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Consent agenda: WPD awarded two grants to boost traffic safety

Council also approves addition of an Assistant Finance Director position

WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville City Council on Tuesday accepted $112,000 in grants from the California Office Traffic Safety that will boost Watsonville Police Department’s efforts in traffic enforcement and safety.

The funds were split between two grants with $70,000 going toward the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) and the rest being used for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program.

Through STEP, WPD will increase DUI checkpoints, distracted driving enforcement, traffic education and pedestrian and bicycle enforcement. The grant will also fund the purchase of LiDAR devices, a fairly new technology used by law enforcement for speed limit enforcement that has slowly begun replacing radar devices.

The $42,000 grant will fund ongoing programs with Ecology Action such as the Bike Smart and Walk Smart programs, which teach elementary school students how to safely navigate the streets and sidewalks. Additionally, Ecology Action and WPD will organize more outreach for adults.

Other items approved in the council’s consent agenda:

  • The council also approved the purchase of $200,000 of Airport Fund assets. The Airport Fund was $193,000 over budget on June 30 after spending $757,045 on multiple projects, the largest being the resealing of runway 2-20 and Taxiways A,D and E. The bulk of the projects were covered by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and CalTrans.
  • Council approved the $263,350 purchase of a new water meter reading software from Sensus Metering Systems that will allow city staff to perform monthly water meter reading remotely and automatically. In the past, city staff would spend roughly a day driving throughout the area to read meters with manual radio equipment.
  • Council also authorized City Manager Matt Huffaker to submit the city’s application for the Caltrans Sustainable Communities Planning Grant, a $416,771 endowment that would allow city staff to continue its work on the Downtown Specific Plan. The City applied for the grant last year, but narrowly missed the cut. City staff modified the application and refined the budget and schedule to make it more competitive for the upcoming round of grant funding. Caltrans will announce grant awardees in spring 2020.
  • The Council also approved the addition of an Assistant Finance Director position to replace the position of Assistant Finance Officer. The director will be responsible for supervising staff and managing areas such as budget, accounts receivables, payroll, accounts payable, general ledger, grant accounting, fixed asset accounting, enterprise fund accounting, purchasing and other accounting related activities for all City funds. It will have a salary range of $8,452.19-$11,326.71 per month.
  • Council finalized its campaign contribution increase, bumping the old contribution limits from $400 to $500. It also set the contribution reporting requirements to $2,000.

Editor’s note: These items were part of the Watsonville City Council’s consent agenda. The consent portion of a meeting agenda contains items that are expected to pass without discussion by the agency in question. Board members and members of the public may pull any of the items for discussion during meetings. For details on any of these items visit https://watsonville.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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