During the afternoon of February 22, 2011, the City of Hesperia conducted their regular mid-year budget review hearing.
A variety of issues were discussed but perhaps none as important as the suggested plan to repave Lemon Street, from I Avenue westerly to Santa Fe.
For several months now the city as well as the then candidates for city council, Smith and Blewett, have done a fine job of advertising the idea that the city is very short on money and that the annual road paving project would not take place. The advertising was accomplished to convince the public that the candidates were fiscally prudent and, according to Smith, the city would not spend what it doesn't have.
As a part of the budget review, city staff announced that $1.6 million dollars would be spent to repave Lemon Street, which is a street to nowhere. It ends at Santa Fe. Also, Lemon Street in part, had been repaved a few years ago.
The Mojave Water Agency (MWA) is currently constructing an underground water pipeline primarily for the benefit of Victorville, which will run under Lemon Street. Prior to the 2010 Hesperia City council election the MWA announced in front of the city council that the pipeline project was going forward and that there would be no expense to Hesperia. Hesperia staff has said that the $1.6 million is to repave the Hesperia half of Lemon Street, after the pipe is laid, and the MWA will pay the remainder.
Hesperia should not have to pay any money as the result of the MWA pipeline project. As an example, the MWA could dig a half width of the street, place the pipe in the ground, and then repave what they disturbed. Although it would be visually appealing for Hesperia to newly pave the remaining half of the street, it does NOT seem necessary.
After Lemon Street was discussed in the budget review, the City of Hesperia was bold enough to suggest that they were going to decrease sheriff and fire services to city residents because there is no money in the budget. What? Spend $1.6 million on an unnecessary street repaving and then suggest decreasing public safety?
There are several city projects that have been suggested for many years that are more important than repaving a street to nowhere. Coming to mind is the year's old need to synchronize traffic signals on Main Street and to reconstruct the old style driveways which are very difficult to turn into and out of. There are also many smaller drainage problems which could be solved with an amount smaller than $1.6 million. Each year when it rains heavily, these same drainage problems reoccur and we again spend money patching a problem which needs a solution.
The Hesperia City Council needs to seriously remind staff of the need to not spend what isn't necessary. Our city has a long history of coming up with money that was supposed to have not existed and then spending the money on projects which were not a necessary part of the budget.
The Victorville, through the MWA and the City of Hesperia, will again benefit from the expenditure of Hesperia taxpayer money is ludicrous. Remember that Hesperia spent over $30,000 last year for a traffic signal on Bear Valley Road, which is in Victorville. In the meantime, Main Street signals are not synchronized which causes unnecessary traffic overcrowding and, on occasion, road rage.
If Hesperia residents understand the above problems and contradictions, they should contact the city council members and remind them that we are in the middle of a serious economic downturn and that the expenditure of $1.6 million dollars on a road to nowhere should not be tolerated.