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E.C. City Council approves ECRMC budget for 2002

September 06, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council on Wednesday approved the 2002 budget for the El Centro Regional Medical Center.

The hospital projects net operating revenue at $55.2 million on gross patient revenues of $122.9 million and total operating expenditures at $54.4 million, with $68.7 million in deductions, for a net operating income of $776,912. Add $871,370 in investment income, and the hospital projects $1.65 million in revenues above expenses.

The council also awarded a reduced design and engineering contract for the city's 34-mile master bicycle plan. The contract is for $583,877, a reduction of $50,835 from the original estimate. The complete project is expected to cost about $4.8 million, but should be paid for through numerous grants obtained by the city, which already has about $2.55 million on hand.

Final design is expected to be completed by March 2002, with construction bids submitted by April 2002.

The plan includes varying types of bike paths that would run throughout the city and interconnect with future county bike paths.

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The council was updated on a meeting held with state transportation officials on the Northgate project. The 32-acre development is expected to create 14 commercial lots. The center will consist of a mix of retail stores and an auto mall, including the new home of El Centro Motors and a Food 4 Less grocery store. Construction is expected to occur in six phases and include two new streets.

It will be at the intersection of Imperial Avenue and Cruickshank Road.

Mayor Cheryl Walker told city staff there would be "very serious ramifications if deadlines are not met."

Two of those ramifications include the potential loss of state money to build infrastructure in the area and a potential loss of certain manufacturing price incentives being offered to El Centro Motors.

Walker received assurances by city Economic Development Director Oscar Rodriquez, that efforts are "right on schedule."

The council also recognized numerous firefighters for efforts in saving the city $39,000 and for remodeling portions of the city's No. 1 fire station. The city also extended a welcome to four new firefighters.

In other business, the council:

· approved for fiscal 2002-03 a seven-year, $600,000 lease/purchase agreement for 25 new vehicles. The city has set aside $100,000 in that year's budget for the agreement. The city would pay an annual percentage rate of 4.63 on the $600,000 to the Maryland-based SunTrust Leasing Corp. The city would make 14 payments of $50,666 for the vehicles.

· approved water and wastewater rate studies at a combined cost of $14,575. The studies would be in addition to ongoing water and wastewater master plan updates. The rate studies will include tentative plans by the city to allow the Fire Department to charge $100 to flush water hydrants. The money would ultimately be paid by city residents.

· Sitting as the city's Redevelopment Agency board, the council approved a recommendation to reject all bids related to the revitalization of downtown parking lots and the installation of parking lot shading. To reduce costs, city staff said the work will be broken down into smaller pieces and bids will be solicited again.

· renewed, without seeking bids, its public relations contract with Reliance Communications for $3,000 monthly.

City Manager Abdel Salem said no bid was sought because there is no requirement to seek bids on such services.

"We felt we needed to extend it for another year to see how it goes," Salem said this morning.

The contract has been in place for a year.

· accepted the resignation of Mitch Driskill from the city's Planning Commission and approved the appointment of Evelyn Zinn to an unexpired term on the historical site foundation.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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