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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Council approves work to be done on water wells

 

April 23, 2020

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Tuesday's council meeting was held using the Zoom meeting app, allowing anyone to attend virtually.

The Shafter City Council approved fronting $150,000 for the Kern High School District's share of work on Well No. 9 in Shafter, located on the grounds of Shafter High School, along with nearly the same amount of its own money for the project.

The well, which is between the Shafter High School and Recreation Department baseball fields, has been inactive since the late 1980s due to nitrate levels exceeding public health standards.

The city has decided to get the well operating as an irrigation only well, primarily serving the high school, recreation fields and Mannel Park.

The city approved an agreement with the high school district that allows the high school to use the well for watering its recreational fields in exchange for the district participating in the projects costs. The district's project costs are capped at $150,000.

Initially, the city rejected bids because they significantly exceeded the $400,000 value of the project to be deemed cost-effective. Bids exceeded this amount due to the inclusion of an electrical control system design. The city decided to go with a manual control system, which brought the bids down to acceptable levels.

DL Brown, who has previously completed projects for the city, came in the lowest bidder at a little over $276,000.

The city has an unspent balance of over $150,000 in the Water Capital Improvement Program Account, which can be used for the project. With the city fronting the total cost of the project, the city would need an additional $150,000 to fund the project. This transfer was approved by a

City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez told the council that he and his staff are preparing a report that will be ready for the April 28 Budgetary Strategic Workshop that will have initial discussions about stabilizing Shafter's budget and plan for the 2020-2021 budget.

Gonzalez said that one consideration that will be addressed is the situation with the Modified Community Correctional Facility on Zachary Avenue. The facility is scheduled to be closed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in December, which Gonzalez said will mean lost revenue for the city. "With the governor's recent order to halt releasing prisoners and taking in new prisoners due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are not sure if this will affect the closing date of the facility," Gonzalez said.

He said the city is monitoring the governor's plan to reopen businesses in the state with modified social distancing requirements and other safety precautions. "I also met with other city managers in Kern County and prepared a letter to the governor's office inquiring about the proposal for relief being offered to small businesses here in California. Currently, it looks like the programs are geared toward businesses in cities of 500,000 or more, but we thought that we needed to at least explore this opportunity."

 

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