County to consider contractor for jail expansion

Items on agenda relate to cannabis, RMA department

San Benito Jail

County supervisors Tuesday could choose a construction contractor for the jail expansion project.

Other items on the agenda include finding good cause to delay a public hearing related to the county’s temporary cannabis ordinance and funding another temporary contract position in the Resource Management Agency.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the County Administration Building, 481 Fourth St., in Hollister.

Construction contractor for jail expansion project

County supervisors could select the construction contractor for the jail expansion project.

Current estimates show the project could have a budget shortfall around $5 million, according to county documents. Total estimated costs for the project are around $20 million.

County staff looked at three potential construction candidates: Felice Construction, Kitchell Construction and Vanir Construction Management. Felice and Vanir submitted proposals, while Kitchell wasn’t able to provide a response due to potential issues with insufficient project funding, the staff report reads.

Staff recommends that supervisors select Vanir due to past work with the county and the firm’s experience with jail projects.

If approved, the county would enter negotiations and execute a contract with Vanir for an amount not to exceed $954,040.

Delay in public hearing for temporary cannabis ordinance

Supervisors will look for good cause to delay a public hearing related to the county’s temporary cannabis cultivation ordinance.

In September 2016, supervisors unanimously approved an urgency ordinance that was supposed to halt all new cultivation operations within the county.

Medical plants under cultivation as of Sept. 27 were exempted by the ordinance with some immunity. The exemption terminated after plants were harvested, which needed to occur before Dec. 27, 2016.

However, county staff revealed in April that any applicants who’ve continued cultivation beyond the cutoff date aren’t in violation of county code until the board determines the status of their application.

There are approximately 27 applicants waiting for the board to determine the status of their application.

A public hearing was supposed to take place Tuesday, May 23, but staff is requesting additional time to process applications. A future hearing date is expected to be set at the meeting.

More contract hires at the Resource Management Agency

Supervisors could approve a $95,000 contract for a temporary position inside the Resource Management Agency.

According to the staff report, the Resource Management Agency is working to build up planning and inspection staff in order to “perform basic municipal functions.” The department wants to move current contract employee Darryl Boyd, a senior level planner, to the Principal Planner position. The department notes that current recruitment for a permanent Senior Planner is ongoing, but that contract staffing is necessary to keep things operating.

Boyd is from the Campbell-based consultant firm Metropolitan Planning Group. He’s currently limited to $10,000 of work based on county policies, the staff report states. The Resource Management Agency is recommending an extension not to exceed three days a week for the rest of the year. This would be approximately $3,480 a week at M Group’s hourly rate of $145.

If approved, this would add another temporary employee to a department piling up with consultants.

In March, supervisors unanimously appointed two consultants as interim directors of the Resource Management Agency. They hired Larry Perlin and James Walgren of 4Leaf, Inc., a Pleasanton-based engineering consulting firm, to serve as temporary directors while the county searches for a permanent replacement. The local union opposed the hire.

The dual hire stemmed from the resignation of former Resource Management Director Brent Barnes. His resignation came at a crucial time for the county when the department was restructuring. Barnes was the first employee to hold the position and was an outside hire.

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