BARSTOW The following items were discussed at the City Council Monday night:

Reduction to hospital monthly lease approved The City Council voted 4-1 with Councilman Tim Saenz dissenting to approve a decrease in the amount of rent Barstow Community Hospital will have to pay only if the new hospital is not completed on time.
The new lease amendment decreases the monthly rent amount from $100,000 to $50,000.

Update on First Street bridge construction Although repairs on the First Street bridge are still underway, community and economic development director Ron Rector reported that the bridge will remain open for the remainder of the repairs which include replacement of a fractured beam, replacement of blocking at an old staircase, and shoring one of the caps. The city has also submitted a grant application to CalTrans to replace the bridge entirely.

City to purchase new SUV for police department The City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a 2011 Chevy Tahoe for the police department.

The Tahoe which costs $33,013 will be paid for using a grant. The watch commander will be able to use the four-wheel-drive vehicle as a mini command center during incidents.

Reasonable accommodation ordinance approved The City Council voted unanimously to approve a new ordinance that will allow the city to track improvements that residents make to their homes to allow for better handicapped access.

The new ordinance will allow the city to track the improvements and is required under state law. The city already allowed such improvements but had no way of tracking them.

Updated purchasing and contract guidelines approved The City Council voted unanimously to approve new purchasing and contract guidelines that will allow the city manager to approve smaller projects under $25,000 without prior City Council approval in order to streamline purchases.

Decision on updated expense reimbursement policy delayed The City Council voted unanimously to bring an expense reimbursement policy back at a future meeting citing concerns that it wanted to remain transparent when it came to travel expenses for City Council members.

The updated policy would have allowed city staff and councilmembers to attend meetings without getting prior approval for each trip. Councilmembers agreed that the provision would work for city staff by including trip expenses as part of the budget, but said they wanted to remain transparent about their own travel expenses.