Prior to the Yucca Valley Town Council meeting, council members, and planning and parks commissioners, led by Mayor Merl Abel, dedicated the newly remodeled Sheriff’s substation and a “blue line of support” that had been painted on the road leading to the substation. Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Joling said those who work in law enforcement do so because they believe they can make a better community and they love serving. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the town council meeting that followed, and says the town received good news about crime trends in the town…

Mayor Merl Abel cuts the ribbon dedicating the Blue Line of Support and for the remodeling of the Sheriff’s substation.

Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Joling, along with deputies, search and rescue volunteers, Citizens on Patrol, and Sheriff’s Explorers, thank the Town for its support.

Council members Jeff Drozd, Bob Leone, Mayor Merl Abel, and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Denison touch up the Blue Line of Support (council member Robert Lombardo hidden behind Denison and Abel).

Calls for service to the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department, which had hovered around 20,000 calls just for Yucca Valley in 2013, 2014, and 2015, fell to 18,800 calls in 2016. However, not every call results in a report. But in almost every category tracked—from traffic collisions to arrests to burglary, rape, robbery, assault, larceny, theft, and grand theft auto—the numbers had spiked in 2015 and fell back to more typical levels in 2016.

Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Joling said that while he’d like to take personal credit for the drop in crime, it was good old-fashioned police work.

“Our detective division and patrol division, I really want to give them credit. They really rounded up a lot of repeat offenders who were committing these crimes. Some of them lived in our community and some of them lived outside our county. We just went and got them. We served search warrants on their home, we arrested them, and drug them to jail.”

He also offered safety tips to residents.

“At least make it hard for those who may want to get involved in stealing…. Lock your doors and windows to your residence, and outbuildings, and your vehicles…. Alarms are a pretty good effective…. Be a good neighbor…. Keep your valuables out of sight…. Identity theft still remains a struggle for us, so protect your mail and your identity.”

Click to view the full 2012-2016 Public Safety Report

In other business, the council adopted a resolution to participate in the California Municipal Finance Authority (CFMA) Open Property Assessed Clean Energy program (PACE). PACE is a way to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy (solar) upgrades for residential and commercial buildings, similar to the county’s HERO program. Property owners who participate in the program repay the loans through an assessment on their property taxes. The PACE loan is attached to the property rather than belonging to an individual. Therefore, when the owner sells the property, the loan may be paid off during the sale or stay with the property and be paid off by the new owner, who also benefits from the upgrades that were completed. The PACE loans are offered through the energy, water, and solar contractors.

The council also accepted a grant for $196,538, which will cover 75 percent of the cost of emergency generators for the Yucca Valley Town Hall and the animal shelter. The town has to pay the remaining 25 percent ($65,513).

And finally, the council agreed to review the contracts with six vendors/organizations: Aleshire and Wynder, which provides legal services for the town; Reach Out Morongo Basin’s property lease; Sterling Codefiers which provides codification services for the town; Charles Abbott and Associates, which provides building and safety services; and NRO Engineering, which provides engineering services for the town.

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