Modesto City Council Watch

The Modesto City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to:

Dedicate a portion of the city's drinking water fund to pay for storm drain maintenance on the basis that cleaning storm drains and wells protects groundwater sources. Modesto expects to spend $700,000 in water funds on storm drain maintenance over the next year.

Hire a Los Angeles engineering firm to design a plan to treat well water drawn from a well that has been contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals. AECOM USA could earn $54,918. Modesto has pursued extensive insurance claims and lawsuits to collect money from dry cleaning chemical producers to pay projects such as this.

Adopt guidelines to spend $8.1 million from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department that Modesto obtained because of the severity of the foreclosure crisis. Modesto is expected to use the money to spur home rehabilitation projects and to provide down payment assistance for first-time buyers.

Buy a $50,957 pavement crack sealing machine for the Public Works Department from Ricker Machinery of Oakland.

Enter into a contract with Clear Solutions West of Atwater to buy $70,000 worth of hypochlorite tablets for Modesto's water supply each year for up to five years.

Hire a San Francisco law firm to help the city with ongoing labor negotiations. Renne Sloann Holtzman & Sakai could earn up to $40,000 on the contract. Modesto's budget crunch has the city in continual negotiations with labor groups over cost-saving efforts.

The council also met in closed session to discuss labor negotiations with its unions and a lawsuit the city filed against a construction firm in San Joaquin County.

— Adam Ashton