Prevailing Wages and Citrus Trees On Irvine Council Agenda

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Highlights from the Irvine City Council meeting scheduled for tonight:

Prevailing wages: City Council is set to vote tonight on an ordinance that would extend the state’s prevailing wage requirement to all of the city’s direct public projects.

In 1998 the city adopted an ordinance exempting city public works projects from the state’s prevailing wage requirement, which requires bidders on public projects to use wages set by state law.

Last February, the City Council, in a 3-2 vote with Republican Councilmen Jeff Lalloway and Steven Choi dissenting, voted to craft a new ordinance requiring the prevailing wages. Union workers cheered the vote, the Orange County Register reported at the time.

The Register story also points out that a prevailing wage ordinance would have little effect because the city already uses prevailing wages for construction projects at the Great Park and pays a living wage for some other city projects.

The estimated cost impact to the city for fiscal year 2011-12 is between $569,000 and $962,000, according to a city staff report. But the report also notes that it is “not possible to predict” the cost impact of the prevailing wages because of, among other factors, the uncertainty of future economic conditions.

The Great Park citrus trees donation: Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a plan to donate 2,400 citrus trees to qualified not-for-profit groups.

In 2009, Joan Halvajian donated 5,000 citrus trees to the Great Park. While many were planted, and some are still going to be planted, the rest have remained in containers. Since the trees are outgrowing their containers, they will need to be replanted to save them from serious decline.

The trees have produced six tons of oranges this past growing season that were donated to local food banks, according to a city staff report. The donation of the trees will allow food banks to continue to take advantage of their harvest, according to the report. New homes for the trees will also allow them to be used in educational programs, the report said.

The Great Park Board of Directors, which includes all five council members, approved the plan at a board meeting last week. However, Council still needs to give the plan a final sign-off before it can move forward.

Community Development Block Grant action plan: Council will vote tonight on an action plan for the fiscal year 2011-12 Community Development Block Grant program, a federal pot of money cities receive each year for local use.



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