City Council

Members of the California City Council listen to a report during the Aug. 13 council meeting.

CALIFORNIA CITY – Removal of oleander trees from the median along California City Boulevard and approval of two road projects were among the items discussed at the Aug. 13 California City Council meeting. A proposal for replacing a section of ceiling at City Hall failed to pass while a proposal to abandon a recently dug well was pulled for further information.

Rehabilitation of Hacienda Boulevard from South Loop Boulevard to Eucalyptus Ave and improvements to Redwood Boulevard east of Hacienda to 98th Street are moving forward with their design phases. Both projects are part of a federally funded program which require matching funds from the city.

For the Hacienda project, the city will be responsible for $6,172 while $47,638 will come from federal funds. The Redwood project does not have matching funds for the design phase and will cost the city $115,355.

Some 80 oleanders will be removed from California City Boulevard as they have become a safety hazard.

“Staff has received numerous complaints about the oleanders in the median,” said Senior Building Official Joe Barragan. “People have come in and complained that pedestrians have cut across the boulevard and they’ve had to slam on their brakes and they’re concerned that someone might be killed.”

Representatives from the local Boy Scouts of America troop have also complained about the oleanders. For special occasions, the scouts place American flags along the boulevard and the density of the oleanders require them to step out into a travel lane to reach the next flag pole position.

“We believe the best solution would be to just completely remove everything, cut the water off, remove the railroad ties and leave a nice clean surface there,” said Barragan.

“The problem with the oleanders is that they’re the wrong plants in the wrong place, and I will I will explain some of the reasons,” said resident and horticulturist Ann Richardson during public comments. “One is that they’re way too large for the space, the median is 17 feet across and you can see that a lot of the oleanders are already spilling over into the road. The second reason is that the oleanders are too dense and a lot of them are planted one right after the other.”

Following additional comments and discussion, the motion to remove the oleanders was approved unanimously.

Council also discussed possibly abandoning the well recently dug at Central Park. Barragan reported that the well is only producing 45 gallons per minute, or 1.5% of what is needed for it to be viable.

“So staff is recommending that we just destroy the well, that’ll cost $7,000,” said Barragan. “And actually, just today I got an email this morning from the test that came back on the water as well and it’s too salty for us to use anyways.”

The current well was drilled to a depth of 800 feet. Following some additional questions and direction from council, Barragan pulled the item from the agenda to return with additional information.

An agenda item calling for some $7,000 to replace the ceiling in the lobby of City Hall failed to pass. Staff was requesting the project to allow access to duct work behind the ceiling that is currently difficult to reach.

The project would have also included replacing existing lights with LED lights and new exit signs. A smart television was also included in the request that could be used to stream council meetings into the lobby area.

“We’re talking about $277,000 that we have lost at the well, this (ceiling replacement) is not a crisis,” said Council Member Ron Smith. “We’re really setting a setting a tone that we’re telling other departments not to spend and we’re adding something.

“If there’s going to be remodel, there needs to be a comprehensive cohesive plan, not bit by bit by bit. There’s no crisis for the ceiling project, there’s no crisis whatsoever. And I think we’re setting the wrong stage. We’re in a special tax, we’re not living below our means we’re not living at our means we’re living above our means. I certainly cannot vote to spend money is something that is not critical.”

After additional discussion and comments, the motion for approval failed 2-3, with only Mayor Chuck McGuire and Mayor Pro Tem Eugene Stump voting to move forward with the project.

In other business, council:

• Approved purchase of two new bus stop shelters via a “use it or lose it’ grant fund.

• Approved reallocating grant money for a wash rack to the purchase of two new dial-a-ride buses

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