LEMOORE — The last Lemoore City Council meeting until August lasted over three-and-a-half hours, and included plans to consolidate city services, a new mobile command post for the police department and more discussion on Venture Place.
Finance Director Heather Corder and Parks and Recreation Director Jason Glick discussed with council a recommendation to consolidate city services and personnel into the Cinnamon Municipal Complex, located at 711 W. Cinnamon Drive.
Current city services are provided at three locations: City Hall, the Cinnamon Municipal Complex and the Police Department. The proposal is in an effort to increase service for the citizens of Lemoore by creating a single location for all finance, recreation, public works, planning and city manager functions under one roof.
Corder said it would be better for the community if all the city’s services were consolidated to one place because sometimes people go to the municipal complex but have to be sent to City Hall, or they go to City Hall and have to be sent to the municipal complex.
Glick said there are empty offices at the municipal complex and he believes city would run more efficiently if all staff members and department directors were in the same place and could work together and increase productivity.
To achieve this consolidation, the city manager’s office and finance department personnel would need to move into the Cinnamon Municipal Complex and modifications to the building would need to be made.
The proposed modifications to the municipal complex would provide the finance department with a larger lobby for citizens to conduct their business with increased privacy and comfort. Council approved city staff to move forward with the project and a bid proposal for the work will come before council at a later date.
Corder said city staff is currently reviewing options for City Hall, should the consolidation happen, including leasing the space, creating a veterans/fire department museum or a teen center. After researching each of the options, they will come back to council at a later date with a proposal for the City Hall location.
Council unanimously approved the purchase of a 2018 Sandstorm toy hauler to be converted into a mobile command post for the Lemoore Police Department, and authorized a budget amendment to the vehicle asset replacement account for $38,807.
Cmdr. Michael Kendall told council the department’s current mobile command post is a 1990 Holiday Rambler recreational vehicle that is in disrepair and hasn’t run in two years. The new command post costs a little over $29,000 to purchase, and another $9,800 to properly equip and outfit for police use.
Kendall said the city will receive reimbursement from Homeland Security Grant funds in an amount not to exceed $38,807, which will cover the purchase of the unit, graphics, radio equipment and installation costs. Any reimbursements would be deposited back into the vehicle asset replacement account.
Police say mobile command posts are used to enhance, or reestablish, communication and coordination during emergency incidents and special security events. A mobile command post would provide a base of operations, and an enclosed area free of distraction for incident management decisions. Once dispatched to a disaster or emergency, the vehicle would provide instant, on-site communications, command and control of assets in a standalone facility.
Council also discussed Venture Place land parcels in Lemoore’s Industrial Park. At the June 6 Lemoore City Council meeting, council was asked if it would like to partner in the development of the parcels in the amount of $500,000.
In an effort to boost economic development in the city, the land's owner, Tom Vorhees, is asking for the council's help in paying for a road and other infrastructure that would attract businesses to the site. However, the road is estimated to cost $1 million — far more than originally projected — hence the request for the city to participate.
Interim City Manager Nathan Olson said that the city could not contribute to the development of the road because it was part of the agreement between Vorhees and the Lemoore Redevelopment Agency that Vorhees would develop the road.
Council has been interested in getting development in that area of town, but there was some hesitation because any money used to help Venture Place would have to be taken from the general fund, and there’s is not a lot of cushion in the fund currently.
“We need to go back and look at some ways of doing this,” Mayor Ray Madrigal said, adding the city is in a bind financially.
After a long back-and-forth discussion with public input, council decided that they would like to talk to Vorhees face-to-face in a special open meeting sometime in the next month. Lemoore City Council will not meet again for a regular meeting until Aug. 15.