Volume 40 | July 2020
Mayor Pro Tem
Dear Indio Neighbors,

I am sorry to say my City Manager column will be brief this month.  Right before I’d have written it last week, I was afflicted by what is I believe, my 18th kidney stone — and regrettably the first I was unable to pass on my own. So I ended up in the hospital for two days getting GREAT medical care. But I lost all interest in doing writing! A kidney stone will do that to you!

So while I feel better about life now, I cannot hold up the important news in this newsletter any longer. Thus, a short column.

We are all very concerned about the ongoing increases in COVID-19 cases. Please, please be careful. Wear the masks unless you are among the few who cannot for medical reasons. Wear them not because you are ordered to, but because it is the right thing to do. And please try to avoid crowds. After being in the hospital for two days I have an even greater appreciation for the brave, dedicated souls among us who are doing medical and other first line services. These are the people getting exposed the most. We owe them so much!

Count me among those who are unhappy by the use of illegal fireworks in our community. It is stupid and crazy that so many people think this is OK. We will keep looking for ways to enforce this more effectively. We had some successes this year, but not enough. And our poor pets! I appreciate that people were looking for fun and patriotism after a terrible three months. I am just disappointed that people choose to do it with illegal fireworks that so much of the population is offended by.

The good news again this week is that business investment is still knocking at Indio’s door. We have hope for our economic future. This is a tough time, but your belief in your community is a huge part of the equation. Investors like to choose communities that believe in themselves. We do and it shows. And it sells. 

As we go forward with our economic development opportunities, one of our City Council's primary goals is that the benefits of this investment need to include equitable distribution across our entire community. No city can claim to be a great community if neighborhoods are left behind. It is an important goal that we want to keep focused on this year as we work to build back an economy that serves the whole community!

We wish you and your families a safe and sane Summer full of great family and community caring. Thank you for being the best Indio we can be.

Mark Scott
City Manager

Valley communities go head-to-head in the life-saving department July 1 - August 31 during LifeStream Blood Bank’s Eighth Annual Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge.

The Nine Cities initiative aims to bring greater awareness to the need for local blood donation, especially during summer months. This year, to encourage donations and help identify potential COVID convalescent plasma donors, blood will also be tested for the COVID-19 antibody.

Nine Cities Challenge bragging rights are on the line, with awards being given to the community that collects the most blood at drives within city limits; the community that hosts the most successful drive; and the community with the highest participation rate per total population (minimum 1 percent required).

The City of Indio took top honors from 2015-2018, but was knocked off its perch last summer by La Quinta. The City of Indio's "official" drive this year will be held at the Indio Teen Center (81678 Avenue 46) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 30, but blood can be donated toward the Indio total at any time during the designated period.

 “With the effects of COVID-19 still being felt, including a critically low blood supply and many local patients having to wait for treatments that require blood transfusions, the success of this year’s ‘challenge’ is especially vital,” said Rick Axelrod, MD, LifeStream’s president, CEO and medical director. “Since this additional factor is a hard reality, we expanded the challenge to two months, giving residents more opportunities to donate for their city and assist their loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues in need.”

For appointments call (800) 879-4484 or visit lstream.org/9cities and designate "Indio" as your city.

Since 2018, the Indio Police Department has been working to replace its 22 year old, Computer-Aided Dispatch/Records Management System (CAD/RMS). A CAD/RMS system is the backbone of a modern police department, that helps manage everything from sending officers to calls for service, to case management, data research and report writing for case filings. Due to advances in technology, as well as ever-increasing demands on police departments, our 22 year old CAD/RMS system could no longer meet our needs. After months of evaluating several vendors that specialize in CAD/RMS systems for police agencies, and with the assistance of an outside project manager and the approval of Indio’s City Council, SOMA Global was selected as our new CAD/RMS computer system.  
SOMA Global will help streamline police services by connecting to other cloud based systems, providing multiple system interfaces, and interoperability with other local agencies in order to promptly compile data research. This will reduce the current time needed to conduct investigations and write reports. It will also provide advanced analytics for crime analysis, performance metrics, and real-time crime trends. These resources will also assist our officers with solving crimes in a more efficient manner, allowing them more time to patrol our streets.
“This upgrade will enhance our 9-1-1 services and how the public connects to our dispatch center," said Indio PD Dispatch Supervisor Lori Brown, who serves on the southern California regional committee for the state Next Generation 911 project. "SOMA Global will help us connect our dispatching software with the State’s NextGen911 cloud based 911 services that will be implemented statewide by 2021. The new CAD/RMS will also easily adapt to future technology updates and changes, enabling us to stay up to date with current trends.”
SOMA Global is a cloud-based system, with a projected department-wide implementation timeline of six to nine months, which is half the installation time of other traditional software programs. The Indio Police Department’s motto is “Our Community…Our Commitment” and we look forward to bringing the public safety benefits of innovative, real-time data effectiveness to the citizens of Indio as we move forward our new SOMA Global CAD/RMS system. 

A California Lottery player who purchased a Powerball ticket in Indio is now a millionaire! The player purchased a ticket worth $1,454,675 (less federal taxes). The ticket matched five of the six winning numbers (67-10-31-63-41) from a June draw, missing only the red Powerball number (5).
The winning ticket was purchased at Ralphs Grocery Store, located at 49908 Jefferson Street in Indio. We will not know the identity of the winner until that person claims their prize and the ticket is verified by the California Lottery.

The retailer will also receive an estimated $7,273 in commission for selling the winning ticket.


For the second year in a row, a teacher from Indio was selected as one of four 2021 Riverside County Teachers of the year. Not only has Allison Cyr taught at Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary for more than six years, she is also a graduate of Indio High School.

Born to be a Teacher
Cyr comes from a family of educators. Her mother works at a local school, her sister teaches third grade in a neighboring school district, and her grandmother and aunt are also teachers. "My grandmother taught me that a little kindness goes a long way, and the importance of a giving spirit."

The process to become "Teacher of the Year" involved two rounds of interviews and teaching a lesson on Zoom. 

"My principal said he wanted to have a meeting with me on Zoom, and when I logged on, there were all of our Superintendents!" Cyr described. 

Positive attitude
"I'm very passionate about what I do, and I believe that one person can make a difference, and I go in to work every day, looking at, 'How can I make this day even better than the day before?'"

Twenty4Change and Community Service
Beyond her work with students in the classroom, Cyr created a program, called "Twenty4Change," with the mission of providing $20 or 20 minutes to change a life. She uses her platform as a teacher to create community service projects to ignite compassion "not just for those around you, but even for strangers. You never know what your story is going to do for someone else."
In the ultimate act of generosity, Cyr also donated a kidney to a teacher at Indio High School to save his life.  

While Desert Recreation District (DRD) is working hard at reopening the Indio Community Center and beginning programming again, changing circumstances at the state and county level have not made this possible yet. Since information is changing so frequently, DRD is continuing to send updates through email communications, as well as posting on their social media sites. "We thank you for your continued understanding as we get our team members in place and ensure all steps are completed to reopen our doors responsibly," said Kevin Kalman, DRD General Manager.

In order to ensure safe, clean facilities and continue programs, Desert Recreation District (DRD) is considering placing a measure on a future ballot to replace the current assessment paid by Indio property owners. If approved by Indio voters, the measure would allow DRD to continue providing affordable, quality programs and access to community facilities. It would replace the current assessment that varies in amount across the City to fund these services, with one special tax, equitable among all Indio property owners.  Take the survey here.

The Indio Youth Advisory Council, better known as YAC, is currently accepting applications for the 2020/21 term. YAC Members must reside in the City of Indio and be in grades 9-12. YAC is the city’s youth leadership group which provides youth the opportunity to learn more about local government. YAC members attend bi-monthly city council meetings, and participate in various community service projects throughout the city. In essence, YAC is the voice of Indio youth. The application deadline is August 28, 2020 and an application can be found at:  https://cityofindio.seamlessdocs.com/f/yac_app

Due to overwhelming demand and support for senior citizens in our area, the Indio Senior Center is fortunate to announce a second community Care Package Giveaway. 
This drive-by event for seniors 55 and older will be held from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020 at the Indio Senior Center located at 45700 Aladdin St. 
“We understand the impact these care drives have in our community, said Argelia Jimenez, director of the Senior Center. “Although the center currently does not have a reopen date, the center continues to reach out to our seniors.”
A number of local businesses and organizations volunteered their time and donated funds and supplies to help assemble 500 care packages for the June 12th drive, including Friends of the Indio Senior Center, Elite Professionals Referral Agency, Bilhartz Desert Insurance Agency, La Botica Pharmacy, Forest Lawn, and Primerica Financial Services-- Avila & Associates. 
“We ran out of care packages before the four hour window was up last month, signaling COVID-19’s effects on the basic needs of our area’s seniors,” said Jimenez. She thanked all who were able to help, and credits them for the success of the last event.
Donations of non-perishable food, face masks, hand sanitizers, water, sun hats/visors, sunscreen, and any items that will help make seniors more comfortable during the hot weather will be accepted through July 13th. The previous care packages also contained items like toilet paper, chapstick, a resistance band to work out from home, and a deck of cards. To contribute these feel-good items, or make a donation, please call (760) 391-4170 or email  seniorcenter@indio.org  

It's election time in the City of Indio, with a total of four seats on the ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Municipal Election.

  • City Council Member, District 1 (4-year term)
  • City Council Member, District 5 (4-year term)
  • City Clerk, At-Large (4-year term)
  • City Treasurer, At-Large (4-year term)
The nomination period to take out papers for any of these seats is Monday, July 13, 2020, 8:00 a.m. – Friday, August 7, 2020, 5:00 p.m.
Potential Candidates must be a U.S. Citizen and registered to vote in the district of interest. Residents interested in running for office are encouraged to contact the City Clerk's Office early for an appointment to get all the required paperwork and filing deadlines. Please email City Clerk Administrator Sabdi Sanchez at  ssanchez@indio.org or call directly at (760) 391-4006.
Additional information is posted on the  Elections  section of the City Clerk’s page. 

The United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) requires an “actual enumeration” of the population living in the United States, citizens or noncitizens alike, every 10 years. Nearly $700 billion in federal funds for schools, hospitals and other public works projects are based on Census data. Therefore, a complete and accurate count of the City of Indio’s population is essential. The data collected by the Census determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to distribute BILLIONS of dollars in federal funds to state and local governments (cities like Indio). The data is also used in the redistricting of state legislatures, county boards of supervisors and city councils. All that means Indio’s complete count will ultimately render greater resources, representation, and economic development. 
The 2020 Census provides an opportunity for everyone to be counted only once and in the right place. However, COVID-19 is one of several challenges facing Census 2020, and is leading the City of Indio to emphasize online awareness. The City is encouraging all its residents to complete the online self-response BEFORE October 31, 2020.

To self-respond in English please use this link  https://2020census.gov/en.html . Should you have any question regarding Census 2020 please visit 2020CENSUS.GOV or contact the City of Indio at 760-541-4258.

Para auto-respuesta en Español por favor use:  https://2020census.gov/es.html . Si necesita más información, visite la página 2020CENSUS.GOV o comuníquese con la ciudad de Indio al 760-391-4064.
Casi $700 mil millones en fondos federales para escuelas, hospitales y otras obras públicas se basan en datos del censo. Haga su encuesta ahora en  2020census.gov . Solo le llevará unos minutos.


The Indio Teen Center continues to provide free virtual programming Monday-Thursday at 1 p.m. via Zoom. Indio Teen Center members sign up online and have program supplies delivered to their homes the day of the program. Programming is open to all current and new Indio Teen Center members. Membership is free and open to all youth in grades 8-12.
Upcoming programs include: cauliflower buffalo wings, sculpting, and yarn canvas among others. For the latest programming opportunities, or for more information on how to sign up for the Indio Teen Center, follow ‘indioteencenter’ on Instagram.


Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Indio Performing Arts Center (IPAC) and Desert Theatreworks (DTW) recently made the decision to not hold their beloved six-week Summer Kidsworks Program this summer. 

"Our Kidsworks Summer Program is one of the best parts of the year for DTW and we will miss all our kids and their families this summer," said Michelle Mendoza, Director of Kidsworks.  Kidworks hosts more than 300 students for the workshop, which culminates in a fabulous showcase. However, DTW and the IPAC are working hard to bring more opportunities this fall and spring, so those who missed the opportunity this summer won't miss out on the arts program they know and love. DTW plans to add new dance, acting and voice classes along with a few six-week workshops, to allow students the opportunity to be involved throughout the year, without having to wait until summer of 2021.

DTW and IPAC are also excited to announce financial assistance throughout the fall and spring programs, just as they offer this for their summer program. Stay tuned for more information on classes and workshops in the months to come. In the meantime, Mendoza suggests finding ways to encourage your students to stay engaged in the arts while at home. She offers these links to keep the creativity curtain rising all summer: 


A landscape transformation initiative that will replace up to 145,000 square feet of turf in Indio and save 8.1 million gallons of water annually is one of the many projects to receive grant funding from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Proposition 1 Implementation Grant. Announced on June 2, the grant award is part of the continued state effort to support local agencies in building long-term water resilience for their communities. The $3.8 million grant award to the  Coachella Valley Regional Water Management Group  members include $1.3 million for the  CV Water Counts Regional Conservation Program , with $250,000 earmarked for the IWA initiative. 

Outdoor water use in the Coachella Valley, largely for turf irrigation, accounts for 80% of use for a typical customer. Our goal is to preserve our high-quality groundwater supply and help customers reduce their outdoor usage by replacing turf with low water-use desert landscaping. To date, the turf replacement program has replaced over 2 million square feet (46 acres) in Indio and helps save approximately 93 million gallons of water annually; that is roughly five (5) days of water supply for our service area. The benefits of conserving water are multi-faceted. In addition to leaving more water in the local aquifer for future use, conservation contributes to water affordability by:

·    Lowering operational costs and moderating rate increases through the reduction in the energy cost associated with groundwater pumping, and 
·    Offsetting the costs of new infrastructure or supplemental water to meet growth and higher demands. 

Funding from this award, combined with IWA funds, will finance rebates that will target high water users and also help create more beautiful lawns and gardens in disadvantaged and underrepresented neighborhoods. The initiative is expected to be launched in August/September of 2020. To take advantage of our current program or this funding opportunity, please visit  www.indiowater.org/conservation .


Starting the first week of July, 20 new and colorful additions are landing on curbs around Indio. The City received grant funds to purchase twenty BigBelly waste and recycling units, which will be used to be more efficient, provide more recycling options, and reduce greenhouse gases. These solar powered units compact waste and have sensors that allow City staff to monitor when the bins are full via computer. This saves time and reduces vehicle emissions, because there is no need to drive out to check locations around the City to see if the bins have to be serviced.  Please use the appropriate recycling compartment for recyclable material, so it does not go to the landfill. If you are not sure if something is recyclable, find out using the recycle app at indio.org/recycle. Each bin has a different design look, so they are not just functional, but also add an aesthetic flair to our unique city. Check out the BigBelly design below, which will be placed at the East Indio Hills trailhead, so folks can throw trash away, and recycle water bottles before or after a hike. 

At the June 17th regular joint meeting, the Indio City Council/Indio Water Authority (“IWA”) Board approved the $23.9 million IWA Operating and Capital Improvement Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 that includes no increase in water rates. The budget reflects the wide range of programs necessary to accomplish IWA’s mission and cost-cutting to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The goal of the budget, according to IWA’s General Manager - Trish Rhay, is to protect customers during this time of economic uncertainty, while ensuring continuous quality water delivery and the high level of customer service that IWA customers have come to expect. 

Highlights of the budget include:

  • No proposed increase to water rates and no new debt.
  • 6% reduction in operating expenditures; no cuts to essential programs such as water quality, customer service, and conservation.
  • Continued funding for the Help2Others Customer Assistance Program administered by the United Way of the Desert.
  • $2.8 million in capital expenditures to build, improve or replace facilities or assets that makes efficient water production and supply possible.

IWA produces and distributes water to approximately 85,000 customers and 23,500 water service connections within its service area. The average daily consumption is 16 million gallons per day (mgd) with a daily maximum exceeding 21 million mgd in the summer. IWA is committed to providing our customers with a reliable, high-quality water supply at the lowest reasonable cost through good financial stewardship, grant acquisition to offset service costs, public engagement and education, and community reinvestment through rebates and incentives, customer assistance, and capital spending. 

The City of Indio is the largest and fastest growing city in the Coachella Valley with more than with more than 89,000 residents. Nearly 1.4 million people visit Indio every year to attend its world famous arts, food, and music festivals. With nationally recognized public safety services, exceptional schools, great parks and senior and teen centers, no wonder more than 2,700 new housing units are in construction or being planned throughout the city in addition to new hotels, restaurants and retailers. Indio was the first city incorporated in the Coachella Valley on May 16, 1930, and is governed by an elected City Council that employs a City Manager. The City of Indio embraces its diversity and provides outstanding municipal services to enhance the quality of life for its residents, visitors and business community.
City of Indio |100 Civic Center Drive | (760) 391-4000
information@indio.org | www.indio.org