The Antioch City Council this week approved using reserve funds to hire up to six non-sworn community service officers and 13 police officers.
City Manager Jim Jakel said he will closely monitor the budget and report back to the council about every 45 days to assure the city has the money to fund the additional employees.
The annual salary and benefits for each community service officer come to about $87,000. All non-sworn officers were laid off in 2009.
The council also received an update on the status of transportation projects around the city. Consultant Victor Carniglia informed the council that the Water Emergency Transportation Authority has allocated $752,000 over 10 years for a ferry terminal in the city.
He also gathered input from the council about the preferred location of the future eBART station in East County. The six locations up for debate are Laurel Road, Lone Tree Way, Sand Creek Road, Balfour Road, near the Mokelumne Trail or an unspecified location in Byron or Discovery Bay.
Councilmembers Brian Kalinowski, Wade Harper and Gary Agopian said they favored the Mokelumne Trail location. Councilmember Mary Rocha and Mayor Jim Davis said they favored Sand Creek.
The Brentwood City Council Tuesday voted to move cautiously toward expanding the Brentwood Library by about 4,100 square feet. The expansion would nearly double the size of the current library on Oak Street.
The former library building was located in City Park, and removed to make way for the city’s new Civic Center. The library was moved across the street into its current 5,000-square-foot location. The city planned to add 9,000 square feet once city staff vacated the buildings next to it and moved into the new city offices.
Although $4.1 million has been set aside for the expansion, city and library officials were concerned that the full expansion would require additional library staffing. The smaller expansion would cost about $1.8 million in construction costs, including an unusually high 25-percent contingency due to the uncertain condition of the buildings.
Councilman Erick Stonebarger said he was concerned that the increased overhead for even the smaller expansion is estimated to possibly add as much as $150,000 in operating expenses per year, which would likely have to come from the city. Until property tax revenues recover, the additional burden on the General Fund would be hard to approve, he said.
City Manager Paul Eldredge told the council that the current estimates are used for planning purposes only and could be lower, especially if costs to upgrade the buildings are lower than forecast.
The council voted unanimously to direct staff to begin design work on the partial expansion in order to more precisely identify costs, and return in about six months for a final decision on whether to proceed.
The Discovery Bay CSD Board spent some money last week to update, upgrade and keep pace with the town’s water and wastewater needs. One new aero mod belt press, to be used in the processing of the town’s bio solids project, was approved by the board at a cost of $241,000. The new belt press is one of two needed for the ongoing project.
Other items on the agenda included staff’s recommendation to purchase two thermo-system solar drying chambers – significant dollars for a significant need, said Discovery Bay General Manager Rick Howard. The town’s master plan calls for four solar dryers, which would reduce and dry sewage sludge at a faster rate and in an environmentally safe manner. The town has held off purchasing them until the soundness of the technology was confirmed.
“It has since been proven,” said Howard. “And a number of other wastewater companies nationally and globally are using them too.”
The board unanimously approved the purchase of two dryers for a total of $1.2 million.
At Tuesday’s Oakley City Council meeting, the council expressed interest in updating the city’s iconic oak-leaf-emblazoned logo. Earlier this year, during the city’s strategic planning meeting, residents suggested that the city take steps to brand itself as a “water and wine” community – highlighting the city’s proximity to the Delta and the city’s heritage vineyards.
City Manager Bryan Montgomery informed the council that the city’s decennial oak leaf pins have all sold out, so city staff thought this would be an optimal time to re-evaluate the logo. Montgomery offered several examples of how Oakley’s logo can maintain its signature oak leaf while incorporating a cluster of grapes to emphasize the city’s evolving vineyard landscape.
The council advised staff to open a design contest to Oakley residents to seek a new design for the next generation of the Oakley pin. The winning design, which would earn its artist a cash prize, would be considered for the city’s new official logo.