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Council approves body cameras, sign grants

City Council Update

Body cameras approved for TPD

At the Sept. 18 Tehachapi City Council meeting, Police Chief Richard Standridge proposed the purchase and use of 21 Body Worn Cameras (BWC) for the Tehachapi Police Department. They would be worn by all officers, staff and by the chief himself. Standridge said Tehachapi is the only community in which he has worked that does not have them. When he brought the matter up to city, they were immediately on board for the project.

Standridge told the council that the cameras will provide transparency, increase responsibility and reduce department liability. He added that with the Axon cameras, evidence can be emailed directly to the District Attorney’s office by secure link for immediate download.

The council approved a five-year agreement with Axon Enterprises, Inc. for a total of $243,353.62. The first year payment will be $29,202.41, within the amount budgeted by the city. Axon is also the manufacturer of the tasers already in use by the department.

Economic Development Support and Sign Grant Program approved

The City Council approved $30,000 from the city’s General Fund to be used for the new Economic Development Support Fund. According to Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe, the amount will be funded from the Measure S one-cent sales tax approved by voters last November. Voters specified that protecting local businesses was a priority.

The City of Tehachapi has very strict sign standards which can create a large expense for new businesses and also for those who need to replace commercial signs. Costelloe said the new Sign Grant Program aims to assist small businesses with reimbursement for signage up to 50 percent of eligible sign costs, up to a maximum of $3,000 and a minimum of $500. Applications are not limited to downtown and will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

If there are more applicants than funds, priority will be given to location and the level of financial participation by the applicant. Reimbursement will be made based on paid receipts following completion of the project. Small businesses are defined as those with less than 20 employees and the applicant cannot have any active code enforcement violations. Grants are for new signage only, not for maintenance of existing signs.

No date was given for the program.

Cost recovery from Hilary damage

Costelloe also reported the city will be trying to recover some of the costs associated with clean-up and repairs associated with the damage caused by Tropical Storm Hilary. Tehachapi received over five inches of rain in 24 hours on Sunday, Aug. 20, damaging areas of Enterprise Way near the Wastewater Treatment Plant that was caused by runoff from Highway 58. On Aug. 22, the Kern County Board of Supervisors declared the storm a local emergency and the damage was ultimately assessed by FEMA and CalOES. The city has completed estimates and will be applying for $86,100 as part of the Kern County disaster declaration to FEMA.

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.