Greg Garrett mug (copy)

Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett

The Tehachapi City Council unanimously voted to become a major sponsor in the Tehachapi Loop Spectator Overlook Project by donating $10,000 during its regularly scheduled Feb. 16 telephonic meeting.

"We agreed to donate $10,000 towards the design, engineering and construction of the Tehachapi Loop Overlook. We are very proud to be a part of that project," City Manager Greg Garrett said.

Garrett said the money will come from the city's general fund, which he described as "very, very healthy."

Also during the meeting, councilmembers unanimously voted to start a beautification awards program designed to recognize local businesses and residents for their outdoor landscaping.

Funding for the program will also come from the city's general fund, with an annual budget of $1,000.

Since the holiday decorating contest went so well, Garrett said the city decided to expand that into the beautification awards program. Nominations will be accepted on the city's website. Recipients will be selected on the basis of continuous efforts or new remodels on a random basis.

"We want to recognize good citizens that are taking a lot of pride in their neighborhood, street and city," Garrett said. "And we want to tell people thank you for that."

During the meeting, the city's auditor presented a financial report to the council.

"It was glowing, of course... We are very proud of our audit report and the funds that we manage on behalf of the citizens and the taxpayers and the reserves that we have in place," Garrett said.

Other items included:

• A formal commitment to set aside monies specifically for emergency contingencies as required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Said Garrett, "We have over a $1 million in our rainy day funds."

• Direct staff to draft a letter to the Kern County Board of Supervisors supporting the Kern County Public Works Department's proposal to expand illegal dumping clean up resources by seeking funding through a land use fee through Proposition 218.

"They are going to mail everybody in Kern County a ballot, and you can check yes or no to increase property taxes by $20 on average to help pay for illegal dumping," the city manager said. "Illegal dumping in the county of Kern is a big problem and these funds will help finance illegal dumping clean-up efforts."

Garrett encouraged residents to use the city's website at liveituptehachapi.com to find useful tools.