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Apple Valley Town Council considers sales tax measure

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Apple Valley, CA – July 23, 2020:  At its July 28 meeting, the Town Council will discuss adding a ballot measure to the November 3, 2020 general election. The measure would ask Apple Valley voters to consider approving a 1% sales tax measure to increase public safety services, as well as enhance community services, and address public infrastructure needs, while building reserves to respond to any future crises or temporary revenue impacts. 

If approved in November, the sales tax measure would generate approximately $7 million annually.

“This type of tax can be paid by more than just Apple Valley residents, which is the primary reason we are considering it above all other financial solutions,” said Mayor Scott Nassif. “When people from other areas patronize Apple Valley restaurants and shops, they help our residents pay for police and other community services. This lightens the tax burden on our residents.”

With the anticipation of the Virgin Trains USA project in north Apple Valley, along Interstate-15, the increased consumer activity and sales transactions will also help inject new sales taxes for the Town in future years.

At its May 26 budget workshop, the Town Council received a staff presentation on the Town’s 2019-20 Budget Year revenues and expenses, including an estimated revenue shortfall of $1.27 million, and a forecasted revenue shortfall of $3.53 million in the 2020-21 Budget Year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are projected to last two to four years, at least, and will require the Town to address its long-term financial strategies. The Town has already made repeated cuts, reductions, and layoffs, and reduced some levels of services. The Town must now either raise revenues or further decrease the levels of service to the community, ultimately eliminating entire programs, events and services.

A variety of options were provided to the Town Council to increase revenue in the 2020-21 Budget Year and beyond.  As a result, and while recognizing the high priority Apple Valley residents have historically and consistently placed on public safety, the Town Council directed staff to bring forward the ballot measure for further discussion. 

“Particularly during this pandemic, we are more grateful than ever for the work of our local law enforcement officers,” said Town Manager Doug Robertson. “However, the rising costs of public safety, which climbs higher than any other Town general fund expense, represents an unsustain­able upward trend in the cost of keeping our resi­dents, businesses and community safe. Moreover, the public safety contract is estimated to increase 5 percent each year for the next five years, rising to nearly $20 million by 2025.”

In the 2020-21 Budget Year, the Town’s General Fund of $36.08 million includes $15.5 million dedicated for police services.

Based upon the budget forecast, the consequences of not enacting a sales tax increase or deep cuts to services and staff, the Town will run out of budget reserves in 2021-22.

“Over the years we’ve strived to build our economic base through new retail and industrial development and by encouraging community support of our local businesses through our Shop Local campaigns,” said Orlando Acevedo, Director of Business Development and Communications. “These efforts all help our revenue base, but not enough. We’ve been successful, but we still lose a lot of our sales transactions and tax dollars when Apple Valley consumers shop at the mall or Victoria Gardens or on Amazon, for example.”

California law does not give taxing authority to the Town Council but rather to the people of Apple Valley. It gives the authority to enact a sales tax for general purposes with the approval of the voting majority in a Town election. The Town Council only has the authority to place a tax measure on the ballot for the people to decide.

The estimated cost to place the measure on the November ballot is $20,000. If the Town Council decides to place the measure on the ballot for the November election, it will be the first time Apple Valley voters have considered a sales tax measure in the Town’s 32 years of incorporation. 

“This moment represents a fork in the road for our community and our future. Do we make the hard choice to fund our better way of life or do we yield to the challenge and forsake our quality of life, our public safety, and our community amenities?” asked Mayor Nassif. “This is not an easy request but it is a necessary one.”

The Town Council welcomes public input on the proposed measure.

The July 28 Town Council meeting is closed to in-person public attendance in order to maintain social distancing; however, it can be viewed live at applevalley.tv or on Frontier channel 29 or Charter Spectrum channel 186. Members of the public may provide comment in one of two ways:

1) Email a comment, including agenda item referenced and contact information, to PublicComment@applevalley.org by noon on Tues., July 28, to be included in the record;


2) Email a “Request to speak,” including agenda item referenced and contact information, to PublicComment@applevalley.org by noon on July 28. At the time of the requested agenda item, the Town Clerk will place a phone call to the interested person and allow them to speak to the Town Council via speaker phone, during the live meeting, for up to three minutes.

The agenda can be viewed online at av.town/agendas.

For more information please contact the Town’s Public Information Office at info@applevalley.org

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Helicopter lands on Amethyst Road for woman involved in crash

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) A woman was airlifted with critical injuries following a crash late Friday night.

At 11:30 p.m., the Victorville Fire Department, deputies from the Victorville Police Department, and two American Medical Response (AMR) ambulances were dispatched to the intersection of Amethyst and La Mesa Roads for reports of a head-on crash.

– Photo Credit: Travis Dixon.

Upon arrival, firefighters located two vehicles with major damage; a gray 2018 Toyota Camry and a dark-colored sedan with a woman still trapped inside.

Firefighters extricated the woman from the vehicle and requested a helicopter to land near the scene to transport her to a trauma center.

The Camry sustained major front-end damage. – Photo credit: Travis Dixon.

The driver of the Camry, Jaalen “Jay” Thompson, told Victor Valley News that he was traveling westbound on La Mesa Road on a green light when he was struck by the dark sedan that was traveling southbound on Amethyst Road.

Although Thompson did not sustain major injuries, his girlfriend who is pregnant was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.

“The dark colored sedan ran the red light and smacked my car,” Thompson stated, “She was also pregnant.”

The intersection was closed while authorities investigated the crash.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time. – Photo Credit: Julio Solano.

As of 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the intersection was reopened.

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State and San Bernardino County OK resumption of youth sports – with restrictions

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The State Department of Public Health has issued long-anticipated guidance allowing youth sports and physical education – including school-based, club, and recreational programs – to resume, as long as they are limited to groups of participants who regularly gather, such as a class or organized team, and only when physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained.

Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.

Sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not yet permitted either indoors or outdoors.

“This is an opportunity for young people to stay healthy, stay in shape, and be ready when the State allows team and other group activities to resume,” said San Bernardino County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. The County Health Officer has approved implementation of the guidance within San Bernardino County.

(San Bernardino County Health news release)

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18-year-old U.S. Army Reservist Stationed at Ft. Irwin arrested on child porn charges

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FORT IRWIN, Calif. (VVNG.com) — An 18-year-old reserve with the United States Army National Guard stationed at Fort Irwin was arrested for possession of child pornography Wednesday, officials said.

Detectives from multiple agencies conducted a joint investigation involving the suspect, Neal McCoy, a resident of Fridley, Minnesota, and subsequently arrested him on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

McCoy was booked at the High Desert Detention Center for PC 311.11(A) Possession of Child Pornography with a bail set at $100,000. McCoy is scheduled for arraignment on August 7th.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Specialized Investigations Division Crimes Against Children Detail (CAC), Barstow Sheriff’s Station, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) worked together in their investigation.

In January 2020, VVNG reported on similar arrests after Steven Berg, 38, was arrested by investigators who determined that child pornography was distributed from a home within the base at Fort Irwin.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Arias of the Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes Against Children Detail at (909) 387-3615. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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