By: Sebastian Echeverry
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, the Signal Hill City Council agreed to contract Steve Badum, vice president of engineering and municipal services for AndersonPenna Partners, Inc. (APP), to provide Signal Hill temporary engineering and project-management services.
APP is a company that specializes in project delivery for local and regional public agencies and special districts throughout the western United States.
The council recruited Badum to help temporarily oversee City projects while it hires someone to fill the vacant position of Public Works director– previously held by Steve Myrter. City Manager Charlie Honeycutt said the executive recruitment process to find a new director is estimated to take four months.
According to APP’s website, Badum has more than 35 years of experience in the field of municipal management and engineering. The contract price agreement between the City and APP is set at $61,440.
The council agreed on a ballot vote for John Oskoui and Mark Grajeda to be placed in the Central Basin Municipal Water District’s (CBMWD) board of directors. Specifically, Oskoui is vying for the city purveyor board position, and Grajeda is vying for the at-large purveyor board position.
According to a press release posted on centralbasin.org, Oskoui has over 30 years of experience in local government, including 20 years in municipal engineering and public works. He is also familiar with the southeast region of the Los Angeles County through his involvement as a member of the Central Basin Water Rights panel. Oskoui is a registered civil engineer and has a post-graduate degree in engineering.
The press release also stated that Grajeda has 35 years of municipal water experience. Since 2006, Grajeda has served as the general manager for the Pico Water District. Prior to this, he served as the general manager for the Valley County Water District, the utilities superintendent for the City of San Jacinto and the district manager for a private water company. Grajeda is also president of the Central Basin Water Association.
The CBMWD’s main goal is to deliver high-quality water, as well as recycled water services, to its customers and communities through effective and collegial partnerships with its retailers and other wholesalers, according to the press release. The two open positions will represent city water purveyors, including Signal Hill, within the CBMWD’s board of directors.
The council contracted with Califa, a nonprofit library membership consortium of more than 220 libraries, to provide the Signal Hill Public Library with high-speed broadband internet access.
Alison Dobay, Signal Hill’s community-services manager, said the annual cost for delivery of the high-speed broadband internet service is approximately $25,212, and it will be billed on a monthly basis.
The proposed contract includes provisions for Califa and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) project, according to Dobay.
According to califa.org, “CENIC operates the California Research & Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity 3,800-mile fiber-optic-based network designed to meet the unique requirements of over 20 million users, including the vast majority of K-20 students together with educators, researchers and others working in California’s vital public-serving institutions.”
Dobay said that City staff members believe that 90 percent of the charges for the internet will be reimbursed to the City via formulas currently used for the California Teleconnect Fund– a program run by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that provides a 25-percent discount on select telephone services and 50-percent discounts on broadband services to schools, libraries, hospitals and about 7,000 community-based organizations.
The internet service will start once the new library building is fully constructed in March 2018.
Aly Mancini, Signal Hill’s community services director, gave a presentation on a program called After-School Recreation Club (ARC).
ARC is a low-cost after-school program for Signal Hill residents and school children. Citizens that are not considered Signal Hill residents but attend a school within city limits are eligible to join ARC.
“We focus on enhancing the self-esteem and relationships between the children, discovery, exploration and community building,” Mancini said.
Members of ARC engage in activities, including arts and crafts, outdoor play, organized sports and team-building projects.
“It’s a fantastic program,” Mancini said.
Colleen Doan, Signal Hill’s community development senior planner, gave a presentation on the City’s participation in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count event, which took place on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 25, and the point-in-time count tally reported to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
The event invited citizen-volunteers to accompany off-duty police officers to take to the streets and count how many homeless individuals they saw in the city. The City compares the results to the numbers collected from last year’s event to estimate how many homeless people live in Signal Hill.
The data collected during the Homeless Count event are also used to help agencies, similar to LAHSA, determine where resources are needed to help the homeless effectively.
Doan said this year there were less makeshift shelters reported in comparison to last year.
“It’s interesting because the homelessness problem in the data that we’ve heard is that it’s definitely a growing problem,” Doan said. “These numbers don’t show that, but remember that this is just one point-in-time type of tally.”
The next Signal Hill City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7pm in council chambers, 2175 Cherry Ave.