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Madera makes substantial progress on city upgrades

DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune

Madera Police Cpl. Brent Cederquist, president of the Police Officers Association (POA), speaks at the podium before a large crowd of residents and members of the Madera POA who filled the City Council chambers Wednesday night. The Police Officers Association is currently in contract negotiations with the city.


The Madera City Council announced significant progress in major city projects Wednesday night to a packed council chamber.

A WORKSHOP was held on a pending $19 million dollar city solar upgrade project with the company ENGIE to update council members on the status of the multi-year proposal. The proposed project will replace all or most existing city lighting with LED, upgrade many HVAC units, add 150 solar streetlights and provide new and larger solar arrays at many city owned facilities and is projected to significantly reduce existing energy costs by as much as 60 per cent even after the costs of installation according to the presentation.

The solar expansion and other upgrades will also reduce maintenance costs and is projected to save the city between $28 million and $29.5 million in energy costs over 20 years, even with the cost of its installation. The project, if approved by the City Council, will also assure at least 20 per cent of the labor and installation contractors will be from within the city limits of Madera.

THE CITY’S WATER usage and its underground water basin storage is now balanced, according to the report on the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan by city engineer Keith Helmuth. Helmuth said one of the recent major plan successes was the recharge of The Berry sub basin.

“This plan showed (the need for) us (recharging) about 2,500 acre feet per pear,” Helmuth said.

“MID started dropping water in about 4 or 5 months ago and they have (already) put in about 40 to 50 thousand acre feet during that time frame. So they have already done about 10 plus years of (groundwater) recharging in this basin,” he said, and while the basin is shared — the ongoing recharge process should continue the balance in the groundwater basin into 2040, assuring a sustainable water supply for the city.

The city also anticipates to receive at least a million dollars in grant funding for its purchase and installation of state mandated water meters, according to Helmuth, which should help reduce operational water costs and rates.

A NEW, $409,000 sidewalk project was announced to install sidewalks along parts of Sunset Avenue, and some sections of Pine Street to Double Tree Way.

Block Grant Commission awards in the amount of $663,000 were announced to fund sidewalk improvements along parts of Lilly Street, Vineyard Avenue, Maple Street, Stadium Road, Monterey Street and Santa Cruz Street, along with funding for various other requested amounts for Habitat for Humanity to provide home repairs for low income residents and other local non profit groups who provide support services to the community.

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