement which is 50 50 percent for the city and the developer and not 98 percent for the developer and two percent for the city," said Donald Prell, who recently formed the Palm Springs Taxpayers Association.
Taxpayer dollars would buy half the parcels, the parking, and vacant room for possible expansion of the museum.
"I believe the development agreement buys us a lot more than a shopping mall, that is not what this is about, we're creating an infastructure for our downtown, expansion space and sites for the museum, free parking, everyone here loves that, we have to pay for it, why not pay for it with our own money," said Mr. Hevling, who was wearing a Yes on Measure J sticker.
Late Wednesday night the city council voted yes on the financing agreement with Wessman to put taxpayer dollars into the new mall.
They also voted yes on an oversight committee for measure J.