The Galt City Council agreed Dec. 22 to allocate about $500,000 in COVID-19 relief funds for repairs to a city pool, and set aside additional money to potentially designate a litter abatement employee. Council also voted to lease license plate readers and considered changing some policies for city commissions and committees.

ARPA for pool, litter abatement

In the first of what will be a series of items doling out money received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Council authorized staff to spend $506,000 to buy new water heaters for the Gora Aquatic Center and replaster the facility’s competition pool.

Parks and Recreation Director Armando Solis said issues with the heaters and plaster could prevent the pool from opening next year.

In addition, the council members earmarked $40,000 for a litter abatement program advocated by Mayor Shawn Farmer. The initiative would involve a city employee monitoring thoroughfares and medians for trash.

Galt is slated to receive more than $6.3 million in ARPA funding over two years. City Manager Lorenzo Hines said staff would bring forward proposals to spend the money one at a time.

License plate readers

Michael Little, a Galt Police Department officer and president of the Galt police union, presented to Council in favor of leasing cameras to monitor license plates of cars entering the city. He said an automatic license plate reader system (ALPR) would notify officers of vehicles that have been stolen or that are associated with other crimes.

The cameras and operating system come from the company Flock Group Inc.; Little and a Flock representative emphasized the system’s privacy features and said the cameras are not used for immigration or traffic enforcement.

Council voted 5-0 to approve the $78,750 two-year lease agreement.

Commission, committee changes

The policies on social media use by city commissions and committees, and on council member involvement in them, formed the focus of discussion during an annual review of the advisory bodies.

Farmer suggested allowing interested commissions and committees to designate a public information officer responsible for the group’s social media presence. Currently, the groups must request postings through the city clerk’s office.

Council Member Rich Lozano questioned the role of council members on the commissions and committees. Most have no council members on their rosters, but the Youth Commission has one, Farmer; and the Public Safety Commission has two, Farmer and Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu.

Consensus developed around making council members nonvoting liaisons on the commissions.

Other business

Council approved $80,295 in Walker Community Park contingency funds after heavy rains caused unexpected expenses.

Council also authorized $75,000 to purchase a new police vehicle, with $27,400 reimbursed by insurance. The car will replace the one that was totaled in the crash the killed officer Harminder Grewal and injured officer Kapri Herrera.

In its capacity winding down the Galt Redevelopment Agency, Council voted to automate payments on the agency’s debt through 2034.