From his property just west of Rohnert Park, Danny Nakash has watched with anticipation the rapid rise of the casino being built by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. It is a sight he long waited for because it signals what he hopes will be a boon to his business, Raz Taxi.
Rohnert Park and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria have agreed to a new revenue-sharing deal worth $40 million more than one they signed in 2003. The agreement is intended to more fully address the impacts of the casino the tribe is now building.
It will be up to Councilwoman Gina Belforte whether Rohnert Park residents see one of their public swimming pools, which has been closed since 2010, reopened this year.
Wal-Mart is resuming efforts to expand its Rohnert Park store into a superstore, reviving a controversial plan that was halted in court after one of the more divisive arguments in recent city history. The city Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday to review the project and new studies evaluating its effect on the community.
Rohnert Park’s City Council, riding a recovering budget and the goodwill of an uncontested November election, rearranged itself Tuesday in a mayoral transition notably absent the political tensions of past years.
Rohnert Park, after more than a year of negotiations, has signed off on a new lease with the Petaluma company that operates the city’s golf courses. The lease lowers the annual rent that CourseCo pays the city from $175,000 in 2011 to $81,000 a year. After maintenance costs that Course-Co is to cover, the city will get $50,000 a year. The lease also builds in a revenue-sharing formula.
The Rohnert Park City Council voted unanimously Wednesday morning to reappoint the three councilmembers running up for reelection, thus cancelling the city’s November council election. Mayor Jake Mackenzie, Councilman Gina Belforte and Councilman Joe Callahan will, barring the unlikely events of early retirement or recall, occupy the dais for four more years.
The three Rohnert Park councilmembers up for reelection this year have taken out nomination papers, indicating their intent to run for another term. No opponents have yet emerged to challenge Mayor Jake Mackenzie, Councilwoman Gina Belforte and Councilman Joe Callinan in their bids for four more years in office. Prospective candidates have until Aug. 15 to file nomination forms with 20 signatures.
The Rohnert Park City Council decided Tuesday to give housing-related nonprofit agencies more money — $285,000 — than it did last year, citing hardships people are facing in a struggling economy. “The character of a city is how we take care of those in need and we are in the worst time of need in my lifetime,” said Mayor Gina Belforte.
In what has become a grim annual ritual, Rohnert Park City Hall is scrambling to shrink a budget deficit. But this year, the City Council is taking a different tack by assuming a long view of its budgetary problems. The council voted to create a “lock box” trust fund to start saving to meet its unfunded retiree medical liability. “I think this will start a new precedent in terms of how we look at our budget,” Mayor Gina Belforte said.