Serving the community since 1970

City plans April reopening for offices, Dial-a-Ride

The city office will reopen its doors to the public on April 5, City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez reported during the recent council meeting.

“The city’s offices have been closed for a year tomorrow (March 17, 2020) and the city has completed many of the facility updates required for a covid-19-safe return such as installing recommended barriers between the public and city staff, purchasing an air purifier to disinfect the work stations and upgrading the doors so handles won’t have to be touched, instead a large bar will be across the doors, which can be pushed with an elbow or shoulder,” Ortiz-Hernandez said.

Ortiz-Hernandez also informed the council that Dial-a-Ride will begin around April 5 with a modified schedule due to the city having one bus driver on staff. Dial-a-Ride will be available Monday through Friday with reservations needed prior to a trip. Contact the city at 661-758-7222. The drivers will not be making change, so come with the exact amount for your trip for both directions. Note that the number of riders will be restricted, so making a reservation is necessary.

Ortiz-Hernandez also said that due to the construction on Highway 46, drop-off locations may differ. The city has also purchased an electro-static device that that the driver will use in order to sanitize the bus.

He added that the bus will be able to transport wheelchairs.

City Clerk Maria Martinez said each trip for seniors and students will cost $1 and the general cost is $1.50 each trip.

In other city business, the council discussed utilizing the former farm labor camp administration building as a possible site for a refurbished animal shelter to replace the existing shelter.

Council members Gilberto Reyna and Vince Martinez agreed that there are too many unknown cost factors in refurbishing the administration building and asked Ortiz-Hernandez to have staff investigate this further, while council member Pallares stated that he would like to see the project move forward. Council member Tilo Cortez was not present at the meeting.

“We can’t build a facility that cheap,” Mayor Alex Garcia said. Reyna and Martinez expressed concern about the costs such as vandalism and the number of times a deputy has been called out to the location.

Sam Estes, pastor and City Advance Director at Communities, Inc., gave a presentation on the newly formed Wasco Task Force. He described his experience with the City of Sanger Task Force that he created. Martinez volunteered to be the liaison between the City Council and the task force to keep both groups informed.

Public Works Director Biridiana Bishop reported that there was only one bidder on the 7th Street Tree Well Repairs located in the historic downtown district.

“Their bid was $105,000, which is too high,” Bishop said. “The bid should have come closer to $70,000, which is what was quoted to us. We should rebid the project to get closer to $70,000.”


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