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City Council approves street sweeping outsourcing but maintains weekly schedule

The City of Hanford’s City Council approved a contract with national company Sweeping Corporation of America to begin outsourcing the City’s street sweeping services that would maintain the City’s current street sweeping schedule at a cost of $869,290.

City staff had previously recommended that Hanford enter into a contract with Sweeping Corporation of America at a cost of $632,660.07 in a staff report before the meeting. Under that proposed agreement, city street sweeping would have moved to a bi-weekly schedule for areas outside of downtown Hanford.

Under the revised recommendation from city staff approved Tuesday night after further negotiations with Sweeping Corporation of America, the new, more expensive deal will maintain the City’s previous weekly sweeping schedule for areas outside of downtown Hanford, which will be swept more frequently.

City Council member Diane Sharp was absent from the meeting. The four remaining council members unanimously voted to approve the new contract with Sweeping Corporation of America.

Employees who work as street sweepers will be offered new positions to avoid layoffs. The City of Hanford will sell some of the street sweepers currently being used once the contract kicks in.

Although the weekly contract is more expensive, it’s still cheaper than the $897,000 in street sweeping costs the city paid in the previous fiscal year. Deputy City Manager Jason Waters said Monday that the City had been struggling to maintain its weekly schedule for sweeping across town.

Waters said Wednesday that a new contract will mean that the City no longer has to worry about maintaining the street sweepers.

“One of the benefits of going this direction is that it makes it a lot easier to budget, because we’re no longer paying equipment and maintenance on the sweepers themselves,” Waters said.

“It’s easier for us to budget year-to-year because we’re paying for the service.”

The City Council also officially approved the notices of completion of two deep water wells in the City of Hanford, replacing two water wells that were no longer in production. The first, Well 51, is near a City of Hanford water site on Fargo Avenue west of the railroad crossing, and the second well, Well 52, is located in the City’s Public Works yard.

Before the City Council meeting, a study session looked at how Hanford’s leadership could eventually change the rates for service charges for water, wastewater and storm drain rates after Lechowicz & Tsend Municipal Consultants have partially completed a rate study for the City’s utilities.

Under a proposed, preliminary set of changes to the city’s rates, a single family residential property would be expected to pay slightly more on each bill a month. A preliminary rate structure shown by the consultants showed a monthly bill from water, sewer and stormwater services as reaching $65.77 instead of $59.75

But any actual changes to the City’s rate structure are still months away at the minimum. Final recommendations on rate changes are planned to another City Council meeting in late October, with a minimum 45 day-period after that where affected property owners are allowed to provide comments on the rate changes to the City.

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