Rodriguez spoke about veterans of Taft and their great patriotic missions over in the wars of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. The main focus of concern revolved around a lack of coordination with the all ready existent VFW, who works with foreign veterans and holds many events in Taft.
Rodriguez made it clear to the council that this point was previously discussed with potential future board members who have already begun to plan a working foundation with VFW members.
Partnership activities may include events which honor veterans like parades, ceremonies, etc.
The potential future Veteran’s Board members “expressed an interest and very strong potential to serve and to recognize (veterans and their service]),” Rodriguez said.
The establishment of duties, such as advising Taft City Council, rules and regulations for the board and other requirements, would be decided upon at a later council meeting. A website may also be established in the future. Council members Rodriguez motioned and Alderwoman Denise Hitt had seconded the motion to pass the establishment of the Veteran’s Advisory Board.
The council considered whether or not to take action on granting a variance for a manufactured home, which will be located in the B-1 business zone, at 417 Victoria St., Taft. There was initial concern surrounding the variance.
City Attorney Roxann Cotroneo explained to the council that they may add “reasonable stipulations; what they deem to be in compliance of the variance.” Wind storm insurance would need to be purchased and the foundation requirement would need to be approved during the building inspection. Hitt motioned the approval for the variance and Alderwoman Donnie Sue Riojas seconded the motion.
Road maintenance is always a big part of the discussion when it comes to improving Taft, and Fred Farias, director of public works, has been working diligently on fixing up the streets in Taft. Some improvements have all ready been made on Green Avenue, Mcintyre Street, Victoria Street, and the 900 block on College Street, to name a few areas. Patching of some of the holes have been done with asphalt mixed with tar from pallets. Three 18-wheelers, full of asphalt and four 55-gallon drums of tar, have already been utilized.
An important element to easing the financial woes is regarding the collection of debts. The city of Taft and Santos McBain Management and Planning (SMMP), who are filling in as city manager at the point, are continuing to pay off past debt. Utility debt collected in June was $196,000, and $225,000 was collected in July, which was a significant change. They pulled in about $8,400 in revenue for the month of July.
Payments were made to the jail for housing, to the sheriff’s office for dispatch services and the elections office. The sales tax deposit went from $23,000 in June to $33,000 in August. Interest payments are implemented on bonded debt. There is approximately $250,000 in funds for city of Taft to pay bonded debt.
“While we chip away at some of the past due debts, it’s still significant.” said Ray de los Santos, co-owner of SMMP.
Another important item on the agenda is affiliated with the upcoming election on Tuesday, Nov. 4. The public will have the opportunity to make a decision about whether or not there should be a monthly fee implemented for both residential and commercial utility accounts. These accounts are within city limits only. The fees would go towards providing further funding for new streets, street repairs, and street maintenance.
The council adopted an imposed five-year limit for the fees, motioned by Hitt. After the second motion was made by Riojas, the motion passed. The public will choose if they wish to adopt the fee of $5.00 for residential accounts (968 total) and $10.00 for commercial accounts (108 total), which would equate to $71,040 per year. These located only within the city limits of Taft.
Please note the Stage 2 mandatory water restrictions for Taft:
• Sprinkler irrigation is limited to one day per week, the designated watering day is on the customer’s garbage pickup day.
• Handheld and drip irrigation is allowed any time (handheld hoses, buckets or irrigation system equipped with a positive shut off nozzle which includes soaker hoses.
• Car washing is limited to designated watering day, except at a commercial car wash.
• All residential fountains and indoor commercial fountains are permitted to operate. Outdoor commercial fountains must have a variance permit.
• Filling pools is limited to designated watering day.
• Water use from hydrants is permitted for construction purposes with special permit.
• Building foundations may be maintained with a handheld or drip hose only.
• You may fill pools, but only on designated watering day.
• Washing buildings, sidewalks, amongst others, is prohibited except for business purposes or in interest of public health and safety in which a permit is required.
• Also note that no sprinkler irrigation shall be used between 10-6 p.m.
• Contact Fred Farias at the Public Works Dept. or The city of Taft at 528-3512, if you have any questions.