Mount Shasta City Council was introduced to the new deputy city clerk, heard information about the railroad quiet zone process, and approved two purchases of equipment for the public works department during Monday evening’s regular meeting.

Crystal Geyser EIR

In the council and staff comment period, mayor Geoff Harkness said he has been receiving a lot of questions about whether or not it’s appropriate for the City of Mount Shasta to take the role of lead agency in the Crystal Geyser EIR process.

City manager Paul Eckert said, “We certainly understand the public interest” and proceeded to read from an email sent by city attorney John Kenny regarding the subject.

“CEQA determines the appropriate lead agency,” Eckert read from the email.

Councilor Michael Burns said he thinks it’s important for the public to understand that CEQA makes the decision on who the lead agency will be.

Sand truck

Public works director Rod Bryan requested authorization to purchase demo models of two pieces of equipment. The first was a Henke HX1000 Series V-Box spreader from Enoven Truck Body and Equipment that will be added to the city’s old fire engine and used as a sand truck.

Bryan explained that $20,000 was included in the 2015-16 budget to purchase a used sand truck for the city.

He said that, since the fire department purchased a used engine a couple of months ago, the public works department will acquire the old engine that’s being taken out of service.

The quote for the demo unit v-box spreader from Enoven is $13,566.92. “Anything left over in the budget will be used to purchase parts for retrofitting the spreader to the old engine,” Bryan said.

He explained that, although all three plows are also capable of sanding, this will provide the city with a dedicated sand truck. “Sometimes, if it’s icy, we only send out the sand truck. This purchase replaces a really old truck we’ve been nursing for years.”

Authorization to purchase the v-box spreader passed unanimously.

Sewer camera

The second requested purchase was for used Cues solid state color sewer TV camera, related equipment and software from Weco Industries for $91,148.52.

“The city has been planning for this purchase for a number of years,” Bryan said. Council appropriated $100,000 in the 2015-16 budget to replace the old sewer TV camera equipment that’s becoming difficult to repair because of its aging components.

Bryan said that the Cues camera equipment is compatible with the city’s current equipment.

“It’s very timely that we replace this now,” Bryan said. “The benefits are invaluable.” He explained that the sewer camera allows public works staff to see what’s going on inside a six or eight inch water main, therefore helping to prevent sewer backups and overflows.

“This keeps our critical infrastructure system operating smoothly,” Bryan said.

Mayor Harkness added that Mount Shasta is the only municipality in south Siskiyou County that owns such technology, and in the past it’s been rented out to neighboring cities.

Authorization to purchase the used camera equipment passed unanimously.

Rail quiet zone

City manager Eckert presented council with information about railroad quiet zones.

He said Union Pacific owns the rail line that passes through Mount Shasta. An average of 19 freight trains pass through five at-grade crossings in the city. One pair of Amtrak passenger trains pass through per night.

Eckert described the traditional train horn rule, which dictates that horns must be blasted in a standardized pattern for at least 15 seconds, and no more than 20 seconds, in advance of all public grade crossings.

A quiet zone would prevent the train horn from sounding as it approaches the crossings, except in emergency situations.

Eckert said safety criteria must be met before a quiet zone can be implemented. This includes: flashing lights and gates, power out indicators, constant warning time circuitry, and audible warning for pedestrians.

The estimated cost for such improvements is $200,000 to $300,000 per crossing, which would be a total of $1 to $1.5 million for all five at-grade crossings in Mount Shasta.

Eckert’s report states that there is no federal funding for quiet zone improvements.

Mayor pro tem Jeffrey Collings suggested implementing noise cancelling speakers at rail crossings to reduce the overall amount of noise created by trains instead of merely eliminating the horn blasts.

Mayor Harkness formed a committee to continue researching the quiet zone project and appointed himself as a member. Harkness said council will hear more information about this at future meetings.

New deputy city clerk

Eckert introduced Larisa Proulx, Mount Shasta’s new deputy city clerk. Proulx holds a Master’s degree in public administration from Clark University in Massachusetts and has several years experience working with state and national parks services.

“Larissa’s really hit the ground running,” Eckert said in his introduction.

Proulx said she is excited to be serving the community of Mount Shasta.

Future agenda

Future agenda items for the next meeting in October include a centennial greenway progress update, recommendation regarding information technology service contract, joint city council and planning commission special meeting, and potential addition of short-term rentals to the R-1 zone-10.