In other business, the board approved in concept — without money allotted — the construction of a compressed natural gas bus maintenance facility adjacent to the county's CNG service station on Commercial Street in El Centro. The request was by Thousand Palms-based SunLine Transit Agency, whose general manager and chief executive officer, Richard Cromwell, told the board it would cost about $500,000 to build the facility and that there is no money to do so.
Cromwell said SunLine bought 10 used buses in Texas with engines converted to CNG for use in the Imperial Valley. He said the buses have from 35,000 to 50,000 miles on their odometers, while the CNG engines are new.
Cromwell offered three proposals for raising the money to build the facility, including the use of local transportation funds, the outright sale of the CNG service station to a private party and seeking funds from the federal government.
County Assistant Administration Officer Robertta Burns said to use local transportation fund money would require the approval of the Imperial Valley Association of Governments, which oversees local transportation needs.
The board also:
l declared April 8-14 national communications week to recognize emergency communications operators handling police, fire and medical emergencies who work for city, county, state and federal agencies throughout the Valley.
l approved spending $10,000 to pay for this year's state fair exhibit.
l approved the creation of a District Attorney witness protection and relocation account and the procedures to utilize the funds consistent with their purpose, the transfer of $20,000 into the fund the purchase of a burglary-rated and fire-certified safe and other fund transfers.
l reached tentative agreement with the Probation and Corrections Peace Officers Association for the years 2000-2003. For those in safety positions, the agreement includes pay raises from 11.44 to 13.62 percent. For nonsafety positions, the raises are 4.16 to 7.1 percent.
l reached tentative agreement with the county's public safety management unit for 2000-2003. Unit pay increases range from 10.86 to 18.01 percent.
l The board did not discuss the two power plants under construction in the Mexicali area. The issue was rescheduled for April 17.
Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.