A $1.5 million no-bid contract that city of Tracy employees asked the City Council to award to a sports field planning consultant used by AKT Development was delayed Tuesday night.
The decision came after attorneys representing a competing developer charged that a council vote on the contract would have broken Californian meeting law.
Engineering Director Bill Reeds said city employees were unconcerned by the Keenan Land Co.’s allegations, but employees reworded the resolution that would give Nolte Associates the contract nonetheless, and they handed it to the council for review earlier in the day.
Councilwoman Irene Sundberg said it was unfair for the City Council to vote on a resolution that had yet to be seen by the public.
The council voted 4-1 to hold off on the vote for two more weeks. Mayor Pro Tem Brent Ives voted against delaying the decision.
“I thought we should have just gone ahead with it,” Ives later told the Tracy Press. “I in no way agreed with this law firm that claims we were somehow trying to shirk our responsibilities regarding the process or the Brown Act.”
The meeting was stacked with at least 20 supporters of city deals that would hand Tracy at least $40 million worth of youth sports fields and an aquatics park.
Mother of four Susan Anderson was one of four local women to win applause after reading prepared statements to the council supporting the deals with The Surland Cos. and AKT Development.
“There is an undeniable need for an aquatics facility,” said Anderson. “I came to thank you for pursuing an agreement with Surland Homes.”
Anderson attacked the authors of slow-growth law Measure A, the Tracy Region Alliance for a Quality Community, which has opposed the deals with developers.
“They don’t represent me or anyone else I know in the city,” she said.
Mayoral candidate and TRAQC figurehead Celeste Garamendi told the Tracy Press that she believed the developers staged the vocal display of support.
“We believe that $40 million is a fraction of what the developers should be paying,” she said.
Surland President Chris Long flatly denied that his company had coordinated the show of support. He said the speakers spoke using their own initiative and their own words.
Also at Tuesday’s City Council meeting:
• An American Red Cross office will be set up in Tracy, but the details are yet to be determined.
• Resident Susan Sarvey asked the city to prepare a disaster preparedness plan in case something goes wrong at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories’ Site 300, a radioactively poisoned military facility just outside Tracy’s city limits. Sarvey said she was worried about earthquakes and fire. “How can we respond if they have a disaster without putting our first responders in danger” Sarvey asked.
• Two fire department buildings will be named after former fire chiefs Charles E. “Roxy” Hudson and Dan Watrous.
• The city will buy a $26,000 tractor for Tracy Municipal Airport.
• Space on light poles at the Tracy Sports Complex will be rented to Cingular Wireless for $1,800 per month.
• Westaff and Hedy Holmes will provide the city with temporary staffing when it is needed at a cost of up to $300,000 over two years.
• To reach reporter John Upton, call 830-4274 or e-mail email@example.com.