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Council addresses CARB deadlines, new police dispatchers/officer hired, May proclaimed as National Poppy Month

City Council Update

View "Update on Fleet ZEV requirements" in our May 27 issue at https://www.theloopnewspaper.com/story/2023/05/27/local-news/update-on-fleet-zev-requirements/10818.html

Public Works Director Don Marsh outlined the new California Air Resources Fleet Regulations for the Tehachapi City Council at the May 1 meeting. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) now requires 50% of city fleet vehicles be zero-emission by Jan. 1, 2024 and 100% zero-emission by 2027.

The city vehicles currently affected by this regulation are 20 pick-up trucks ($2.7 million), three dump trucks ($750,000) and a street sweeper ($750,000). Construction of charging infrastructure would cost approximately $2,500,000. Clean Fleets Compliance would cost the city as much as $6,700,000 and penalties for non-compliance can include fines up to $20,000 per day.

Marsh said he feels that, at this time, compliance with the 2024 mandates is impossible. He presented the major problems that will be associated with compliance of these regulations. First there is the availability of vehicles and charging stations even if funding is available. Larger service trucks, ¾ ton or larger, are not even available for purchase at this time. Charging stations would need to be designed and installed before any of the vehicle could be used. Other equipment included in the mandate are forklifts, small skid steer loaders, dozers, cranes and excavators, each with its own charging facilities.

The overall impact of compliance with the proposed project could be $8-$9 million. The city will be addressing this mandate as part of their five-year budget development. They will be developing plans and strategies for continued compliance with the regulations and for the use of public funds as efficiently as possible. There may also be opportunities to apply for grants to assist with funding.

"These ill-conceived and unrealistic mandates are the latest in a long list of regulations imposed by out-of-touch boards, agencies and state political leaders that have allowed the regulatory authoritarian environment to get out of control," Marsh said.

In other business updates, City Manager Greg Garrett told the Council that Pinon Street is now paved all the way from Curry St. to Dennison Rd., although it had only been done that day and was not yet ready for traffic. He also announced that State Senator Shannon Grove has pledged her support for truck climbing lanes on Highway 58, as it is an interstate highway and an extension of Highway 40. A plan is currently in place to begin by 2026 with the section between Caliente and Keene. Kern County Council of Governments (KernGOC) has been instrumental in moving this project forward. Councilman Phil Smith has been the Tehachapi member of the group for 29 years. Councilman Keith Sackawitz added that nearly 350 trucks have been counted daily on Hwy 58 between Bakersfield and Tehachapi.

The Tehachapi City Council meets on the first and third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. They are currently meeting at the Police Department Community Room, 220 W. C St.