Tax break for ailing industry

In this week’s newsletter: Cannabis growers in Desert Hot Springs catch a break, crime is up slightly in Cathedral City, and more.

Welcome to Wednesday and happy Passover to all marking the occasion tonight.

Looking to give local cannabis cultivators some relief, the Desert Hot Springs City Council approved slashing taxes the city charges them for the first half of this year.

  • Councilmembers voted 4-1 during their regular meeting Tuesday evening to approve a temporary 50% tax reduction on the cultivation rate charged to growers.

  • The result will be more than $1.1 million in lost revenue, which will be made up for by dipping into the city’s Cannabis Emergency Reserve, which currently contains more than $5 million. 

  • The vote follows meetings staff held recently with several local cultivators who voiced concern over their ability to continue operation under current market conditions.

  • Bottom line: The vote came after a discussion of how best to help cannabis growers in the city in the long term. Staff noted that while the initial demand for cannabis-related development in the city was strong, the industry has experienced a lag in growth.

Indio affordable housing open for applicants 

The waitlist is now open for the apartments at Arroyo Crossings in Indio, one of several projects that should provide hundreds of affordable housing units for residents of the city.

  • The 400-unit project at the corner of Highway 111 and Jefferson Street will be built in several phases. The first group of 184 units is expected to open next February, with the next 216 units completed the following summer.

  • Additional apartment projects in Indio include the 180-unit Avenue 44 Apartments off Golf Center Parkway and an unnamed 384-unit complex long Highway 111 just west of Dr. Carreon Boulevard.

  • The Arroyo Crossings developer describes the complex as an “attainable multi-family community” with a mix of studios and apartments up to three bedrooms. 

  • Details: Anyone interested in signing up for the waitlist should visit their website here. You can also view floor plans here.

Chief: Crime up slightly in Cathedral City

Cathedral City Police Chief George Crum provided members of the City Council with updated crime statistics for 2022, as well as some recommendations for budget adjustments.

  • At last week’s City Council meeting, Crum said violent crimes such as homicides, rape, and aggravated assaults decreased from 2021 to 2022, but property crimes including burglary and larceny were up, leading to a 5% overall increase in crime in the city. 

  • Larceny had the biggest increase — at 30% — because it is such a broad category, Crum explained. It can apply to people who steal a 12-pack of beer, commit identity theft, or write fraudulent checks, among other crimes. 

  • Bottom line: Chief Crum wants to increase education in the community about theft prevention and looks forward to a new crime-mapping tool launching in May. The full police budget will be released at the next city council meeting.  

Church members lend helping hand

Volunteers and members of Destiny Church in Cathedral City spent last Saturday beautifying some homes with open code violations in the city.

  • More than 100 volunteers took part, some arriving as early as 6 a.m., to help repaint, rake leaves, pull weeds, and trim trees at four different homes in the city, saving the residents hundreds of dollars in fines.

  • Padron Construction and Dantor Construction both donated their equipment and services.

  • Why it matters: David Martin, outreach lead for Destiny Church, said the goal of the annual event was connection, “We want people to know each other and be involved in each other’s lives.”

In other news

The driver of a vehicle that plunged into an irrigation canal on Tuesday was reportedly in stable condition after being transported to a local hospital.

If you need a reminder that the streets in Indio will be a bit of a mess this month, this is it. City officials announced more road closures on Tuesday to allow for setup of the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals.

Residents of La Quinta met this week with the developer of the Talus luxury resort to share their concerns

What to watch for

Ready to bo back in time in Palm Desert?

You don’t need to own a classic car to enjoy all the festivities that “cruise night” on El Paseo has to offer. Everyone is welcome for the last iteration of this monthly event until the fall.

Details: The event will happen on Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. in Palm Desert. If you don’t own a car to cruise with, come and check out the other cars and meet the owners. 

⌛ And finally …

There’s some happy news for a pair of tortoises who have a new home.

  • Carole Rickert of Indio is moving to Tucson to be closer to family, but she’s leaving a pair of desert tortoises, Whistle and Teddy, in good hands here in the valley.

  • Rickert’s late husband, Dennis, worked as a lineman for a local phone company, and found both of the tortoises — believed to be 95 and 32 years old — 30 years ago. Rickert has rescued dogs, cats, birds, and squirrels, so she was happy to take them in. “If they need help, I help them,” she said of her compassion for animals.

  • What they’re saying: “I realized that they’re both going to outlive me, so that’s when I decided I better find a home for them,” she said through tears recently. “It breaks my heart. But I know they’ll be better off at the Living Desert. All the animals there are happy.”

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