INDIO — Troy Strange, a native son of Indio, is looking to serve a second term on the Indio City Council by keeping ahead of his sole competitor, Oscar F. Ortiz.
Strange, 48, is the occupation-director of planning and public works for the Desert Recreation District where he oversees the design and construction for new parks and facilities. He also oversees all facilities, parks repairs and maintenance.
He has maintained residence in Indio for more than 35 years. He left only to attend college and seek employment for 13 years.
There are two seats open on the City Council in the November election. Each seat is a four-year term.
- In District 2, incumbent Michael H. Wilson is challenged by Waymond Fermon
- In District 4, incumbent Strange is being challenged by political newcomer Ortiz.
- Councilmember Elaine Holmes is unopposed in her bid for re-election.
All candidates were given identical questions. Following are the questions and responses from Strange.
Uken Report (UR): Are you liberal or conservative and what does that mean?
Strange: I would consider myself both. Most often, it is the issue that will determine whether my opinion or action may lean liberal or conservative. Each issue is evaluated on its merit.
UR: Why specifically are you running?
Strange: To steward the success of programs and projects initiated during my term on Council and specifically, to further the development of programs that address; Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Economic Development, Public Safety, Community Outreach, and Fiscal Responsibility. The next four years will be critical to much of what has already been initiated in these areas.
For example: 1) Affordable Housing – continue to look at creative means and methods to offset rising costs of land, labor, materials, that would make housing options more attainable for all prospective home buyers; 2) Economic Development – continue the recruitment and retention of business as well as education and training programs to develop a skilled workforce; 3) Homelessness – continue to enhance the Community Outreach Resource Program (CORP).
The stakeholders of the program include County of Riverside District Attorney’s Office, County of Riverside Public Defender’s Office, Superior Courts, County of Riverside Probation, County of Riverside Mental Health and several other non-profit private organizations who formulate a Community Outreach Court, which allows low level pending criminal matters to be dismissed and are successfully complete a series of established programs, designed to help reform and integrate them back into the community as a productive and contributing member of society); 4) Public Safety- expand staff, provide ongoing training for officers and enhance community Policing Programs; 5) Community Outreach- continue neighborhood cleanups, youth rallies, town hall meetings, and arts and cultural programs; and finally 6) Fiscal Responsibility- continue growing the reserves increasing revenues, and develop efficient management policies that address growing city operational costs.UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Indio, why and what are you doing – or will you do – to correct it?
UR: What is the single biggest issue facing Indio, why and what are you doing – or will you do – to correct it?
Strange: What? Addressing the rising cost of operating and maintaining the city.
Why? When I look at our city, I think about how we will address current/future trends in economic development, our aging infrastructure needs, our growing population, our social needs, and other unforeseen challenges. I’m concerned about our demands on city resources and our ability to respond organizationally, fiscally and programmatically. This is why I am adamant about sound and prudent fiscal policies and practices. I want to ensure our residents that we are reliable stewards of the city’s revenues and that we can administer fiscal policies that address; pension liabilities, aging parks and infrastructure, and increases in staffing/personnel expenses. Although, the city’s revenue has increased by $22 million over the past four years, we are still challenged by growing operational expenses. Additionally, increased Internet sales are having a detrimental impact on retail sales tax revenues.
What we are doing? The city has initiated an economic development strategy that will focus on:
- Strategic Marketing and Participation in Target industries i.e. Hospitality, Retail, Medical, Education, Industrial, and Technology
- Partnering with existing Workforce Development Programs to develop a highly-educated, skilled and adaptable workforce.
- Increased support for local Small Business and Entrepreneurs- local vendor preferences, one-stop permitting, shared-work spaces and incubators
- Diversifying the City’s Tax Base by aggressively seeking and attracting industrial and warehousing/distribution businesses that have substantial business-to-business or other non-retail taxable sales potential.
UR: Where (in what area) do you think you can make the biggest difference?
Strange: Because of my work experience in the public and private sectors, I offer our residents a practical understanding and success in relationship building, firsthand community service activities (specifically with youth programs), and credibility with other local, regional and state leaders. I am confident that I can continue to succeed in connecting the right people and resources for the benefit of our community. I am currently the Chairman of the Board for the Sunline Transit Agency. I serve as the Chairperson for the Technology/Business/Education Committee of CVEP. I also serve as a member of the City’s 2×2 Committee for DSUSD, CVUSD, and COD. Therefore, the area I believe I can have the biggest impact, would be in programs that serve Indio’s youth and young adults. This demographic is the future of Indio.
My primary motivation, as a council member, is to respond effectively with programs and policies that ensure the ongoing health of their community, provide them with opportunities that ensure their prosperity and further address their social and cultural needs.
 Indio Police Department was awarded a $ 1,949,000 grant in 2017 by the State of California Department of Finance. The funding will add new resources, including a behavioral health specialist; another quality of life Police Officer who will help facilitate the health and safety of the homeless members of the community and a transportation van. $ 780,000 of the funding will be allocated to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission as our collaborative partner serving the homeless in Indio.
 Since 2014 the City’s Financial Reserves increased by 7 percent and the Annual Revenue increase by $22 million.