The Holtville City Council unanimously confirmed Bob Fischer to the city planning commission on May 28 at a meeting delayed one day owing to the Memorial Day holiday.
Fischer fills the vacancy left by former planning commissioner Mike Pacheco, who the council appointed to a council position after then-Mayor David Bradshaw resigned in April. Fischer previously served on the planning commission from 2004-05 but resigned when his wife, Laura Fischer, became city manager.
"I was honored to be asked and look forward to be serving," said Fischer.
He currently works as an environmental protection specialist for the Naval Air Facility El Centro where he has served for nearly two decades. He also serves as a member of the county Air Pollution Control Board.
"I enjoyed serving on the planning commission previously and since I'll be retiring in a year and half I am looking for something to keep busy while helping the community," he said.
Road repair is one of the highest priorities, noted Fischer, as streets "were a mess" until the recent completion of phase one of the citywide repaving project.
"In fact, the new modification to Fifth Street between Palm and Olive avenues is just two blocks from my house and I'm very happy to hear about that," he stressed. "And the Raspados Cuchis commercial/residential development is a welcome addition to Holtville. It is definitely a sound proposal."
The structure is planned for a vacant lot at 574 Holt Ave.
Meanwhile, as part of repaving phase two, City Manager Nick Wells recommended a change order for $137,236 for the contracted firm, Granite Construction, for the above-mentioned Fifth Street project.
The council unanimously approved the measure.
"Granite is starting work on phase two roads on June 10, after schools have started summer break," said Wells. "That is also the date of the next council meeting so if we waited we could not get this project included."
Along with installing an asphalt hot rubber mix, Granite will include curbs and gutters. The Family Dollar Store that has an adjacent development project underway will take care of rehabilitating the sidewalks once their project resumes construction.
In a report on city successes, Mayor Ginger Ward mentioned the Fern Street apartments development that is north of Fourth Street between Fern and Holt avenues, where surveyors already began work. The project would consist of 40 one- to three-bedroom units.
Also in development is an apartment complex at Ninth Street and Melon Road. It is in the approval process.
Ward informed council of the difficulty of getting big-box retailers to open branches in Holtville since the population is well below 10,000. But Wells noted if the city succeeds in getting the 92250 zip code to include unincorporated areas near Barbara Worth Country Club and land surrounding the Pine School, it would bring the population to 8,000 and with a bit of continuous growth the area could soon reach the 10,000 threshold to attract national retailers.
In an informational report, Kariza Preciado, financial supervisor, noted the general fund portion of the city budget has a $240,000 deficit.
But with reimbursements owed to the city by agencies such as the Detention Facility Management Fees, Strike Team (fire department) and California's Citizen Option for Public Safety within the next few weeks the deficit will be reduced to $100,000.
Additionally, transfers from surpluses in the water, sewer and transportation funds would eliminate the remaining deficit.