Economic commissioner says city may be defrauding downtown merchants

CALEXICO, Calif. -

Calexico’s Economic Commissioner Ben Horton said on Wednesday that the City of Calexico collects downtown business fees without delivering the services businesses are paying for.

Hundreds of downtown stores are required to pay an annual fee to the Business Improvement District (BID) to fund downtown improvements and promotions. The commissioner claims merchants have complained to him. He said they feel defrauded by the city.  He said this is just one of many irregularities he sees in the city towards merchants.

Calexico Downtown includes First, Second and Third Street, and North Imperial from First Street to Highway 98. The commissioner said he’s tried to put the BID issue on the agenda for discussion and the city has refused to discuss it publicly.

 Commissioner Horton said, "These businesses are complaining that the downtown is not moving forward, nothing is being done. But yet they don’t have the representation they are paying for in order to make that happen. In that respect, they’re being defrauded.”

We reached out to City of Calexico for comment but the city manager was not available.

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