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March 9, 2022

$20 Million(-ish) For New MSWD Headquarters

On March 3, 3033, the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors held a workshop to discuss the proposed Critical Services Center And Administration Building. The video of the workshop is available here. Director Duncan was absent.

General Manager Arden Wallum said that of the five major water purveyors in the Coachella Valley, MSWD has the worst administrative building. The site where they plan to locate the new headquarters was purchased about 2000. GM Wallum said there was a consensus in favor of one of the designs presented at the previous meeting. There was actually no consensus. He wasn't sure which one was preferred. Vice President Nancy Wright couldn't recall any consensus. President Russ Martin said he had said he preferred Option 2 only because it was the cheapest, but that any of the three designs would be acceptable. Actually, at the previous meeting he had said he preferred Option 2 before he knew that it was also the cheapest. VP Wright thought that Option 1 was cheapest. Her memory was incorrect.

The three options are options in the external appearance only. The interior layout is the same in all three. VP Wright asked which way was north on the site layout. The layout has a compass rose showing north is up, but the architect walked her through the compass directions. Director Ivan Sewell asked about the more compact site layout that was presented as a possible cost saving choice at the prior meeting. The architect said that could reduce the cost about $600,000. At the prior meeting it was said that could have reduced the cost by $1 million to $1.5 million. Now, with a range from $600,000 to $1,500,000 I would call those just wild-ass guesses.

MSWD currently has a staff of about 52 people. The architect said the new headquarters would be designed to accomodate "70-some-odd" staff. Further expansion will be possible on the site.

Ms. Wright mentioned that the district paid only $25,000 for the site originally.

There was a long discussion with Directors sharing their opinions on details of the different designs. If you want that in detail, go to the video.

Option 3 was preferred by the Directors. Directors Sewell, Grasha and VP Wright preferred the shallow curved dais for the boardroom.


They plan to pay for the new building using only property tax revenue and "other general administrative revenues." They do not intend to use the revenue from water and sewers to pay for it.

MSWD HQ Financing

It was pointed out that it would be more correct to say that $20 million is the estimated cost of the full project, not just the building(s).

The annual property tax revenue of $1 million would be sufficient to cover either a 20-year loan of $13.5 million at 3.9% or a 30-year loan at 4.1%. Some grants may also be available. Director Grasha recommended financing the entire $20 million in order to preserve the district's cash on hand for emergencies or changes in state regulations. He also said he expects the final cost to be $30 million.

Filed under Architecture,Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | March 9, 2022 at 05:47 PM


Thank you

Posted by: Meina at Mar 11, 2022 11:57:16 AM

They already receive $1 million in property tax revenue. That tax was established before prop 218. Several times over the years different Directors have acknowledged that they know it would be nearly impossible to get the voters to approve a tax increase for the district.

Posted by: Ron at Mar 9, 2022 9:31:05 PM

Are they asking for another property tax assessment or do they talk about property tax they collect already to pay for this new building? Thank you.

Posted by: Meina at Mar 9, 2022 8:57:13 PM

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