The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

City of Tehachapi: A $20 million business

The Forde Files No 162


The city of Tehachapi is run as a business.

"We are a non-profit business," City Manager Greg Garrett told members of the Kiwanis Club of Tehachapi on Jan. 31 at the Tehachapi Police Department Community Room.

"The trick is keeping the lights on," he said.

The city operates the water and service utilities and owns, among other properties, the train depot museum, the BeeKay Theatre, the police department building and the wastewater treatment plant.

"We have highly trained professionals," he said, and in 2017 there was zero lost time due to work injuries.

Garrett hit the high points of the City of Tehachapi 2017 Annual Report. "Twenty-seventeen has been a year of great growth for the city of Tehachapi," he said, citing the construction of new bike paths and sidewalks "that get the kids out of the dirt, out of the mud."

Pilot Flying J truck stop opened "in a great location," Garrett said. "It is in the city but out of town... All the improvements on Tehachapi Boulevard and Steuber – Flying J is paying for it."

Walmart, he said, will be pulling its building permit "any day."

The Walmart location is an integral part of the city's plan to develop the urban core rather than spreading out in a random fashion.

The $20-$21-million budget – the city's "playbook," he called it-- remains balanced. The city refinanced bonds following the state grab of redevelopment agency funds, producing $2.1 million in savings, he said.

The city has received state awards for the design of Freedom Plaza, which includes a visitor center and monuments to the five military branches.

The transition from Benz to Waste Management for trash collection "has been seamless, with no cost increase."

The incidence of Part I crime – violent and property crimes – dropped 18 percent in 2017, following a 16 percent drop in 2016.

"We're driving crime down," Garrett said. "This is epic. This is a huge deal. We are saving you money and protecting your family and friends."

To chat informally with the City Manager, join him on the third Thursdays of the month at 7:30 a.m. at the Coffee Mill, 120 S. Mill St.

"We are trying to bring government to the people," he said.


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