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Gridley Herald

City Council Weighs Contract Options

Nov 29, 2023 05:00PM ● By Melody McDowell

GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - The November 20 meeting of the Gridley City Council opened with the reading of a proclamation declaring November to be Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness Month.

The consent agenda was approved without complication, including such items as the expenditure reports for September and October 2023, the third quarter City Treasurer’s report, an application for a continuation of the Butte County Fish & Game Commission grant, and an authorization allowing the Gridley Fire Department to receive a volunteer fire assistance grant.

On this occasion, Gridley’s new lineman apprentice was also introduced to the Council, Collin Morey of Oroville.

Ashley Ayala of the Recreation Department received Council approval to move forward with applications for round two of the Outdoor Equity Grants. These grants funded a significant number of well-received programs this year and are expected to continue to be an integral part of the Department’s offerings to Gridley residents and their families.

The Public Works Department reported on efforts to find a contractor to assume responsibility for painting the City Hall complex (including City Hall, the Police Department, and the Gridley Museum). Council authorized moving forward with the recommended contractor, Laws Custom Painting Inc., at an anticipated cost of $67,000.

The Council also approved an Auditing Services Contract, to be entered into with Chavan and Associates, LLP. City Administrator Cliff Wagner expressed appreciation to Mayor Mike Farr for his participation in the process of vetting potential auditing companies, and there was confident agreement that this group will competently serve the needs of the City of Gridley.

There was substantial discussion about the renewal and extension of Waste Management’s contract for services in the City of Gridley. It was disclosed that up to 30% of current Waste Management customer accounts are currently delinquent and this was a point of some concern. The discussion in Waste Management’s Terms letter stated that the City is to pay delinquent accounts and lien properties after reasonable efforts to collect have been exhausted, and City Attorney Tony Galyean cautioned that the City is potentially on questionable legal ground to do so, given that Waste Management’s relationship to the City is that of a third party, rather than an in-house operation.

The City Administrator recommended a study session be held to explore with Waste Management more of the details and legalities of the proposed contract, ideally prior to the December 3 meeting.

Finance Director Elisa Arteaga commended Waste Management’s provision of uninterrupted service even in the event of delinquency, noting the public health and sanitation crisis that could have resulted from excessive termination or suspension of service.

And finally, discussion continued about the SR-99 Waterline Replacement Project. City Engineer Dave Harden reported that Caltrans has recommended that in order to expedite the larger highway project, the City should prepare their own waterline relocation plans for the section of asbestos watermain pipe needing replacement between Obermeyer and Archer.

Harden put forward a proposal for design and project management, as the Project Engineer through Bennett Engineering, which has been the contracted City engineering service since 2016. The estimate for completion of the design plans came to about $206,000, which drew pushback from Vice Mayor Bruce Johnson. He encouraged the Council to consider putting out an RFP for additional bids, to ensure that the City is able to get the most competitive pricing available for completion of this portion of the project.

Given that the design process has already begun, that contracted services are already secured, and that the timeline for the larger Caltrans project could be threatened or even jeopardized by the delay that would result from putting out for additional bids at this point in the process, various City Staff and Councilmembers underlined the necessity of moving forward now, in lieu of potentially starting over with a new contractor.

Mayor Farr requested that periodic updates be provided to the Council to review the status and current numbers for budgeting purposes as the project proceeds. The Council voted 4-1 in favor of continuation with the current proposal from Bennett Engineering Services.