Local News

Wednesday, Dec 18 2013 03:00 PM

Supervisors award waste contract, agree to buy drone

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors this week voted to hand a $1.8 million contract for running the Boron, Mojave-Rosamond and Ridgecrest landfills to Cullinan Engineering.

In doing so Tuesday, they ruled that Waste Management, Inc. -- which submitted a $1.5 million bid to do the same work -- was not eligible to win the bid because it didn't have a valid state contractors license when the bid was submitted.

Kern County Counsel Theresa Goldner recommended that -- if the board concluded that the contracting issue made the WMI bid unacceptable -- supervisors should rebid the project.

Instead supervisors awarded it to Cullinan, the company that in June terminated its five-year contract to run the same landfills because the Kern County Solid Waste Department wouldn't give the company a mid-contract pay increase.

Larry Moxley, who represented Cullinan, said that his client has "been operating for 13 years with nearly no increase."

The company had seen an increase in 2011, when it resigned new contracts with Kern County Solid Waste, and was making roughly $1.2 million a year.

ISLAMIC CENTER

Kern County supervisors will, on Jan. 28, take up the proposed Islamic school and community center -- opposed by residents of the small neighborhood of luxury homes north of the project site on Driver Road at Stockdale Highway.

On Tuesday, supervisors continued an appeal of the Kern County Planning Commission's approval of the project to that date. No one spoke in support or opposition to the appeal at Tuesday's meeting.

"We will look forward to a robust discussion when it comes back to us on January 28," said Supervisor Mike Maggard.

DRONE

And supervisors directed the Kern County Roads Department to spend up to $29,500 on an aerial, computer-programmed drone that will survey roads and other earthworks for the county.

The drone -- the size of a remote-controlled hobby plane -- is fed a flight plan by a computer and uses a digital camera to capture images of the ground that can be used to make two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of areas where road projects are planned.

"To start it, you take it in the location you're going to map, you shake it and you throw it up in the air," said Roads Department Director Craig Pope. "It takes over from there and it lands at your feet."

The equipment can drastically reduce the amount of time and human effort required to do land surveys, Pope said, and that saves the county money in the long run.

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