Officials visit nation’s capital
HESPERIA • A small delegation from the city visited Washington, D.C., in an effort to showcase its projects and garner financial support.
Hesperia Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith, City Manager Mike Podegracz, City Grants Coordinator Georgia Lantsberger and Councilman Eric Schmidt made the trip last week to brief Rep. Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley, as well as staff from Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer on the city’s projects.
The projects include the city’s $16.7 million reclaimed water distribution system project, which will require 15 miles of pipeline, booster stations and reservoirs to deliver recycled water from the subregional wastewater facility to residential and commercial users.
The city has set aside $500,000 toward the distribution project and is seeking $2 million from the federal fiscal year 2015 budget to begin the design process, a staff report said.
“Priority Project 2” includes the widening of Main Street and Ranchero Road as they cross over the California Aqueduct.
Cost of the aqueduct bridge improvements at Ranchero Road is marked at $11 million, while cost of the Main Street bridge is $15 million.
The city, which has set aside $2 million toward the projects, is seeking another $4 million from the federal government.
The Rail Spur Infrastructure is the city’s “Priority Project 3,” which includes the construction of a sewer, streets, curbs, gutter and utility facilities on 80 acres owned by the city.
The $5 million infrastructure improvements project is critical to allow the city to bring industrial, manufacturing, warehousing and logistic businesses to the city’s “struggling I Avenue Industrial Area,” a staff report said.
Hesperia has set aside $1 million toward the rail spur project and is seeking $2 million from the federal budget.
“We met with the Federal Highway Administration to communicate our dismay with overhead charges billed to the city by BNSF,” wrote Schmidt, as he prepared to fly back from the East Coast on Tuesday.
Overhead costs were more than 200 percent of the labor costs, with BNSF’s additive rate costing the city an extra $202,900 above the original deposit to close out the project, a staff report said.
Schmidt said the team also met with the Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce to discuss potential follow-up support for the G Avenue industrial rail spur.
The team also met with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the city’s reclaimed water project, with potential funding opportunities in the 2015 federal fiscal year budget for the water distribution system, which should begin construction by October.
Schmidt said his group met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to better understand concerns the city has with the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant, which the council approved in 2013.
The group successfully negotiated a revised methodology, which will work with Hesperia’s specific fire safety contract with San Bernardino County, thereby allowing the city to maximize the grant award, the staff report said.
“Although most of the meetings were informational in nature, the meetings with FEMA and the FHWA yielded potential cost-saving to immediate projects the city is working on,” Schmidt wrote. “The trip was also quite beneficial to me in particular because it was my first opportunity to represent the city in D.C. and to meet key D.C. staff who are working with city staff to help our priority projects move forward.”
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@renegadereports.
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The article was taken from the Victor Valley Daily Press 760-241-4411
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Darling Analaarj Johnson · Top Commenter · Phelan, CaliforniaLocal government officials, suckling at the big government teat. They are willing to swallow any conditions that come with this feted money they seek. It is all for our good, don’t you know?Reply · Like · 2 · Follow Post · March 19 at 10:19am
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Sanford W. Cramer III · Follow · Top Commenter · Victor Valley CollegeA waste of time visiting the socialist Progressives at our expense.Reply · Like · Follow Post · March 20 at 8:29am