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Funding advanced for planning stages of regional sewer

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Decisions regarding the regional sewer project and the city of Lincoln?s taxicab ordinance were made during Tuesday night?s briefer-than-usual City Council meeting. Council authorized Lincoln City Manager Jim Estep to enter into an advanced funding agreement with Placer County for the recently-approved Regional Sewer Project. The project entails building a pipeline from North Auburn and potentially the city of Auburn and pumping that sewage to Lincoln?s wastewater treatment plant for treatment, according to previous News Messenger reports. The approval of the project means lower wastewater rates for residents in Lincoln, Placer County and Auburn, as well as a recovery of $12 million to the city of Lincoln for over-sizing of the plant and pipeline, Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short said in March. Lincoln public services director Mark Miller presented the council Tuesday with a staff report on the item. The advanced funding agreement between Placer County and the city of Lincoln ?is for funding of city of Lincoln work on the environmental review and design of the regional sewer project,? according to Miller. Included in the agreement is that the ?county (is) to advance to Lincoln a sum not to exceed $1 million,? according to Miller. ?This is a major step forward in the entire regional sewer project,? Short said. ?It?s important to get these agreements buttoned up quickly.? In other council news, the city?s ordinance that deals with taxicab operation within the city of Lincoln was amended. ?Police department staff reviewed the municipal codes and taxicab regulations of several area jurisdictions which allow taxicab operation on a regular basis,? Lincoln Interim Chief of Police Paul Shelgren wrote in a staff report for the item. ?Staff found the licensing process of these jurisdictions to be very effective and streamlined, as compared to the current city of Lincoln ordinance.? Shelgren said the ordinance that existed prior to Tuesday night?s amendment required ?80-plus hours of staff time? for vehicle inspections and a ?background investigation in order to approve a taxicab driver?s license.? ?We now have a system used from Sacramento to Roseville that will take two hours of staff time and the majority of that is volunteer time with a sworn officer (available),? Shelgren said. That includes fingerprinting, a DMV check provided by the applicant and a drug screening, according to Shelgren. Short asked Shelgren how the privacy of the drug screen will be maintained. ?The applicant takes a (form) to the medical facility and (the results) are faxed or e-mailed directly to our office to avoid that information getting out,? Shelgren said. Short noted that the previous ordinance was ?put in place in 2007.? ?It wasn?t necessarily working for our purposes,? Short said. ?I think this represents a good series of changes that minimizes the impact on the police department.?