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Tuesday, Nov 26 2013 06:00 AM

Golden Hills firm to get grant to analyze sewer services

County supervisors cancel one grant, give another

County officials have allocated a large sum of money to draw up a plan to ease the Golden Hills sewer system woes.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors will vote on amendments to the 2013-2014 budget at its 2 p.m., Dec. 10, meeting, as stated in a public hearing notice. One of the proposed amendments is to cancel the Community Development Block Grant allocated for sewer system improvements in Golden Hills. The grant amounted to about $310,000.

Instead, the board gave a $500,000 grant from the State Water Board to research a sewer system solution, as approved at the Supervisors' Nov. 12 meeting.

"The original proposed funding was to help offset part of any proposed construction project for the Golden Hills Sanitation Company's final solution," 2nd District Supervisor Zack Scrivner said in an email. "We just received the planning grant from the State Water Board, which will be used to study how to move forward with the project."

The supervisor said the completion of the planning process would exceed the time frame in which the county must spend the CDBG funds.

Currently, the sewer system serves 169 households, according to the BOS public hearing notice.

"The $500K planning grant will fund the hiring of a consulting firm that will, among other things, do an engineering study and any necessary environmental work to identify solutions for the GH community," Scrivner stated in his email. "Currently, our solutions group, which includes the county, the receiver, GHCSD, City of Tehachapi, customer representatives and non-profit agencies, have identified two solutions for the consulting firm to study: continued operation of the plant or connecting to the City of Tehachapi's waste water treatment plant via a forced main line. There may be other solutions, and we want the firm to determine if there are other possible solutions we may have missed."

According to officials at the California Public Utilities Commission, the receiver overseeing Golden Hills Sanitation is Clifford Bressler. Bressler could not be reached for comment prior to publication.

Former Golden Hills Sanitation worker Clint Hilderbrand said he believes the information used to obtain the grant was not entirely accurate.

"I think it would be better to use the funds on an assessment of the need for sewer for the entirety of Golden Hills, instead of trying to solve the problem of one little corner," Hilderbrand said.

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