Coachella Monday began an anonymous online survey to collect data from residents the city intends to use in choosing a new city manager.
Coachella City Manager Bill Pattison, who has been with the city for a decade, including a stint as finance manager, has nearly 30 years of public service under his belt. He was set to depart Dec. 30, but the city indicated he will remain on duty until his replacement is found.
“This survey is an important part of the process. We want to hear from our residents what qualities and characteristics they want to see in the next city manager,” Mayor Steven Hernandez said. “I encourage everyone to participate.”
The survey can be found at iiyrldi88iq.typeform.com/to/iAIhBnd1. The site will be live through Feb. 12.
According to city officials, Coachella has grown its reserves from $6.5 million to $16.5 million since Pattison arrived in Coachella.
Upon being hired in 2010, Pattison quickly got to work getting the city up to date with its two years’ worth of overdue audits, a task officials said took him eight months to rectify.
Hernandez has lauded Pattison’s efforts in helping the city claw its way back from the dire fiscal issues it faced before his hiring, saying the city is well-positioned to continue growing in the future.
Pattison’s successes include a $47-million, 105-unit affordable housing development under construction at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Sixth streets.
The mixed use project will also include street-facing retail and office space.
In announcing his retirement in December, Pattison became the fifth top administer in the Coachella Valley to disclose retirement plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pattison’s retirement comes as the valley continues to weather massive financial repercussions stemming the loss of tourism spending due to COVID-19.
Early estimates from last summer estimated that COVID-19 cost the Coachella Valley nearly $3.5 billion in lost revenue, according to the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism. That’s a loss of 57% compared to 2019, when visitor spending accounted for more than $5.9 billion in revenue, according to an economic impact study by Tourism Economics citied by local tourism officials.
Palm Springs and Palm Desert announced new city managers last week. The Palm Desert City Council formally approved Todd Hileman’s contract at Thursday’s meeting. Justin Clifton is expected to start his new role in Palm Springs in early April.
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