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No water guarantees as Claremont City Council reviews feasibility study

After about 4 months of anticipation, the Claremont City Council is expected to make an announcement on the appraisal of the city’s water system this Tuesday, October 23.  

The city council will meet in closed session at 4 p.m. to review the Water Acquisition Feasibility Study and possibly make an offer to the Golden State Water Company. Any actions taken during that time will be reported at the regular council meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The city of Claremont began the journey toward potential acquisition last January when $250,000 of general reserve funds was allocated to explore the possibility of purchasing the city’s water system. A utility consultant, appraiser and financial consultant were among the hiring expenditures.

In June, Mayor Larry Schroeder announced the council’s decision to continue the move forward, determining costs associated with the possible acquisition. The feasibility study eliminates the financial impact the acquisition would have on the city. Based on its findings, the independent consulting team will help the city decide if the water system can be acquired at a reasonable price and allow the city to provide water to its citizens at a competitive price and protect them from future increases.

This hasn’t been the first time the city of Claremont has looked to the same process in an attempt to buy the water system. A similar feasibility study was conducted by the firm of RW Beck under former city Manager Glenn Southard in 2003 for $50,000, the same cost projected for the current study. The firm appraised the water system then at $40 to $45 million, an increase from a 1988 appraisal conducted by the city that projected the cost at $12 million. After several years of negotiations and process, the council halted its move toward attainment in 2005.

With water rates continuing to rise, the current council maintains it will continue its fight forward despite the potential length of the battle.

 

New canines, economic partnership 

In addition to the water discussion, the Claremont City Council will review a request for a new dog to join Claremont police along with the re-institution of the department’s K9 unit. Canine costs are estimated at about $55,500.

The Claremont Police’s K9 unit previously operated between 1989 and 1998 with 2 German Shepherds named Mollog and Dusty. With their retirement came the end of the program. To reinstate the program, the police department is requesting money from the general fund to purchase a dog and a 2013 Ford police vehicle for the K9 unit. Ongoing annual costs to cover monthly training, food and veterinary costs, plus overtime expenses are estimated at about $10,500. The dog would be used for narcotics detection, according to a report by Claremont Police Chief Paul Cooper. The canine would be assigned to the school officer and used primarily for drug detection at local schools, the report continues.

The council will also discuss whether or not to renew its membership within the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.

The SGVEP is a regional nonprofit collective that aims to promote the continued success of businesses and economic development throughout the region. Of the 31 cities that make up the San Gabriel Valley, 25 are members of the partnership.

Last month, Councilmember Sam Pedroza directed staff to find a potential new funding source for the membership fee because of the vital resources the partnership provides to the city. Though the previous funding source for Claremont’s membership—paid for through redevelopment monies—is no longer available, a secondary source should be found, according to Mr. Pedroza.

“It truly is the voice for not just businesses, but for cities as well and cities that want to work with businesses,” Mr. Pedroza said at the September 25 council meeting. “Claremont is a big part of the San Gabriel Valley and we would be a lost voice if we don’t reconsider our membership.”

Without a renewal, the city’s current membership will expire this month.

Potential resolutions supporting the November election’s Proposition 30 and Measure J are also on the agenda. The Claremont City Council meeting takes place in the City Council Chamber, 225 W. Second St. View Tuesday night’s full agenda at www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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