Local News

Sunday, Dec 15 2013 08:00 PM

Drone, new zip code, replacement copper on county wish list

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors will consider a range of stocking stuffer items Tuesday, on their last meeting before the Christmas holiday break.

In the bag is a survey drone for the Roads Department, repairs to a thief-stripped pump for Oildale and a special new title for Tejon Ranch.

REMOTE CONTROLLED HOVERCRAFT

The Kern County Roads Department is asking supervisors to put on their Santa hats and buy an aerial drone -- a remote-controlled aircraft -- to fly survey missions on roads projects.

According to a report by Roads Director Craig Pope, the drone would fly over construction sites and photograph and record contour lines. Doing that by drone rather than through traditional surveying methods by people, Pope's report states, would deliver taxpayers a Christmas present, too -- cost savings.

With a drone, he wrote, a recent $80,000 survey job could have been done for less than $8,000.

The drone would only be used in rural areas where aerial conflicts could be minimized.

Price tag: $29,500.

TEJON the COMMUNITY

Potential investors in Tejon Ranch's residential, commercial and industrial developments could get a boost from supervisors with a swipe of a pen.

What's in a name?

A lot, according to a report from the Kern County Administrative Office, which is asking supervisors to sign a letter supporting Tejon Ranch's request for consideration from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

The request asks for Tejon Ranch to be designated an "unincorporated populated community," which would allow it to have its name added to the list of names covered by existing zip codes.

Using the name Tejon Ranch — rather than Lebec, Frazier Park or Arvin — the CAO's report states, Tejon would be better able to sell itself as a unique place for developers to locate their projects.

COPPER

New decorations planned for the Hart Street pumping station are, perhaps, not the most festive.

But the razor wire that will top the reinforced security fence is expected to keep people from breaking in to strip copper wire from the unit that keeps sections of Roberts Lane, North Chester Avenue and Beardsley Street from flooding during heavy rains.

The station has been stripped of the valuable metal by Scrooges twice in recent months.

Barely a week after the first vandalism was repaired in October, thieves stripped the pumping station again.

Now the county will do a second repair -- and upgrade security at the pump house to make sure a third helping of copper isn't needed.

Price tag for both repairs: $50,000.

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