City Council and a large crowd of attendees heard from state agency CalRecycle’s Marshelle Graham on coming requirements of compliance to reduce organic waste by 75 percent by 2025 at the July 16 meeting at City Hall.

Graham said cities will be required to work with food recovery organizations, and provide education and outreach programs. Failure to comply could have the city charged with violations. She said the state would also require cities to secure waste recycling capacity, whether they build their own facilities or contract with another agency. Ordinances to support the state’s requirements will have to be adopted by 2022. Beginning in 2022, the state will start reviews to maintain compliance with state regulations.

Cardinal Glass Hiring Manager Jim Brannon was the first to speak out during the public comment portion of the meeting. He said the state is forcing cities to comply, and the only way around the problem is to sue them.

“My wife and I just moved here this year and, not long after, our water rates tripled,” Brannon said. “Cardinal will face a $45,000 increase annually just to have our trash taken away. Here are the unintended consequences put on us by the state. There will be closures of businesses; people will begin moving out of Galt. It’s hard to attract new personnel when they hear about this. I’d like to hire people, put people to work, but I can’t.”

Bonnie Rodriguez, president of the Galt District Chamber of Commerce, also spoke.

“Since 2006, Galt’s been in compliance, and we have been the entire time – at the old rates,” Rodriguez said. “We have 35 diversion programs. The city receives $100,000 a year from Cal-Waste for recycling. Cal-Waste is now under contract with the county to handle 75 percent of the county’s recyclables. I know they wouldn’t do this if they didn’t make money … a bad decision was made. This is a bad contract.”

Interim City Manager Tom Haglund asked the council to award a contract with Knife River Construction in the amount of $995,860.80 for road resurfacing and more bike lanes. A large part of the cost for the road improvements and rehabilitation of street surfaces will come from the Transportation Development Act.

Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer had the item pulled for discussion and voiced his concerns over more green bike lanes. Council member Paul Sandhu also had concerns, saying not many residents actually bike to work because they work outside of Galt.

City Development Planning Director Chris Erias defended the plans to expand the bike lanes.

“I believe the bike lanes do add to Galt’s small town charm,” Erias said.

Haglund said the grant money requires that most of the money be spent on bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks.

Sandhu and Farmer voted “no” on the award, but the motion passed 3-2.

Amie Mendes of the Economic Development Department gave a presentation asking council to execute an agreement with the Lewis Acquisition Company as a consultant to explore how to utilize the 44-acre market grounds belonging to Parks & Rec. Mendes said the property is underutilized, and the city received $120,000 from the California Energy Commission that can be used to develop a Market Master Plan.

“We’re looking for ways to repurpose the market,” Mendes said, “ways to use the market when it’s not in use.”

Jed Elmore from the Lewis Group was introduced. Farmer had pointed questions on why the Lewis Group was interested in developing a master plan.

“Ultimately, you’re looking to buy or lease some or all this property,” questioned Farmer. “Obviously, you want to change the legislation so you can build retail.”

Haglund said, to “preserve and protect” the market and the $2.5 million it generates for Parks & Rec, they need to find new ways to keep it profitable.

“That $2.5 million is more than the entirety of our sales tax revenues,” Haglund said. “It might be possible to replace the market income with something useable and pleasing to the community.”

The vote came in 3-2 with Sandhu and Farmer voting “no.” The motion passed.