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Another Energy Improvement Project Stalled in La Palma

By Rico Dizon

A recommendation to adopt a resolution authorizing the La Palma city manager to negotiate and enter into a service contract with a company known as Climatec to provide energy-related improvements at city facilities has been vetoed by City Council members.

The vote to turn back the deal was made during the regular city council meeting held on Tuesday.

A public hearing that was included in the prepared agenda was neither realized, as there were no community members came forward to offer suggestions or testimony on the proposal.

After the question and answer portion that followed the presentation of the project headed by Frank Mann, Account Manager of Climatec, City Council Member Henry Charoen raised the motion to study the historical data related to say project.

Council Member Peter Kim who had questions regarding financing and leasing during the discussion moved to second the motion.

Although the $1.3 million project promises to reduce the present energy consumption by as much as 20 per cent, from about $ 375,000 down to just $130,000 in electric bills as claimed by the presenters.

The proposal failed to convince the majority of the City Council to move forward with the plan.

Most of the City Council have raised concerns ranging from the project components, maintenance, lease and financing.

“There are just too many figures shown that we need to evaluate and re-check, said City Council Member Gerard Goedhart.

On the other hand, Mann said, our company had done similar jobs before that are even much bigger in scope.  When contacted by Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers after the meeting, he said, “We had contracts with the cities of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Lancaster.  Some City Councils are just conservative and wanted to make sure they are doing the right thing…of course we fully understand.  So, now all we have to do is wait for the time they call us again.”

Mann also volunteered to say that their participation in La Palma’s City Council last June 3 was their second time, the first being in April of the same year.

Referring to the project, Mann said, “Actually, the project will be paying for itself because the expected amount in savings exceeds the cost of the project in a maximum15- year lease. “And they just might continue for another 15 years to reap the benefits,” he concluded.

The plan calls for the use of energy saving equipments such as solar panels and LED lights for the City’s public facilities including two water tanks, street lighting, air conditioning, heating and lighting needs in various municipal buildings and facilities. The installation will take 7 months to complete according to the Climatec executive.  The group is located in nearby Irvine.

In April, officials said that the La Palma Civic Center was planned to have energy-saving solar panels installed but was confronted with geodetic and foundation issues on its roofs, walls and ceilings.

The same was confirmed by a Seismic Evaluation & Upgrade Study was done for the city later. The City Council was supposed to have a Conceptual Design Study to be contracted with IDS Group but was finally disapproved because the project is not included in the Financial Plan.