BARSTOW Among the items discussed at Tuesday's City Council meeting:
Golden State Water Company answers questions about perchlorate contamination Representatives from GSWC answered questions from the City Council and residents about the perchlorate contamination that caused a water advisory for Barstow residents last November.
Perry Dahlstrom, district manager for the GSWC mountain and desert district, said the company made an automatic adjustment of $8 to customer's bills in order to compensate them for the water flushing that all residents had to perform on their systems before being able to use their water for drinking again. The water credit is for the equivalent of a typical resident running all the taps in the house for 30 minutes. The credits were applied starting after Dec. 14 and customers should see the adjustment on their next bills.
Councilman Willie Hailey said he did not feel that $8 was enough to cover the cost of the water flushing and wondered why the water company didn't test more often. Patrick Scanlon, vice president of operations at GSWC, said the water company followed all of the state and federal testing requirements for its water. Water companies must test for perchlorates every three years under state law. Because of the levels of perchlorates that were found in three different wells, the water company will be testing for the contaminant quarterly until the Department of Public Health determines that the company can go to a yearly testing system, said Scanlon.
Vicious dog ordinance approved The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an amendment to the vicious dog ordinance. Under the new ordinance, owners may be able to keep their dogs after they are determined to be potentially dangerous or vicious.
Owners may have several conditions to follow as part of the ordinance, including keeping the dog in a secure enclosure, getting it licensed and vaccinated against rabies, and getting insurance for up to $100,000 in damages in case the dog severely injures or kills a person.
The policy does not discriminate against different dog breeds and clarifies the difference between vicious dogs and potentially dangerous dogs.
City Council adopts new rules for sewer rate protests The City Council voted 4-1 to approve new rules regarding the submission of protests to a proposed sewer-rate increase, with Hailey dissenting.
The new rules will be used for the submission and tabulating of protests related to a sewer-rate increase that will increase the current monthly rate from $15 a month to $23.50 a month starting this year. The rate will gradually increase each year until it is $31.50 per month in 2015. Although the city has to ask for public input about any fee increases because of Proposition 218, the proposition does not include information on how the protests should be received.
The new rules state protests must be received in writing, with the property owner's signature and address or parcel number on it and must be received before the end of the public hearing that has been set for Feb. 22. Although the city will listen to input from the public at the meeting, verbal protests will not count as formal protests against the rate increase.
Several residents at the meeting protested against the new rules and said they were too vague and people might not understand the fee increases. In order to address resident's concerns, the City Council decided that it will hold a town hall meeting prior to the protest hearing to explain the fee increases to residents.
Credit card violations found in city audit An independent audit done of the city's finances shows that credit cards that were supposed to be used for city expenses were used for personal uses for fiscal year 2009-2010.
There were a total of 14 instances where the credit cards were being used for personal use for a total of about $2,000-$3,000, said a representative from Macias, Gini & O'Connell, which performed the audit. The city was reimbursed for the expenditures, but a letter describing the concerns was sent to the city and the auditor will be checking next year to make sure the city is in compliance with the policy.
City Council approves hire of city manager assistant The City Council unanimously approved the hire of a new assistant to the city manager on Tuesday night. Oliver Chi's contract will begin Feb. 7, 2011 and end Dec. 31, 2013, with a monthly salary of $11,051.63.
City Council approves contract with professional accountant The City Council unanimously approved the hire of a temporary accountant to help with the city's finance work on Tuesday night.
Cindy Prothro will be the new temporary accountant for the city of Barstow and will work an average of 16 hours per week for four months. Her hourly salary will be $75 an hour, for an estimated cost of $20,000 for four months of work.