CALIFORNIA CITY — The city will make emergency repairs to an electrical switch box that has deteriorated to the point where Southern California Edison has said it will no longer provide power to it if it is not fixed.

The funds for this emergency repair, however, will come from a facilities fund that had been designated for removing asbestos flooring and constructing a lactation room in City Hall to meet with new state law.

The electric switchgear is at the Par 3 Golf Course near Central Park, Interim Public Works Director Joe Barragan said.

The box has corroded to the point where it is in danger of falling over and is unsafe. The bottom of the box is rusted through and rodents are able to get inside and at the wires, he said.

Southern California Edison recently contacted city staff to say they will cut the power to the unit if it is not replaced.

“I just can’t emphasize enough how much of an emergency this is,” Barragan said, with a danger of electrocuting someone if it should fall over.

The box provides the electrical supply to the Little League fields.

Barragan received three quotes for the equipment purchase, the least expensive from Consolidated Electrical Distributors of Lancaster for $6,037.

The installation work will be done by Public Works staff to save some costs. With the equipment, labor and Southern California Edison’s work to connect the new box, the total project is estimated to cost a maximum of $15,737, Barragan said.

Staff originally requested the repair funds be taken from the city’s General Fund Reserves, but the Council balked at using the depleted reserves instead of any other city fund.

“Why General Fund Reserves?” Councilmember Ron Smith asked. “Why not out of Parks? Why not out of Public Works? Why does it have to go right to General Fund Reserves? We are in hurting status financially.”

City Manager Anna Linn explained that when the 2019-2020 budget was passed, all capital improvement projects were deferred pending specific Council approval, and the money set aside for them all placed in the General Fund Reserve.

This also meant that any discretionary funds for the parks, such as for the annual fireworks show, were also placed in the General Fund Reserve and are not otherwise available such as for this project, Linn said.

“There’s going to come a point that we aren’t going to have any more money in reserves and our city is going to be bankrupt,” Smith said. “There’s only so much that we can do.”

The building operations and maintenance fund has just over $22,000 available, Linn said.

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