Councilman Ed Miller’s Bi-Monthly Council Report
Councilman Ed Miller’s Bi-Monthly Council Report – Now At The Banning Informer
5/19/15 – Lately, you may have enjoyed reading councilman Ed Miller’s regular bi-monthly Council reports, published in the Record Gazette. Presented factually and without political bias, Miller’s reports offer a much needed public service. Through his work, issues that are often not covered by the media are brought to the attention of the public.
Ed Miller says he was just notified by the Record Gazette that his Council reports will no longer be published. Miller states that the paper suggested he pay for publishing the material.
Does the Record Gazette’s editor see Miller’s reports as being of no value to the citizens of Banning?
In the past the paper, its reporter David Heiss as well as its columnist Gail Paparian have been accused of publishing poorly researched, incomplete, misleading and sometimes even outright false information. Record Gazette articles often had the effect of discrediting the city council, in particular Don Peterson and, to a lesser degree, Ed Miller himself.
Additionally, the discrepancies between the subject matters that Ed Miller writes about and those that the Record Gazette publishes are now so great, that many people are beginning to wonder if both are even writing about the same City.
Because of this situation, more than ever, Ed Miller’s reports have become a “must read” for every Banning citizen. Therefore, the Banning Informer has decided to do what the Record Gazette no longer will : publish Ed Millers reports from hereon out – free of charge.
Here is councilman Miller’s latest report, dated May 12, 2015 :
Last week, the Banning City Council had a sobering workshop presented by a consultant hired to determine the future requirement of our water and wastewater facilities. The State had required the reduction of Cr6 levels in our water. Cr6 is shorthand for chromium compounds in which chromium transfers six electrons to the other components of the compounds. Cr6 has been linked to stomach cancer. Several of our wells exceed this limit, possibly due to leaching from minerals. The consultant stated that to satisfy these requirements, a plant should be built starting in 2019, and would cost $30 million, requiring the city to issue bonds for this amount . Several horrific possibilities for rate increases to pay for this bond were suggested. Other cities in California will face this same problem.
In an effort to evaluate possible remedies to the area’s Cr6 problem, the Council approved a joint effort with the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District to determinate the concentration of Cr6 at various depths in two wells . If the Cr6 is found to be coming from specific depths in the well, then those areas of the well could be sealed. This is a possibility worth pursuing, considering the cost of other methods of Cr6 removal .
The consultant then presented the cost of a water recycling plant. Such a plant has been considered for the last 10 years, but bonds funds available for this project were spent in the past on other items. Currently, this plant is estimated to cost $20 million, also to be paid for by bonds. The wastewater fee increase to pay for these bonds is also staggering. Clearly, the Council will revisit these problems often.
At a workshop on how to improve our city. many suggestions were made, largely based on the input from the town Hall meetings held during the past year. Heading the list are maintaining and encouraging current Banning business, developing new business activity, and developing economic activity to provide jobs for Banning residents.
Currently, Banning has $30 million in Water bonds and $35 million in Electric bonds outstanding. Interest rates are at historic lows, and our Interim Administrative Services Director Dean Martin presented a plan to issue new bonds at this lower interest rate to pay off these higher interest rate older bonds. This will save about $11 million in interest over the life of the bonds. No new bonds will be issued unless this lowering of interest rates can be effected.
Several pieces of property formerly owned by Mr. Matheson were donated to, and accepted, by the city. These are all in the downtown area, and include the land on which the landmark Matheson Department store was located.
The contract with Artistic Maintenance to provide service to the Banning Landscape Maintenance District was renewed for another year at the current rate. No change in fee is therefore required.
Payment of the severance packages specified in the contracts of former City Manager Takata and Public Works Director Burke were approved. Mr. Burke also received back vacation and sick pay to which he was entitled. No other payments were made by the city, and the payment to Mr. Takata was the same as that offered at the end of his employment. The insurance company provided additional amounts equivalent to their attorney fees. This settled their lawsuits against the city.
Our city had a lawsuit filed for failure to satisfy the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for Lyons Park. The Council approved the transfer of approximately $262,000 from other park funds to satisfy these requirements as per the settlement requirements of the lawsuit.
The Council voted to have Dean Martin, our Interim Administrative Services Director as interim City Manager.
Ed Miller, Banning City Council
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