Discretionary spending among members of the City Council varies significantly but a majority are in sync when it comes to children and senior citizens

CATHEDRAL CITY — Money flows where the heart goes in this community and for a majority of City Councilors, their hearts belong to children and senior citizens, according to discretionary spending reports,

Three members of the City Council — Ernesto Gutierrez, Rita Lamb and Nancy Ross — donated  portions of their $5,000 in discretionary spending (also called Community Assistance Funds) for FY 2020-2021 to the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City and three — Mark Carnevale, Ross and Lamb — donated to the Cathedral City Senior Center. For the current fiscal year 2020-2021, each councilmember had $5,000 in Community Assistance Funds to spend as he or she wanted, That level of funding will remain the same in the 2021-22 Fiscal Year, which started July 1, 2021, according to Communications Manager Chris Parman.

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club is “to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive responsible and caring citizens.”

The mission of the Cathedral City Senior Center is to improve the quality of life for seniors 55+ living in Cathedral City and surrounding communities. The purpose of the Center is to assist all seniors, from the active to the home-bound, by providing services that channel energy, relieve suffering and protect health, happiness and well-being.

Mayor Raymond Gregory and Gutierrez each donated $1,825 to the David Vasquez Monument.

Snapshot of Discretionary Spending in CC

David Vasquez Monument

In November 2020, a memorial that dedicated the ballpark at Panorama Park to Cathedral City Police Officer David Vasquez was completely restored thanks to money contributed by the Cathedral City Police Officers Association and discretionary funds from by Gregory and Gutierrez.  Officer David Vasquez was killed in the line of duty on October 28, 1988.

The memorial pedestal, located in the grassy area near the ballpark, became eroded over time and was in need of repair.  In response, the City developed and installed a new memorial pedestal with the original bronze plaque.  The new pedestal is similar to those used in our downtown area, such as the one naming the “Rainbow Crossing” after former Mayor Gregory Pettis.

A future rededication of the plaque will be scheduled post COVID-19 restrictions and possibly in conjunction with the dedication of the council-approved Public Arts Commission’s Public Safety Sculpture titled, “Passages,” created by Artist Steve “Shig” Shigley, which honors the sacrifices of law enforcement and first responders, according to a city website.  This new sculpture will be installed on the northeast corner of Panorama Park.

Snapshot of Discretionary Spending in CC

Discretionary Spending in Cathedral City

Councilors also used their discretionary spending money to support Operation Safe House, Cathedral City Evening Rotary, Cathedral City High School choir, Transgender Health and Wellness Center, CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, The Salvation Army and Lift to Rise.

You may see all the organizations that received donations and the amount by clicking here.

District Improvement Funds are new for 2021-22 Fiscal Year. In June, the City Council adopted a resolution that includes a line item of $15,000 for each Councilmember identified as district improvements.

District Improvement Funds. District Improvement Funds may be spent on one or more of following eligible expenses, either within a Councilmembers District or within any portion of the City’s boundary, as it may change from time to time.

Funds budgeted for improvements may be spent on the following:

  • Improvements to neighborhood parks or public facilities that are not included elsewhere in the City budget. Such improvements may include but are not limited to additional trees, lights, picnic tables or benches, security improvements, or exercise equipment.
  • Purchase of recreational or sports equipment for use at public parks and facilities.
  • Entry monuments in the public right of way to designate neighborhoods and street sign toppers to designate neighborhoods.
  • Informational flyers or mailers to inform the public.
  • Small neighborhood or community events.
  • Emergency preparedness supplies for broad distribution to the public.

Individual Councilmembers may directly authorize the expenditure of available funds from their District Improvement Fund for any of the uses identified as allowable in the list above. Under no circumstances may improvement funding be utilized for improvements to private property or for any other use that would constitute a gift of public funds under California Law. All applicable laws, regulations and ordinances related to public works of improvements and purchasing shall be followed.

This money will be tracked is through the City’s Finance Department similar to any other city expense

Image Sources

  • Boys & Girls: Boys & Girls of Cathedral City