Plans to build a homeless shelter at the north end of town were put on hold last week.

On Sept. 1 The Tracy City Council had agreed on a $690,000 plan to build a temporary shelter between Arbor Avenue and Larch Road. The plan was to go out for a request for proposals in September, with a contract for construction to be awarded in October.

At the council’s Oct. 20 meeting the Tracy City Council was set to affirm a resolution from March declaring that Tracy has a shelter crisis, and authorized City Manager Jenny Haruyama to award the construction contract for the shelter.

Instead Haruyama pulled the item from the agenda, with consideration of the matter delayed most likely until the council’s Nov. 17 meeting. Haruyama noted that the city is going after a competitive grant that could provide some of the funding for the project, but news on the status of that grant has been delayed.

Assistant City Manager Midori Lichtwardt that the city had applied for a Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention grant. The state has $650 million to distribute through the program, and San Joaquin County and the San Joaquin Continuum of Care are among those entities that have applied for a share of that funding.

Lichtwardt noted that grant allocations were originally expected to be announced by Oct. 16, but won’t be announced until sometime in November.

Haruyama added that a trade group, the Construction Industry Force Account Council out of Fairfield, objected to the council authorizing the city manager to award a construction contract without putting the project out for competitive bid.

Justin Bochmann, midstate regional compliance manager for the group, in a letter to the city, said that even with an emergency declaration from March the city isn’t likely to expedite the opening of a shelter by foregoing the bid process.

“Moving forward with this action may also put the city in violation of the Public Contract Code, create unequal opportunities for contractors, and cost taxpayers significantly more money to have the work completed,” Bochmann wrote.

Haruyama said the city disagrees, but she recommended removing the item from last week’s agenda. Lichtwardt added that city staff will most likely put a design-build contract out to bid.

In the meantime, the city will issue another request for proposals to find a community organization that can provide a warming center to house unsheltered people during the upcoming winter nights.

• Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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