News Update!!: Needles, CA: Latest information on the City of Needles.
ZachNews has received the latest information from the City of Needles on the status of closures, fire department annexation, water and wastewater rate increase, infrastructure conditions, closures, interested new businesses, and Route 66 in Needles, California.
** As of Tuesday, February 16th, 2016: **
– Camdan Recycling Closure:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The City asked for a proposal from the local waste hauler on providing that service. Awaiting their reply. City stands ready to issue whatever permits are needed for a new owner.”
Camdan Recycling closed on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 and on Saturday, January 30th, 2016, an action was held at Camdan Recycling.
** You can read more about the Camdan Recycling closure at following ZachNews on WordPress website address: **
– Taco Bell Closure:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “Taco Bell has not shared their business plans with the City, nor are they required to do so. The City has been working with the land owner to market the store to other franchisees”
Fans of Taco Bell in the community are deeply sad that Taco Bell may close in March 2016.
Employees at Carl’s Jr., next door to Taco Bell, are sad that people they know who work at Taco Bell will be missed when they’re closed.
An exact date of closure is still unknown, but ZachNews has been informed that it will be sometime in March 2016.
– Burger Hut Closure:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “Code Enforcement has an active enforcement action underway with citations being issued and fines being levied. Our action is limited to the structure. The fence does not constitute a violation.”
Burger Hut, located at 701 West Broadway in Downtown Needles, California, has been closed and left abandoned since a powerful monsoon storm with gusty winds blow the roof of the popular burger restaurant back on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014.
The owner of Burger Hut have said to their customers, the City of Needles, and to ZachNews that they will rebuild and reopen Burger Hut, but nothing other then a metal gate around the property and parking lot area has been put up.
Many people in and around the community want something to be done with the property and want the metal gate to come down.
– Fire Department Annexation:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “On February 4, 2016, Vice Mayor Williams and I met with LAFCo’ Technical Review Committee to review our application for annexation into the Fire District and Parcel Tax District 5. Other attendees included representatives from County Counsel Office, Administrative Office, Fire, Supervisor’s Office, and LAFCo staff. They had earlier sent a letter notifying the City that the application was complete. This was the first substantive review of the matter. LAFCo 2/4/2015 They informed the City that the annexation hearing may occur in June or July and will likely not be completed with a final decision until September. They wanted assurance that the existing service contract will be extended from its May expiration until the conclusion of their process. Chief Chamberlin and Hartwig assured LAFCo that they would continue to provide fire services.There are 2069 parcels that will be subject to the Parcel Tax, if approved.The annexation includes Native American reservation lands and LAFCo will notify them of the request. While tribal lands are currently serviced by the City contract they do not pay towards the cost, nor will they upon annexation. LAFCo is requesting consent.The 5 year forecast of revenue and staffing are adequate for LAFCo to make an affirmative finding in favor of the annexation. The parcel tax cannot begin until FY 2017-18, In order to begin in 2016-17 the process would have needed to conclude by April 2016. Therefore the City will need to continue to budget for fire service in the upcoming budget. All property owners will be noticed individually, there are 1050 voters down 200 since the 2014 election. 760 people can terminate the process.LAFCo suggests maintaining the Fire Services Committee in order to provide testimony during the process. LAFCo Staff Concerns Inactive Public Safety PERS Plan. They were informed that the City was current on PERS obligations including those that once worked for the Needles Police Department. They questioned whether the Needles Volunteer Fire Chief was a PERS participant. I am asking Sylvia to determine and will report the results. Apparently their recent annexation of the City of San Bernardino into the County Fire District dealt with a City that had failed to remain current and required a $40 M payment to PES as a condition of the annexation. Title to Fire Station seems unclear to them. Cheryl will confirm that the City has clear ownership.County Counsel has determined that there is no environmental impact of the annexation.”
**** Note: LAFCo is the Local Agency Formation Commission for San Bernardino. ****
– Water and Wastewater Rate Increase:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The Utility Board has developed the funding plan for the water and wastewater utilities and has provided notice to all of the customers on what the rates are now, proposed, the purpose of the funding and how to get more information. The hearing before the Utility Board is scheduled for March 15 and the City Council shortly thereafter. In order to increase public information the NPUA is holding a series of community meetings to answer questions and provide information. The dates, times and place is noted on the notices that were sent. The water and wastewater rate revenue can only be used for water and wastewater purposes; debt, operating, and capital replacement purposes. The funds cannot be used for any other, purpose, such as parks, police, fire etc. The first two meetings have been attended by approximately 20 customers. Additionally a number of individual and group meetings have been held. Anyone with questions, is encouraged to call City Hall. For the typical single family home electric rates are going to decrease $25.81/month while water is going to increase $18.50 and Wastewater is going to increase $1.87/month for a net savings of $5.44/month for the typical single family customer. The Utility Board further reduced the electric rates for the typical single family home by approximately $57.77/month for the next 3-4 months. The majority of the water and sewer facilities and pipes were placed in operation in the 1950s with a life expectancy of 50 years. They have been used for 66 years now and are rapidly deteriorating requiring costly repairs. During 2016 at least 200 breaks in the water and sewer pipes are expected and nearly 180 occurred last year. That is nearly 1 for every work day.”
– What’s being done to address or to help keep businesses in our community remain open and not close up?
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “You know we have sent flyers to 3000 home builders in the southwest encouraging them to consider Needles for a residential or resort development.”
– How’s our infrastructure conditions, related to power, water, and sewer lines, around Needles, California and if they’re in need of replacement, where are they located and when?
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The Utility Board and Council approved the attached capital improvements plan listing projects to be undertaken in the next 5 years.”
– What new businesses are being talked to and are planning to open up here in the community?
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “We continue to have ongoing contact with those on the list that I provided you.”
** You can read the list of ongoing business contacts at following ZachNews on WordPress website address: **
– New AutoZone Store:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “An auto parts store is working to determine permitting requirements for a store at the east end shopping center.”
– New Movie Theater:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The City did put into contact with the east end shopping center a party that expressed an interest in a movie theater. To the best of my knowledge nothing serious has materialized yet. It is not unusual for an “idea to opening” to take a year as leases are negotiated, financing arranged, licenses and permits secured.”
– Route 66 Marketing Plan:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The City participated in the development of the Route 66 Marketing Plan. The Promise zone that we are joining in the application on is aimed at securing Route 66 oriented economic development.”
** You can read the Route 66 Marketing Plan report at following National Center for Preservation Technology and Training website address: **
– Amtrak Train Station:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The last thing to be done is to install the time lock on the doors. The City has engaged a locksmith to do that work. If everything goes well the Amtrak could be operating out of the El Garces within a month.”
– Renting El Garces Space:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “We continue to have a number of daily rentals, but no one has come forward to locate their business there.
– City of Needles Budget:
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “The Mid-Year Budget Review has been completed and a presentation of the results will be made at the next City Council meeting.”
ZachNews will be monitoring all of these projects, possible new businesses, and closures happening in Needles, California and will have updates as soon as new information and details come in.