Thanks to the unanimous approval by Oakdale City Council members at the Tuesday, Sept. 4 meeting, the Oakdale Police Department will soon have eyes in the sky as part of a high-tech crime prevention campaign, which will put high-definition cameras at key areas throughout the city.
In response to the challenges several city departments have been facing related to quality of life issues in public areas, such as littering, vandalism, public intoxication and disturbances, the police department will be deploying Police Observation Devices (PODS) in the Oakdale Community Park and the Bianchi Center Plaza.
As a demonstration, council members were shown video footage of potential criminal activity recorded near the railroad tracks. The POD picked up the subjects, identified them as human, then when they attempted to scale the fence, officers were able to speak through the POD, alerting the subjects that they were about to get busted. The subjects took off running, discarding their plans to break the law.
Ceres-based APCS Technology Integration Experts came in with the lowest bid among the two other businesses for a total purchase amount of $38,736.45.
These devices will include video monitoring and the ability for police personnel to talk remotely with people in the area under observation. The PODS are highly visible boxes with clear police markings and LED lights to provide notice to people that the areas are under video patrol. There are analytics that serve to assist the video cameras in determining the presence of persons in the area and sending alerts to the police department.
A chief concern for the community remains criminal activity at the newly opened Oakdale Community Park after-hours. The new PODS system will work to alleviate many of the challenges currently facing the park.
The video will be 1080p high definition, and connect via high capacity radio connections back to the City via secure network connections and will also be equipped with night vision.
“We wanted something very visible,” Police Chief Scott Heller said of the new PODS. “It can be monitored remotely and alerts can be sent to the police department to take appropriate action.”
In other business, council members were updated on a grant award and the plans for it.
The Oakdale Municipal Airport received grant funds in the amount of $1,437,671, which will help fund the Airport Perimeter Security Fence Phase II Construction Project and the 2018 Airport Runway and Taxiway Pavement Preservation Construction Project.
The improvements will include: Removing 5,440 lineal feet of existing barbed wire fence; installation of 6,030 lineal feet of 6’ high chain link fence with 3-strand barbed wire and wildlife deterrent; installation of three new double-swing gates; 10,000 lineal feet of runway crack repair; 22,500 square feet of runway striping; and 13,450 square yard, or 2.78 acres, of 1-inch grind of existing pavement with a 2-inch overlay of new pavement for the taxiway.
For the fencing phase of the project, the low bidder was Woida Enterprises, Inc. with a base bid of $275,798.40 (fence and gates) and a bid alternative No.2 of $41,225.80 (wildlife deterrent) for a grand total contract amount of $317,023.20.
The engineers estimate for the improvements was $478,888. The contractor’s bid came in $161,865 under the engineer’s estimate.
Staff received approval from the FAA for Sponsor Administration (City of Oakdale Staff time/costs) in the amount $15,000 and Construction Administration/Observation (consultant services inspections and testing) in the amount of $70,756. City Staff will perform a majority of the project inspections to keep the consultant fees down.
The project is funded from Federal Aviation Administration Grant Funds in the amount of $362,501 and from the Airport Enterprise Fund in the amount of $40,278 for a total Project budget of $402,779.
For the runway project, bids were opened on May 10, 2018. There was one bid received from George Reed Construction, Inc. with a base bid of $571,387.50 (runway) and a bid Alternative No. 1 of $476,245 (taxiway) for a grand total contract amount of $1,044,632.50. The engineer’s estimate for the improvements was $942,350. The contractor’s bid came in $102,282.50 above the engineer’s estimate, or 9.79 percent, which was acceptable to the FAA.
Staff received approval from the FAA for Sponsor Administration (City of Oakdale Staff time/costs) in the amount $25,000 and Construction Administration/Observation (consultant services inspections and testing) in the amount of $119,000.
The project is funded from Federal Aviation Administration Grant Funds in the Amount of $1,069,770 and from the Airport Enterprise Fund in the amount of $118,863 for a total project budget of $1,188,633.
City Staff has submitted a matching grant application to Caltrans Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics for a maximum contribution of $50,000, which will bring the city’s share of cost down to $109,741.
While the improvements are welcome for the aging airport, some people have concerns about the usefulness of improvements to an airport that seems to be missing one crucial component – airplanes.
Bill Bradford addressed Council members saying, “The airport is a corpse … it’s time for the city to get out of airport management.”
Bradford alleged that mismanagement and poor direction has left the airport with little in the way of actual income as traditionally airports make their money selling fuel.
City Manager Bryan Whitemyer responded, saying, “We recognize there are many areas where we can improve. We embrace anyone who wants to bring an aviation business into Oakdale.”
Council member Rich Murdoch agreed, adding, “The work that’s been done on the airport is really impressive … great feather in our cap. I’m very grateful to our staff for the work they’ve done.”
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 17 at City Hall, 7 p.m.