Banning City Council Meeting June 23
The contract with the Waste Management company for refuse removal has a cost of living increase in the agreement. The rates will be raised $0.23 per month for each household as a result.. Council member Peterson stated that his review of other local cities indicates that our city still has the lowest rate. The new rate will begin August 1.
The planned Village at Paseo across from the courthouse had been approved by the Council in May 2011. Since then, discussion with the developer led to an agreement that no hotel would be built, contrary to what was originally planned. However, no construction has been started and no payment has been made on the project. The legal requirement is for the purchase price of $1,020,000 plus interest be paid, and construction started by August 31. The council voted to start default and contractual failure legal actions if both these requirements were not met by that date.
The revised budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016 was approved. The total budget for our city, including the electric and water utilities is $90,379,429 . The water reduction regulations due to the drought will result in less income from the water utility. The electric utility will also receive less income due to the lowered requirement of electricity to provide pumping power. Despite that, the budget provides funds for three more police officers to be added over the next several years, and additions in other departments of almost 5 new people . Sales tax and property taxes have increased moderately as the economy improves, but the additional revenue from the mining tax is the significant factor in permitting this increase. It is too early to be certain of the actual amount of this increase, but it is likely to be in the neighborhood of $1 million per year. The budget used half of this for the general fund.
General fire protection service and paramedic service for the City is provided by the Riverside County Fire Department (CAL FIRE). These costs are divided equally between our city, the County and Beaumont. The cost to our city for these general services is $463,056. Our city’s share of the cost of maintaining Fire Engine 20 on Sixth Street near Highland Springs Road is an additional $463,058.
The city purchased a diesel powered street sweeper in 2001 that has been inoperable for the past few years (no street sweeping). The Council considered repairing it, which would have to be paid for from the city’s general fund, or purchasing a new one. The council voted to obtain bids for a new one, to be paid for by AQMD funds specifically given to our city for air quality improvement. The replacement sweeper will operate on compressed natural gas(CNG), reducing the particulate matter produced by the old diesel engine.
Improvements to Roosevelt park had been planned in 2011. These improvements included replacement of playground equipment, repair and improvement to the gazebo, use of drought resistant plants , employment of a drip watering system, improvements in the buildings, and re-grading of the grounds to prevent storm water run-off pollution. The total cost of the renovation is estimated to be about $1.6 million. However, since that time , codes have changed, and new plans are necessary. The Council approved $95,592 for development of the new plans. Council members and speakers commented about the high cost of the new plans, but this was the lowest bid obtained.
The Council approved a contract for personnel help with Building and Safety services, since we do not have enough staff. These contracted services will not result in any cost to the city, since the Abbot company will provide the needed services for 65% of the collected fees for the first $15,000 and 55% of the collected fees for services performed after that initial figure.
Ed Miller, Banning City Council
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