Bulb-outs get bid goodbye
by Chris Wilson
Come mid-July, there will be no more bulb-outs on North Montgomery
A Camarillo company won the bid to remove the awkward, tire-marked,
and gravel-filled planters. Stan Hakes, Ojai's Public Works director,
told the City Council at their Tuesday night meeting that J &
H Construction was the lowest responsible bidder.
Hakes reminded the council that Public Works had estimated in
March the removal could cost up to $28,000, and that he was pleased
by the lower bid prices.
Hakes also reported that several neighbors and business owners
along the street wrote to the city requesting that the one additional
planter at 307 N. Montgomery St. be included in the removal.
This would provide additional parking spaces on the street across
from Meg Goodwin's Ojai House.
"The residents and businesses nearby have reminded staff
that on-street parking is at a premium," Hakes stated. "In
addition, Mr. and Mrs. Jones have called Public Works to add
their voice to those requesting that the planter be removed."
Destruction is expected to begin by mid to late June.
In other council news, Mayor Pro Tem Joe DeVito was honored at
the meeting. He received a resolution of appreciation from the
council and earned everyone present a slice of strawberry-filled
cake and a five-minute break from the evening's preceedings.
Inscribed on the cake, it said, "He's no ordinary Joe."
DeVito has been a member of the Ojai community for more than
30 years, and had a birthday this past week. He turned 70.
"This was a complete surprise," DeVito said. "Thank
you all so much"
Lisa Meeker from Help of Ojai asked the council to support and
assist her in requesting one-time-only grant funds for the Oak
Tree House adult day care facility. Help is requesting $13,621.
The money would be used to replace aging flooring, purchase a
washer and dryer and new computers. The grant Help is competing
for comes through the Older Americans Act. The council approved
the request unanimously.
The council also approved the signing of letters supporting legislation
that would double fines for vehicle infractions in school zones,
and opposing the preemption of local authority for second units
and density bonuses.
Finally, the council approved a plan to pay pension benefits
for retired Ojai city employees. The city was informed in 1998
that it owed $600,000 for public safety employees from the Ojai
Police Department. Former City Manager Andy Belknap requested
the California Public Employees Retirement System provide some
sort of payback plan for the city to cover the unfounded liability.
Given several options, the council chose to "pool"
public safety and employee plans into a payroll rate that will
annually cost the city $89,436 for 15 years.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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