FAIRFIELD — Solano County’s Agricultural Department will soon be leaving the city for the country.
The department is located at 501 Texas St. in Fairfield, in a building that decades ago served as a gymnasium for Armijo High School. The department also has the weights and measures part of its operation located at 560 Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to relocate both operations to 2543 Cordelia Road, make associated road and security improvements on the site and buy new testing equipment at a total cost of $968,800. The site is farmland south of the Anheuser-Busch brewery.
Solano County already owns the new location. It bought 29 acres there in 2007 at a cost of $2.2 million for the renovation of the nearby eastbound Interstate 80 California Highway Patrol truck scales, a project completed this year. The truck scales took away a small portion of the county land. The remaining land has two warehouses and an office building left over from the days when a seed company owned the site.
Having all the Agriculture Department’s functions at one location creates a “one-stop” shop, a county report said. The 1958 weights and measures building in Vallejo is deteriorating and has been vandalized. It houses testing equipment that county workers must travel from Fairfield to use.
Along with the new, more-secure location for testing equipment, the Agricultural Department will get a dynamometer for $67,700. A dynamometer allows the testing of the odometer and speedometer without driving the vehicle, but rather by spinning the wheels in place.
Presently, the department calibrates speedometers and odometers by driving them, Agricultural Commissioner Jim Allan said. That involves not only driving at the speed limit, but at low speeds.
“That can cause a lot of angst to other travelers on the road,” he said.
Much of the testing work is done on taxis and tow trucks. These are two enterprises that charge by the mile, requiring certification by the Agricultural Department’s weights and measures division.
Having a dynamometer will allow the county to expand its vehicle testing to local law enforcement agencies, the California Highway Patrol and ambulances, the county report said. This is a potential revenue source, it said.
Allan said that law enforcement agencies use the speedometers of their cars to clock the speed of other vehicles when issuing speeding tickets. The speedometers need to be verified as being accurate.
The Agricultural Department should relocate in 10 to 12 months, Allan said.
Remaining at the old Armijo gymnasium building will be the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.