Lemoore City Council approves big dollars for long-awaited water treatment plant and police dispatch center projects

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore City Council Chambers
Lemoore City Council Chambers

The Lemoore City Council, in a relatively brief session, made some big dollar decisions at its regular council meeting Tuesday night (April 16). Council members voted to hire a contractor for the design and building of a new Lemoore water treatment plant and then awarded a contract for the construction of a police dispatch center.

Both projects have long been in the works. Both items were passed by council members 4-1. Only Councilmember Holly Blair voted against the two critical items.

The water treatment plan has been in the planning stages for years, and on Tuesday council members approved a contract with J.R. Filanc Construction to assist the city in the design-build portion of the proposed water treatment plant. The city needs to build a new treatment facility to improve its water quality and meet state and federal standards regarding the elimination of trihalomethanes in the city’s drinking water.

Trihalomethanes have become an issue for the city’s water supply in recent years. Trihalomethanes are a group of four chemicals—chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform—formed, along with other disinfection by-products, when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter.

Phase one of the will include $525,260 for the pre-construction phase consisting of engineering, geotechnical investigations, and design development. Phase two will include the completion of the projects final design, construction, and performance testing.

City officials have access to a little over $30 million – financed by bond proceeds – to pay for the costs of the new water treatment facility. City leaders recently raised the water rates to pay the long-term costs of the bond measure.

The dispatch center will provide dispatching services for the police department and the Lemoore Volunteer Fire Department and is expected to provide a better level of service to both departments and Lemoore’s citizens.

City staff recommended that JTS Modular build the new center for $1,860,000, a cost that includes a contingency fund for possible changes to the project. If the 10 percent contingency is not used it the city will retain the extra funds.

The funding for the dispatch center comes from several sources, the general fund, state grants, and law and fire development impact fees. Nearly $1 million came from a state grant in 2016.

Blair had previously voted no on earlier votes to move the water treatment plant forward and voted no again Tuesday night. In explaining her no vote to begin construction of the dispatch center, she said the city should have considered the local workforce to help build the new dispatch center. Assistant City Manager Michelle Speer told council members that the city followed state contract law. In advertising for contractors, city officials posted everywhere, including trade journals and other places.

“We’re going to bring public safety dispatch to our city,” said Lemoore Police Chief Darrel Smith. “We’re going to be able to provide full-time jobs – dispatch jobs. It’s the kind of job that can last a lifetime.”

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