The Weed City Council during its Oct. 8 meeting approved a contract for preliminary studies regarding planned upgrades for parts of the city’s sewer system and a contract for the evaluation of a potential new well site.

The council heard public comment from Sue Tavalero regarding pavement rehabilitation planned for the burned areas of Woodridge Court.

They also heard public comment from Jim Gubetta about his concerns regarding the current water negotiations between Roseburg and the City of Weed and regarding what he contends is Roseburg’s use of a portion of city land.

Sewer upgrade

The council approved a $135,752 contract with PACE Engineering to prepare a preliminary engineering report as well as documentation of project compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act.

PACE’s managing engineer, Paul Reuter, told the council that the contract includes an application for a Clean Water State Revolving Fund planning grant to the city which, if approved, should cover the cost of the preliminary studies and report for the sewer project.

City administrator Ron Stock said that although the grant funding to cover the work is not guaranteed, the $2 million USDA Rural Development low interest loan funds for which the city will apply to complete the upgrade requires engineering and preliminary environmental studies.

Stock said the city has paid more than $250,000 in claims over the past five years for sewer backups and other problems because of part of the system’s condition.

He said USDA Rural Development will look at the city’s income stream and ability to pay the loan funds back when determining whether or not Weed qualifies for the loan.

“We may have to look at bringing our rates up to comply with Proposition 218,” Stock said. That would involve public hearings and approval of any increases that may be required.

Reuter said the grant for the studies is offered for planning activities related to non-construction aspects of a project.

“We have had successful outcomes when applying for these funds for other cities,” he added.

Stock reminded the council that, “Each year we delay the project we can incur more sewer backups and the costs associated with that. Repeated backups raise insurance costs as well.”

Mayor Bob Hall said it seemed the city was taking “something of a leap of faith based on Reuter’s feeling we’ll get the grant.”

Well site evaluation

The council approved a contract with PACE for $11,849 for initial research and a feasibility analysis for a potential well site in north Weed.

As part of that contract, PACE will submit an application on the city’s behalf for a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grant to cover the cost of planning activities for a new well.

A potential well site would need to be as close as possible to city infrastructure and also a safe distance from the Baxter Superfund Site, to ensure the water is not contaminated.

Stock said the sites under consideration are on Siskiyou Union High School District land, on Roseburg Forest Products property, and on the Sons of Italy baseball park property.

“We’re not proposing to drill wells, we’re just asking to spend a small amount of money to see if these sites are potentially viable,” he said.

The city is in negotiations with Roseburg concerning the continuing municipal use of Beaughan Spring water after June 2016.

Councilor Ken Palfini reminded the council, “Just so we’re clear, this is to provide options for negotiations.”

Waste removal contract

The council received Stock’s report about actions taken to stop the automatic extension of the city’s contract with C&D Waste Removal.

“The time limit to take that action was before the council meeting, so we went ahead and sent a letter to them saying we wouldn’t automatically renew. I felt the council would like to put the contract out to bid,” he said.

Councilor Stacey Green asked if there had been any feedback from residents about C&D’s service.

“It’s been mostly positive, with a handful of negative,” Stock told him.

Stock suggested the council determine how they will analyze any proposals that are received, such as performance, investment in equipment, investment in containers, or any other aspects of waste removal it deems important.

Also during the meeting

The council did not approve a request by Jess Moreno to possibly purchase a city right of way at the end of Boles Street.