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Council OKs Solar, Police-in-Schools Contracts

Five city-owned buildings in El Cerrito will plug into the sun, thanks to a City Council green light Tuesday for the project. And a contract for city police to work at El Cerrito High and Portola Middle schools also won belated approval.

The El Cerrito City Council Tuesday night approved two important contracts for the city – one for a long-planned installation of solar power on several city buildings and the other to continue having three city police officers assigned to El Cerrito High and Portola Middle schools.

The $1.6 million, design-build solar contract with RGS Energy would install solar panels totalling 356 kilowatts capacity at five city sites.

Most of the panels – 322 kW worth – would be placed on the roofs and on yet-to-be-built carport structures in parking lots at the Community Center and Public Safety building. The remaining panels would go to Fire Station #72 on Arlington Boulevard, the Recycling Center and the Corporation Yard.

The city joined with three other cities – Albany, Piedmont and San Pablo – in the contractor procurement process under a collaboration called the "Small Cities Climate Action Partnership (ScCAP)." 

The council also agreed to grant a concession to the West Contra Costa County Unified School District over how much the district would pay to support two El Cerrito police officers at El Cerrito High and one officer at Portola Middle School. The district in the past paid $420,000 for a one-year contract for the three School Resource Officers (SROs), and the city, saying its costs had risen, asked for $470,000 annually in a three-year contract.

The district, citing financial strains and uncertainty, balked and an agreement was stalled for the contract, which was supposed to have begun at the start of the current fiscal year on July 1. The council Tuesday night agreed to continue with the previous terms of $420,000 for a one-year contract.

The votes on both contracts were 4-0, with Councilwoman Ann Cheng absent.

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Michael O'Connor October 18, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Good votes. Maybe few choose to run for City Council because the people there, with the limited turnover, seem to do a good job. The decades of post Prop. 13 leadership, with their attitude of no, no, NO!, allowed the city's infrastructure to deteriorate excessively. The city was nearly Burndt to the ground.
sylvia elsbury October 18, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Can someone explain why police presence is needed at "Portable Portola"? Since leaving the old building, students have had zero opportunity to create the infamous mayhem of yore. The physical plant simply doesn't permit it to happen.
Adam Henry October 19, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Guess again. New location, same kids, same problems.
sylvia elsbury October 19, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Very sorry to hear it. When I visited the campus last spring, the principal was feeling as though the move to portables had resolved security issues on a scale that requires police involvement. Too bad the much cheaper security guards aren't sufficient.

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