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Guns and a bridge are on the council agenda

WALLA WALLA, Washington – The Walla Walla City Council will consider what to do with old police department firearms declared surplus and consider a staff recommendation to reject all bids for the Spokane Street Bridge replacement project at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

In January, the Walla Walla Police Department requested that several old firearms be declared surplus and authorized City Manager Nabiel Shawa to sell or dispose of them in such as deemed to be in the best interests of the city. However, council tabled action pending discussion at a future council workshop.

A policy question was later brought up by council on what would happen to the firearms upon being declared surplus. Council was unable to reach a decision on whether the guns should be destroyed, provided to the gun club or allowed to be traded in to a federally-licensed gun dealer for police department credit towards purchase of necessary weapons.

WWPD Chief Scott Bieber said that in 2015 the department traded in rifles that were in the patrol cars and the department used all of that credit to purchase new rifles. In that case, the WWPD received about one-third of the price.

“We received about $2,000 out of the $6,000 bill,” Bieber said.

As the city council is still without a clear surplus policy, the question of what to do with surplus firearms is still in front of council. There are several alternatives ranging from simply destroying the weapons to allowing them to be traded. City staff recommends that the police department be allowed to declare the weapons surplus and trading them in to a federally-licensed firearms dealer. That would give WWPD a credit that could be used for purchasing new equipment.

Another item on the council’s agenda relates to the Spokane Street Bridge replacement project.

Last month, as a guest on KTEL’s The Grapevine, City Manager Nabiel Shawa stated that it appeared the two bids received from Harry Johnson Plumbing and Excavation LLC and McMillan and Jacobs LLC, did not meet the project’s federally-mandated underutilized disadvantaged business enterprise requirements.

Both bids exceeded the engineer’s estimate of more than $1.3 million for the project, according to the council agenda documents.

City staff is recommending that the council reject all bids and direct staff to rebid the project towards the end of 2019 with construction in 2020. By bidding the project outside of the active construction season, city staff also anticipates receiving more interest and competitive bids for the project.

Tonight’s meeting is in council chambers of Walla Walla City Hall, 15 N. Third Ave.


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