Quality of Life Deputies George Anagnostopoulos and Jonathan Ramstad assist a city code enforcement officer in clearing a red-tagged house of transients so it can again be boarded up.

On Tuesday, April 14, Highland City Council approved updated contract schedules for services of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and San Bernardino County Animal Control for the fiscal year of 2020-21. Both contracts included increases over last year’s contracts relating to increases in employee salaries and benefits.

The new contract for sheriff’s department law enforcement services totals $10,934,661 and represents a 6.02 percent increase over last year’s contract.

The contract is for $10,701,161 plus the actual cost of overtime and on-call pay, which was budgeted as $200,000 and $33,500 respectively.

The $608,082 increase accounts for increases in pay for many sheriff’s employees serving the city.

The new contract set a payment schedule of monthly payments of approximately $807,700.

The city council also approved a new contract with San Bernardino County for animal control services for 2020-21 for the amount of $467,172, an increase of 5 percent over last year’s contract. This increase also reflects increases in county employee salary and benefits.

The contract amount is not a fixed cost but a “not-to-exceed” amount. Actual cost will be based on the time animal control employees spend serving Highland. Cost for service is $92 an hour.

Historically, Highland’s bill has been less than the value of the contract.

According to the county representative, John Greswit, animal control answers approximately 3,150 calls for service in Highland annually. Patrols are organized when appropriate based on complaints and identified problem areas.

In other action, the city council also approved submittal of a request of $5,590,000 in Measure I funding from San Bernardino County Transit Authority (SBCTA) for the Fifth Street Interchange Project.

The project for improvements to the Fifth Street interchange with State Route 210, including the extension of Third Street east to the Fifth Street onramp, is estimated to cost nearly $16 million. The project already has $1.25 million committed by Caltrans and $8,656,000 from the city of Highland.

The city is requesting the funding through SBCTA’s Valley Freeway Interchange Program via a term loan agreement.

The program utilizes Measure I funds to improve existing interchanges within the San Bernardino Valley. Based on a SBCTA ranking system, projects ranked 1 through 10 automatically qualified for the funding. (Highland’s State Route 210 and Base Line Interchange project, now under construction, was ranked No. 2.) Projects ranked No. 11 or lower can receive funding on a first come-first serve basis. The Fifth Street interchange was ranked No. 21.

The staff report in the funding request noted that the city’s share of the project cost could be less than $8,656,000 if the city is able to negotiate funding contributions from CEMEX/Robertson’s Ready Mix or is successful in securing a U.S. Economic Development Agency grant.

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