Robert A. Rizzo, who has served as the city's interim chief administrative officer since mid-May, will take over the position permanently Sept. 1.
The City Council is expected to finalize its agreement with Rizzo at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.
Rizzo, 39, will receive a salary of $78,000, which is $7,000 less than that of his predecessor, John Bramble, who left to become head administrator for Adams County, Colo. Rizzo will receive no car or expense allowance.
The lower salary reflects the city's troubled economic state, said Mayor Ray Johnson.
"We were very forthright with him, and he seemed to appreciate that the city is going through a period of tight financial planning," Johnson said. "We feel it's a fair salary but all that we could afford at this time."
"He's probably the lowest-paid city manager in the area, probably in the county," said Councilman George Cole.
Johnson called Rizzo a "creative, resourceful" person and said he impressed council members with his insights into community development, financial planning and personnel management.
Rizzo will manage a budget of about $12 million and a staff of 92 employees in the city of 34,000 residents.
Rizzo said he hopes to boost city revenue through projects such as the reopening of the city's casino and by developing property such as the highly visible commercial lots that now stand vacant at the intersection of Gage and Atlantic avenues.
"There's a lot of potential here," he said.
Rizzo served as the first city manager for Hesperia from the time that city incorporated in 1988 until 1992. He worked for the city of Rancho Cucamonga from 1980 to 1988 in jobs ranging from administrative analyst to assistant city manager.
Rizzo graduated from UC Berkeley in 1976 with a degree in political science and received a master's degree in public administration from Cal State Hayward in 1980.
Rizzo is a resident of Palm Desert, where he lives with his wife, Sheila, and two daughters, Sarah 7, and Laura, 4.