Town Council

Police to get three new SUVs

Council has authorized $125,037 to replace three police cruisers that are nearly four years old and have an average of 60,000 miles on their odometers.

The money to purchase the vehicles from Folsom Lake Ford, voted on during the regularly scheduled Nov. 16 meeting, will come out of the Equipment Replacement Fund.

The amount was already approved via the Town’s 2021/22 Operating Budget.

The buy is based on a formal bid process completed by the State of California Department of General Services, which allows municipalities to purchase vehicles through their process.

Town officials referred to Los Gatos’ Vehicle and Equipment Acquisition and Replacement Policy to decide which assets were up for replacement.

According to the policy, patrol vehicles are to be replaced once they’re three years old or travel 85,000 miles.

“With the current backlog of computer chips along with the delays caused by the pandemic, lead times for purchasing and equipping vehicles have greatly increased, resulting in increased age and mileage,” said Parks & Streets Superintendent Jim Harbin in a report to Council, adding the hybrid SUVs will be more climate-friendly than other options. “While stopped, the lithium hybrid batteries power lights, radios, laptops, and other on-board electrical demands.”

The Town also adopted a resolution to accept $200,000 from the State’s Supplemental Law Enforcement Services Fund.

Council voted to put Los Gatos’ half toward frontline police operations and services, with Monte Sereno’s half to go toward “contractually required” traffic enforcement.

Massol Avenue pedestrian crossing completed under budget

Despite delays related to the availability of utility install services from PG&E and San Jose Water, Tennyson Electric’s pedestrian crossing work at Massol Avenue and Highway 9 came in under budget, according to Town Engineer WooJae Kim’s report to Council.

The company originally beat out two other companies to get the job, with a $394,550 bid ($328,792 plus a 20% contingency).

The Massol Avenue warning beacon was upgraded to be more visible.

A landscaped median was installed on Highway 9 near the crosswalk to help reduce vehicle speeds.

A speed-feedback sign, a streetlight for the crosswalk and green bike lanes were added as well.

ActiveWayz Engineering charged $41,715. Signet Testing charged $12,323. PG&E charged $5,485.

Tennyson finished everything, plus did a few extra tasks, for $342,902.89—$51,647.51 under their total bid price.

First-quarter investment report

Los Gatos’ investment portfolio made less money in the first quarter this fiscal year than during the same period in 2020—but it still outperformed the Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF).

According to Town Finance Director Stephen Conway’s Nov. 8 report to the Finance Commission, as of Sept. 30, Los Gatos’ weighted portfolio yield was 1.27%, while the LAIF’s was just .21%.

However, this was 59 points lower than during the first quarter of 2020, when Los Gatos’ investments were bringing in returns of 1.86%.

Staff had been tracking how LAIF’s yields continued to drop steadily, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020/2021. They worked with Los Gatos’ investment advisor to replace maturing investments with shorter-term ones (with two-to-three-year maturity dates).

“These investments capture current yields that exceed the rates expected to be earned in the State Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF) pool during that same time period,” Conway said in the report. “The State LAIF pool typically lags the market when current market yields are either increasing or decreasing.”

Los Gatos is also monitoring the Federal Reserve’s decision to slow-up on buying back US Treasuries, as well as increasing inflation estimates, he added.

The Town is doing better on its investments than the State pool because theirs mature in an average of 519 days, instead of LAIF’s average of 321 days, staff reported.

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]