CALEXICO, Calif. - At a time of financial crisis, Calexico City Council voted to help the Gran Plaza Outlets by deferring nearly half a million dollars in fees. Some people are calling this a bad idea.
Calexico Economic Commissioner Ben Horton said, “Now we’re looking at to defer the fees for the gran plaza which is about five hundred thousand dollars.”
He said the city is saying no to good money but asking sacrifices of its own employees.
“They’re asked to take a cut to move the city forward. But, yet, we’re not asking the developers to come out with their fair share,” Horton said.
Council member Bill Hodge said the deferment is only temporary.
“We are not saying no to good money. We are delaying the good money in order for Phase Two of gran plaza to move along in its proper timeline,” Hodge said.
Hodge said the completion of phase two will greatly benefit the community.
“The flagship, the motherlode for economic revenue is the gran plaza,” Hodge said.
Council Member Maritza Hurtado voted against the deferment.
“There’s no protection towards the interest of our community that is at this time in a hole,” Hurtado said.
She said the agreement was untimely, the city got stuck with legal fees, and nobody from the plaza even bothered to show up at the council meeting.
“The council has not seen any financials that make any sense to know where we stand. We were going in blindly into a decision like this,” Hurtado said.
Horton said Calexico needs revenue now to save jobs that are being lost today.
“How much is too much? How much is the point where we’re giving the store away?” Horton said.