Josh Alpine named Mayor of Colfax
Colfax City Council members appointed Joshua Alpine as mayor on Wednesday evening. Councilman Ken Delfino was chosen as mayor pro tem.
According to city policy, the office of mayor is rotated based on seniority with the exception of council members who have already served.
“It’s been a year of growth and positive change and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it,” said outgoing mayor Suzanne Roberts. “I look forward to working with Josh, who is a dynamic personality. We’ve planned an exciting year.”
Alpine predicted 2010 will see increased economic development and a focus on the city’s Centennial.
“Next year will be our centennial, the 100-year celebration of our town and its wonderful history. We plan to organize and help facilitate an air of good feelings for the entire year,” he said.
With the new council positions settled, the group took quick action on a series of ordinances, many of which were officially approved after appearing on past agendas.
Sewage ordinances passed
Council members adopted an ordinance creating a private lateral replacement program. The law, which goes into effect in early January, makes property owners financially liable for the condition of their sewer laterals, the lines that connect residences and businesses to the sewer system.
Colfax is required to implement the private lateral program, reduce its inflow and infiltration (I&I) and upgrade its lift stations to be brought into compliance with a state cease and desist order and a settlement agreement.
In response to criticism from residents and the real estate community for not including cost estimates or a time schedule, council members asked for their patience.
“It’s being created,” Alpine said. “We’re working as hard as we can to get this out to people as fast as we can. We’re also working on an I&I grant, which poses a good opportunity to talk about schedules and some type of rough estimates.”
The grant could cover up to 50 percent of property owners’ costs.
Council members also agreed to award a $2.8 million contract for construction of sewage lift station improvements and sewer rehabilitation to contractor McGuire & Hester and authorized an additional $229,000 to ECO:LOGIC, the designer of the sewage improvements, for engineering services on the I&I station.
Action could be taken on the final ordinance require for compliance on Dec. 16, when the council considers requiring commercial businesses, such as restaurants, to install a FOG system to trap fats, oil and grease.
In an unrelated action, City Manager Bruce Kranz received authorization to sign contracts and approve approximately $15,000 to $20,000 in expenses for emergency repairs or replacement of recently failed pumps for the wastewater treatment plant’s Pond 3.
Landscape requirements and fire response
In other action, council members grudgingly adopted state-mandated water efficient landscape requirements. The regulations will apply to new development as well as existing homeowners in the process of re-landscaping.
They also authorized Kranz to execute a contract with Fire Recovery USA LLC, a group that recovers costs from fire department response to accidents.
According to the city, 40 to 85 percent of accidents in Colfax involve non-residents. Since Fire Recovery bills the insurance company of the responsible party, some of the Colfax taxpayer funds that go to paying for the fire response of non-residents – typically $425 to $1,575 per incident – would be returned.
Fees for the service are taken out of recovered funds.
Discussions for future meetings
Council members also introduced, but did not take action on, several items.
City Attorney Mick Cabral suggested the council update its costly purchasing system, which currently requires the city to go out to competitive bid for every item.
“Going out to competitive bid takes time, it takes money and it doesn’t necessarily save you money,” Cabral said. “I rarely see purchasing systems codified like this.”
For instance, had the council sought competitive bids for the Pond 3 pump replacement, they would have tacked on an additional $15,000 to the estimate, bringing the total to $30,000, explained Councilman Steve Harvey.
“We don’t have the staff to do this, this (process) is for Los Angeles or San Francisco, not a small city,” Harvey said.
Council members also brought up rearranging the city’s Economic Development Commission and Planning Commission.
The council expressed desire to reactivate the EDC, which hasn’t met since August 2006, with each council member appointing a commission member.
As for the Planning Commission, Cabral suggested replacing previous commissioners with council members for the duration of the general plan update. Following the update, the council would reinstate an independent commission of appointed members.
The council’s next meeting – a continuation of the Dec. 9 agenda – will start at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16.