Monday, April 24, 2017

[Kern County] Grand jury makes no recommendations, but shares fun facts about city

You might say the city of Tehachapi is living it up — a nod to one of its slogans — after a committee of the Kern County grand jury visited the city and offered no recommendations for improvement.
The Cities and Joint Powers Committee of the 2016-17 grand jury visited the city Feb. 28. Often, but not always, the committees offer points for improvement for the city or other entity they review. Not so here, in a report issued Thursday.
"The city appreciates Kern County grand jury for their extensive and thorough annual report," Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett. "This report adds to a long line of grand jury reports that confirm our team understands and embraces what it takes to manage all of your publicly owned infrastructure and support businesses. I am extremely proud of every employee for consistency providing the highest level of service to our residents possible."
Among the findings in the grand jury's report:
• The city has been operating in the black since 1999, and, according to the chief financial officer, the city anticipates being free of debt in three to four years. The city has a five-year budget plan, which is updated every year.
• Water conservation is important in the city. Water is produced by seven wells. Plans are under development to expand the wastewater treatment facility.
• The new police communication center replaced the contract with Bear Valley Springs, which was costing the city about $400,000 a year.
• According to Police Chief Kent Kroeger, crime is down 16 percent (although no information was listed by the grand jury regarding what time periods were being compared) and police are now enforcing city building codes.
• The Walmart Supercenter is expected to hire about 250 employees, and is anticipated to open later this year.
• The city received a regional award of merit from Kern Council of Governments for a model water-efficient landscape ordinance. A $2 million grant for downtown railroad safety improvements will be used for pedestrian crossings, fencing, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and gutters and sidewalks. A new bike path is to be added.
According to the report, the committee met with the city manager and assistant city manager, as well as staff from the Departments of Administrative Manager/Deputy City Clerk, the economic development coordinator, finance director, development services director, and the police chief.
April 9, 2017
Tehachapi News
By Darla A. Baker

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