The Hemet City Council, with a new mayor, approved the purchase of 6,200 new radio read water meters and amended their purchasing and public works contracting ordinances at the Tuesday, Dec. 12, council meeting.
In a quick vote, the five-member council nominated and elected Michael Perciful of District 3 as the city’s 2018 mayor and Karlee Meyer of District 1 as the new mayor pro tem.
Perciful will replace Councilwoman Linda Krupa who served as the city’s mayor for the past year, and Meyer replaces Perciful who served as mayor pro tem. Bonnie Wright and Russ Brown remain as council members.
The council presented Krupa with an engraved clock to thank her for her service to the council and the community during 2017.
After approving the consent calendar, a public hearing was conducted to approve and authorize the purchase of 6,200 new radio read water meters from Core and Main of Santa Ana with an amount not to exceed $1,527,072.
The city earlier purchased 3,800 radio meters. Public Works Director Kristen Jensen reported to the council the much-needed electronic meters will save the city $480,000 if they are purchased before Dec. 30. The new meters will replace 500 meters that are no longer working and the remaining meters that will soon exhaust their batteries that can’t be economically replaced.
The new meters will be installed by city crews in groups as needed. The Hemet City Water Department services 10,000 residential water meters.
She said she asked and gained the approval of the council to make the purchase with the funding coming out of Water Reserve Fund 571. The reserve funding was made from savings the water department made over the past three years.
The council heard a request from Hemet Finance Director Lorena Rocha to amend the purchasing and public works contracting ordinances to allow for a broader means of soliciting bids for needed city goods and services.
The amended ordinances clarify how bids are to go out and who is authorized to approve the bids and contracts.
The ordinances allow city department employees to contract or purchase goods and services needed for public projects under $45,000. Public projects up to $175,000 can be let by contract and informal bidding with the city manager who is allowed to award these projects. Public projects in excess of $175,000 by contract and bidding must be approved by the city council.
The city council is informed of all needed purchases and must gain their approval through the consent calendar. Public hearings are held on all larger projects, their costs, where in the budget is cost listed and what, if any, expected revenue or savings it will bring.
The amended ordinance also contained some restrictions on the larger purchases.
“If the contract is awarded, it shall be awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder as required by Public Contracts Code section 22038b. lf all bids received are in excess of the amount stated in section 2-357b, the city council may, by adoption of a resolution by a four-fifths vote, award the contract in an amount not to exceed the amount stated in Public Contract Code section 22034d to the lowest responsible bidder if it determines the cost estimate of the city was reasonable,” according to the amended ordinance.
Basically, the council has some latitude to approve a slightly higher bid if the lower bid contractor does not meet the requirements or standards sought in the project estimate.
An end of the year and quarterly budget update was made by the finance director, showing the city’s revenue for 2017 of $38,210,116 was up 2.7 percent mainly from higher sales taxes and regional returns.
However, the city’s expenditures totaling $41,674,740 were slightly over budget because of the increasing cost of employee memorandums of understanding, resignations, retirements and public safety units.
She said Measure U revenues of $2,442,671 were slightly higher than what was budgeted at $2,239,243. She said the extra revenue would most likely go back into the General Fund to help pay back a loan to the police and fire departments approved by the council soon after the Measure U one cent sales tax was approved by voters in November.
New police officers, firefighters and paramedics have been already been hired by the Measure U revenue, with more coming.