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Holtville Renews Contract With Sheriff, Water Plant Upgrades Get O.K.

HOLTVILLE — For a third time on Nov. 25 the Holtville City Council renewed a five-year contract for the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office to continue handling law enforcement responsibilities for the city.

While the second renewal saw costs inflate by 9.5 percent, from $976,000 to $1.068 million, the current contract increased by 3.28 percent to $1.103 million. That is owing mainly to pay rates rising for ICSO personnel, explained Nick Wells, city manager.

The city began contracting with the Sheriff’s Office after closing its own police department.

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This was the second reading of Resolution 19-36 and it passed by a vote of 4-0 with Mayor Ginger Ward absent.

“It’s important to point out the billings never escalated beyond the ‘not-to- exceed’ amount and generally the billings came in at 85 to 95 percent,” said Wells.

Dovetailing on that agenda item was Resolution 19-35 authorizing the city to apply for a U.S. Department of Justice grant for the Citizen Action for Public Safety grant. The city would receive $63,336 for the current 2019-20 fiscal year. It was approved 4-0.

The grant would be applied to front-line law enforcement services. A previous grant was for $100,000.

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“It’s administered through Imperial County,” said Wells. “It’s a requirement to renew each year and every year we’ve requested funding.”

Water Plant Project

In another matter, stemming from a recent revelation the city’s water treatment plant incurred some corrosion to the tank wall, the council voted 4-0 to approve Resolution 19-34 for upgrades to the system.

This is a proactive measure to prevent excessive amounts of total trihalomethane (TTHM) and take measures to minimize this element, which is a byproduct of chlorine disinfection.

“But we haven’t experienced a violation in years,” said Wells. “The State Water Resources Control Board provides 100 percent forgiveness for replacement equipment and repairs.”

Though the state will reimburse for the project, a cost estimate was not announced.

Along with the tank wall repair, new emergency generators, raw water reservoirs and an electrical panel will be replaced, as well as a water-baffle system (filters sediment) and construction of a shade structure for clarifiers and filters.

The council also passed Resolution 19-33 by a 4-0 vote to qualify for housing funding under state Senate Bill 2. The city will apply for the maximum amount of $160,000 based on population.

“Essentially, the state made a big push for housing and realized cities have challenges providing infrastructure where new housing developments go,” said Wells.

Funds are provided by the California Department of Housing and Community Development to help cities meet housing-element goals. Since 1969, California has required all local governments to adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. Local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their general plan and update it periodically.

Fire Department Matters

In another matter, Fire Chief Alex Silva requested a memorandum of understanding between the city’s fire department and the Centinela State Prison fire department, which also passed 4-0. It is a mutual-aid pact in the event of a major disaster, noted Wells.

“Essentially it says we’re not going to charge fees for (fire) service and they will reciprocate,” he said.

In a presentation, Patricia and Carl Burnworth presented Silva with a check for $6,285 for the Firefighters Association. This was funds raised at the beginning of October from the first annual Johnny B. Memorial at Holt Park.

It honored Jonathan Burnworth, a former Holtville firefighter who admired Silva and helped him train the Fire Explorers (student trainees). Jonathan was tragically killed while working for IID’s emergency management services last year. The Burnworth family intends to continue the fundraiser for the next four years and hopefully turn operations over to a nonprofit.


This story is featured in the Nov 28, 2019 e-Edition.