■ By Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
The importance of community and the partnership between nonprofit organizations and the city dominated the Hemet City Council meeting on Feb 28. Several nonprofit organizations present for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) discussion and the family members of those who lost their loved ones to homicide spoke on the value of our city and community working together. Other discussions included approving a command vehicle for the Hemet Fire Department, CDBG funds [see article on CDBG funding, this issue] and renewing the contract with Hemet Youth Baseball and Softball.
Prior to the City Council meeting, a work study on how council meeting minutes are taken was held. City Clerk Sarah McComas led the work study, providing information to council on the three types of minutes: action, summary and verbatim. Action minutes only record motions and votes, with very little narrative included. Summary minutes include brief paraphrasing of City Council and staff comments and noting the members of the public in support or opposition to an issue. There would not be any impact on the city budget or city staff time to prepare action or summary minutes. Verbatim minutes are quite costly and time consuming. McComas stated that verbatim minutes would run the city close to $1,000 per meeting mainly because a court reporter would be required.
Ultimately, the council decided on action minutes with direction to get video or audio available to the public as soon as possible. Councilwoman Bonnie Wright and Mayor Linda Krupa commented that providing the meetings for public view is something that the city has been talking about for some time, with Krupa stating that it’s now time to “just do it,” possibly as early as the next council meeting, March 14, for the audio to stream on YouTube. Stay tuned for that.
The council unanimously approved the purchase of a 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe for the Hemet Fire Department from Reynold’s Buick in Covina for $73,188.39. The agenda gives direction to “allocate funding from Measure U funding allocation fund No. 110-3240-5400 to fund the Fire Department vehicle purchase.” The vehicle will serve as a mobile command vehicle “for all emergency incidents in the City of Hemet” and is to be the vehicle used by the battalion chiefs once hired.
According to Fire Chief Scott Brown, the current vehicles are worn-out and have more than 100,000 miles on them. He went on to say that Reynold’s Buick was not the lowest bidder but the most responsive bidder. Chevrolet of Watsonville bid came in $12,834.41 under Reynold’s Buick at $60,353.98. Chevrolet of Watsonville was deemed “not responsive due to incomplete bid package that omitted the two (2) required addendums.”
The bid comparison by the City of Hemet’s Purchasing Division lists the two omitted items from Chevrolet of Watsonville bid as the vehicle registration (Reynold’s lists $29) and an extended warranty (Reynold’s lists $3,000). During the council meeting, Fire Chief Brown stated that the omitted items were the vehicle type and vehicle color, the latter not being as important, which is contradictory to the omitted items on the bid comparison. He mentioned that the vehicle type differed between both bidders, which also was not stated on the bid comparison provided.
Fire Chief Brown also indicated that the non-responsive bidder (Chevrolet of Watsonville) had a delivery date of 90 to 120 days and stated that the timeframe was not acceptable. Reynold’s Buick committed to a delivery date of 30 days. Typically, once the vehicles are purchased, Brown said they are usually farmed out to multiple contractors off-site to install the various types of needed equipment within the vehicle. This time, the city found a contractor that was essentially a one-stop shop.
Fire Chief Brown stated the city “went with the most responsive bidder to provide us a complete package in the use of the term uplift. So, that vehicle purchase included the entire uplift of the communication module, the technology installs, including the command box.”
Family members of those who lost their lives to unsolved homicide violence spoke during the communications from the public. The emotional plea centered around lack of communication from the city regarding the unsolved cases.
Joe Males spoke on behalf of his son Nick Males, a Marine Corps veteran, along with the family members of Daniel Ramirez, including his mother, Corinna Moreno-Ramirez. Ramirez’ grieving family members also offered some ideas on how to lighten the task load of detectives so they can dedicate more time to solving murder cases.
Another person who requested speaking time in front of the council offered to relinquish her time so that Moreno-Ramirez could continue. When Moreno-Ramirez asked if she could continue her time, Krupa said, “No. Sit down.” This was an unexpected response as evidenced by the gasps in the room as an audience member had just offered her time to Mr. Males when his time expired and it was granted.
And finally, the Hemet City Council unanimously approved the renewal of the contract with Hemet Youth Baseball and Softball for $1 per year. Hemet Youth’s current president, Ian Hall, was present to discuss the program and some of the impacts sports have on our youth, including teaching kids how to win and lose gracefully, the value of teamwork, and responsibility.
In the last three years, Hemet Youth has spent approximately $45,000 to improve Brubaker Park, which the council recognized. The organization also provides financial aid to families and jobs to some of the kids who have gone through the program. Hemet Youth has hosted more than 20,000 kids from this valley. Opening day is March 11th at Brubaker Park.