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New design standards for public works projects addressed

By Susan Read News Review Staff Writer– 

At the first City Council meeting of February 1st, Travis Reed, Director of Public Works, addressed the subject of standard details for public works construction projects. He provided much-needed, long overdue new design standards, noting that the last set was hand-drawn in 1986.  Quad-Knopf engineering firm out of Bakersfield redeveloped a comprehensive set of standards, including plans for typical lot grading, trash enclosure, ADA parking stalls, updated sewer standards, and others. Reed submitted drawings only for approval today, stating that the description of how to use the standards is being updated and will be forthcoming. Reed also asked the council to consent to allow the City Manager, City Engineer, the Director of Public Works, or Community Development Director to make minor changes when they arise as necessary, citing examples of new technologies that come about or the emergence of a breakthrough in pipe materials. Council unanimously approved the resolution.

Mayor Pro Tem Solomon Rajaratnam and Council Member Skip Gorman had excused absences from the meeting. Mayor Eric Bruen, Vice Mayor Kyle Blades, and Council Member Scott Hayman agreed to postpone the announcements of the committee, board, and commission appointments until the full council is present.

Interim Director of Parks and Recreation Nerissa Wegener proposed the approval of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace metal roofs at Leroy Jackson and Upjohn parks. Funds in the amount of $6,922 is the final addition to the $52,118 previously approved for the project. Wegener said that materials have already been ordered, and work is expected to begin the week of February 6. 2023. The request was approved.

The report by City Manager Ron Strand highlighted the rollout of the new organics trash program. Strand emphasized that the city is actively returning all phone calls on the subject from the public and continues to welcome communication from citizens. Megan McKenzie noted that trash sorting guide magnets to help clarify the program are available to the public at City Hall.

Megan McKenzie, the city’s Economic Development Analyst, also served on the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB) board and provided an encouraging update on the board’s focus in the future. Local filming projects continue to significantly lead in revenue and location exposure. Based on the recent public survey conducted by the city, the RACVB is joining other leaders to provide quality-of-life activities and events requested by the community. It was announced that the naval base’s Fleet and Family Readiness Program is sponsoring a hiring event on Saturday, February 25, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Kerr McGee Center.

  There was a presentation by Richie Savayong of the California Department of Insurance. Savayong outlined the California Low-Cost Auto (CLCA) Insurance Program aimed at affordable low-cost liability insurance for uninsured drivers. Policies are available for all Californians regardless of immigration status, he said. For more information, contact the insurance consumer hotline at 1-800-927-4357 or visit the website at CLCA pamphlets are also available at the front desk in City Hall.

     City Council will meet next Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 6 p.m.