LEMOORE — After a 1 ½ hour study session on ethics, the Lemoore City Council conducted a very brief meeting with reports on water and new rules on the city’s skate park and official logo.
A closed session, scheduled to consider Lemoore City Manager Andi Welsh, who remains on administrative leave, was not held and was officially removed from the agenda after Mayor Ray Madrigal said the council had nothing to discuss at this time.
The study session was held in conjunction with the Planning and Recreation commissions to bring members up to speed on ethics rules that apply to them.
Public Works Director Nathan Olson gave a report to the council about the city’s ongoing water trials. Previously Lemoore has tried to make the water safe by adding chlorine in an attempt to meet state health standards and to deal with naturally occurring chemicals in the city's water. However, the chlorine caused trihalomethanes (TTHM), which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says causes cancer in lab animals.
Olson said there is no detection of ammonia in the city’s water, but TTHM and haloacetic acids (HAA5) are right at the borderline for compliance. Haloacetic acids are chemicals that can form as a result of water treatment and may also pose a health risk to consumers. Olson has previously told the Sentinel the water is safe to drink, according to state standards. Lemoore currently mixes water from various wells to lower chemical concentration levels to safe standards.
“Too close for comfort,” Olson said about the TTHM and HAA5 levels. “We need to do a little bit of work, so we’re adjusting the trial.”
Olson said the Public Works department will add phosphates to the water to feed microorganisms, do some pH balancing by using less chlorine and use resin to attack the organic carbon, which is where the TTHM is coming from.
Olson said after a meeting with State Water Board officials, they are willing to extend the city’s deadline to further clean the water, which is Oct. 1, 2017. However, Olson said the department is working hard to meet the existing deadline.
Switching to a different topic, Olson said there was a water leak on Lombardy Lane. He said the road was undermined about 2 ½ feet on a 10-foot long section. He said the Public Works department had employees back-fill what they could by hand and the road is now open. He said there are bids out for contractors to fix the road, but it is not an emergency at this time.
In new business, Olson said paving crews are targeting today and Friday to begin paving Hill Street between D and C streets, which had water damage. Because it was declared an emergency repair, the status of the Hill Street road paving will remain on the city’s agenda as a report until the project is complete.
The Lemoore City Council voted 4-0, with Councilman Eddie Neal absent, to adopt an ordinance reducing the city’s skate park’s hours of operation and banning alcohol from the facility after incidents of graffiti, vandalism and other damage have occurred at the park.
The park, located on the corner of Fox and E streets, currently operates from dawn until dusk. The new ordinance will set specific hours for use of the park. From May 1 to Sept. 30, the park will be open between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. From Oct. 1 to April 30, the park will be open between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The ordinance will be in effect in 30 days and it will be unlawful to enter, loiter or remain in the park outside of the designated hours.
The council discussed an ordinance pertaining to the proprietary right and use of the official city seal and other insignia. The issue of using the city seal arose when Councilmember Holly Blair requested in January that she be allowed to use the city’s logo on her business cards.
Lemoore City Clerk Janie Venegas said the ordinance restricts the use of the official city seal and insignia to official city business only, applying to business cards as well. She said the ordinance allows for enforcement for unlawful use of the city seal or logo, which could result in a misdemeanor charge. Last month, councilmembers agreed to allow Blair to use the logo on her cards.
The next council meeting is 7:30 p.m. March 21 at 7:30 in Council Chambers, 429 C. St.