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Lodi City Council approves block grants, sale of fire station

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:00 am

Even fire stations with crumbling walls, rotten roofs and black mold don’t run cheap. One Lodi fire station has been sold for conversion to an engineering firm for $375,000.

In closed session, the Lodi City Council approved the sale of Fire Station 2 on Lodi Avenue to J-C Engineering based in Rio Vista.

Details of the final sale are still subject to negotiation.

The new owners will not move in for about two years, until the new fire station, slated for Cherokee Lane, can be built.

City Manager Rad Bartlam said the city is considering modular construction for the new station.

Mary McGrath Architects, based in Oakland, has been selected to design the new station at a cost of $340,000. The design process will take six months. The final cost of the new station is estimated at $3.5 million, which comes from the savings the city created after refinancing their debt in the facilities department last year.

Grants for improvements in Lodi

Five community groups in Lodi can expect a check from the federal government this summer, along with a handful of city programs. The money will provide food and housing assistance, along with retrofitting several city parks and buildings to make them accessible to disabled users.

The city is expecting to receive just under $600,000 in Community Development Block Grants, doled out annually for projects around Lodi to improve housing and public areas, and remove blight.

Federal law requires that 20 percent of the final amount be set aside for administrative overhead. Normally, 60 percent of the remaining money goes to city projects, while 40 percent goes to community-based organizations. This year, Wood’s recommendation included an additional $8,000 be given to community-based projects.

Johnson expressed frustration that so much money must go to administrative costs, when it could be done for cheaper.

“I don’t know why it takes 20 percent right off the top when it could go to another use,” he said.

The city still doesn’t know exactly how much money they’ve got to give away. Neighborhood Services Manager Joseph Wood said he hasn’t gotten any word on the final amount from the federal government, and has no idea when it might come in.

Hazel Jackson is worried about how much money the Lodi Animal Shelter will get to spay and neuter stray cats and dogs. She trapped 26 cats last year and had them all fixed. If they had been left to run feral, they could have produced over 200 kittens in a year. In four months, the new kittens are also able to have kittens, and the numbers skyrocket quickly.

They were fully funded this year, but there are still more cats in need.

“We appreciate the $20,000 a year. We come up here and beg for it. But the vet charges $50 to neuter a cat. That fixes 400 kittens. What about all these other kittens? And that’s just the cats,” she said.

It’s currently kitten season, since most of the feral cats give birth between February and June. But the shelter won’t get the money to neuter any of them until July.

“I did call the shelter, and they said we have shown a slight decrease in kittens this month,” she said. “That’s huge to us.”

Council members made no changes to the recommendations by city staff. The action plan was approved. The groups will get their funding in midsummer.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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5 comments:

  • roy bitz posted at 10:34 pm on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    Mr. Mayor,
    Seriously---no sarcasim!
    How will the city council members spend this gifted tax payer money?

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:40 pm on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Don't those "administrative" fees go to the city to cover wages, awards ceremonies at the Wine & Roses, and expenses to those city employees who disburse the grant funds?

     
  • roy bitz posted at 9:30 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    Mr. Johnson makes a good point regarding the 20% admin fee. The article states this money must be " set aside" be the city but that's all it says.
    It would be good to learn how this money is actually dispersed once the city receives it.

     
  • Josh Morgan posted at 10:22 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    East of Cherokee and on the north side of Lodi Ave.

     
  • Lawrence Steinberg posted at 6:49 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    Lawrence Steinberg Posts: 65

    Where is there a firestation on Lodi Avenue?

     

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