Interim City Manager Tom Haglund asked council members to approve up to $50,000 over the next two years to hire consultants retained for the Cal-Waste negotiations that have commercial businesses paying up to 600 percent more than before the new contract. Haglund was asking to hire the consultants to make sure that Cal-Waste and the city were in compliance with the new state regulations. The second reason Haglund gave was to see if commercial rates could be adjusted. He was questioned by four of the five city council members at the May 21 meeting at City Hall.

Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer asked Haglund if the city should use them again considering the considerable controversy over the high commercial waste rates.

Haglund said he had no reason to believe R3 Consulting firm did anything wrong.

“To blame R3 is to assume information not in evidence,” Haglund said.

Haglund also said that to compare Galt rates with that of Sacramento or even Lodi should not be done because those cities have so many more commercial businesses. He also said that R3 was given specific directions from the city negotiating team on what to study for their recommendations. He did not specify what R3 was asked to do.

“Galt has just under 180 commercial customers,” Haglund said. “So, when you estimate the commercial cost of those accounts, you have to spread that cost over those few numbers … I just haven’t seen the proof that R3 is to blame for these rates.”

Mayor Paige Lampson asked if it would be more expensive to go with a different consultant.

Haglund said it would take more time and be more expensive.

Resident Kami Martin spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

“You are willing to pay R3 up to $50,000 over the next two years over a service Cal-Waste is already contracted to perform,” Martin said. “Additionally, while there are many feet at which blame can be placed over the recent dissatisfaction with this contract, R3 is most certainly on that list. R3 failed to bring to the attention of staff or council that some of the commercial rates would be increasing some 4, 5, 600 times their current rates. One would think that such an impact would be worthy of at least one bullet in a power point presentation, given their role of, you know, consulting.”

Council members voted 5-0 to grant Haglund’s request for R3 Consultants.

Community Development Director Chris Erias asked council to allow for another $4,500 for Terra Realty Advisors who found sign companies to bid on a digital sign planned for 500 Fairway Drive. Erias said they had a number of good bids but the best was Clear Channel who offered a lease of $9,000 a month and 25 percent of gross revenues; however, staff was able to further negotiate with Clear Channel for a guarantee of $100,000 a year or 23 percent of the gross revenues, whichever is greater. Erias said most sign companies reimburse for consultant fees once a contract is signed.

Council approved the action 3-2, with Farmer and Councilman Rich Lozano voting against it.

Council also reviewed the Community Benefit Funding Grant applications. The Galt Area Historical Society asked for $10,000, as did the Chamber of Commerce. Purrfically Pawsable asked for $3,000. Council granted $4,000 to the historical society and the chamber while giving the cat rescue organization $2,000.

In other action, Lampson gave $500 out of her discretionary funds to the Elk Grove/Galt Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and Councilman Paul Sandhu appointed Marie Hall to the Galt Commission on Aging.