IMPERIAL — The Imperial City Council held its regular meeting Wednesday, February 17, were council members discussed several items, including delinquent utilities, the emergency for the Barioni Boulevard Waterline Improvement Project, and park improvements.

The Council unanimously approved the authorization to suspend the $50 delinquency fee assessments, authorization to credit those $50 delinquency fees paid as of the March 2020 billing cycle back to the utility account holder, and authorization to strip outstanding $50 delinquency fees from utility accounts as of March 2020.

In March 2020, there were a total of 208 delinquent accounts, which continued to increase throughout the remainder of the year. As of January of this year, the City had a total of 499 delinquent accounts. The fiscal impact is approximately $190,450.

Imperial City Manager Dennis Morita recommended the item to the Council to take the appropriate actions to elevate the burden of all utility account holders — including commercial, residential, and multifamily — who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The Council also approved the declaration of emergency on the Barioni Boulevard Waterline Improvement Project in response to the discovery of contaminated soil. The Council approved the removal and disposal of the contaminated soil January 20 but has left portions of Barioni Boulevard unpaved and closed, which has interrupted the flow of traffic at one of the City’s most travelled intersections, according to Morita.

The anticipated reopening of Barioni Boulevard is approximately three weeks.

Several items in the Parks Department were addressed during the meeting, including improvements to Paseo Del Sol Park and Eager Park.

The Council approved the purchase of three park gazebo shade shelters and amenities, totaling approximately $50,920. During community outreach meetings, the Council received direction regarding park improvements.

The Council approved several improvements for Paseo Del Sol Park, including the three gazebos with prefabricated cutouts for power to run electrical for lighting purposes. The amenities approved by the Council include six new trash cans, two benches for the basketball court, and three 10-foot Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant picnic tables.

Improvements at Eager Park include a Splash Pad shade to be constructed above the Splash Pad. City Council originally gave staff authorization to seek bids for an all-metal shade structure. The staff conducted additional research and consulted with various experts regarding the negative effects of chlorine and moisture from the water features would have on the structure — which would cause issues with the warranty on the roofing, rust, and maintenance.

The Council approved the concepts of a combination of metal and fabric for the shade structure. The Parks Department will move forward with sending the project out to bid, which should move along quickly and will not exceed $125,000, according to Park Superintendent Tony Lopez.

“Thanks for doing your homework on this because I try to tell staff in general that we rely on you guys to give most of us information and it’s okay for you to tell us, ‘Hey, your ideas aren’t the best for the City.’ So, I really appreciate you coming with that and doing what’s best for the City instead of just what we told you to do,” said Council member Katie Burnworth.

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