The Sonora Police Department is getting some much needed improvements after the City Council awarded a contract to a San Francisco-based construction company at Monday's meeting.

The council unanimously agreed to approve the roofing project with Rainbow Waterproofing, which placed the lowest bid at $131,415. The project was originally budgeted at $150,000.

Funding for the project comes from income generated by federal Community Development Block Grant program grants. The reserve fund has a net operating budget of about $400,000, according toCity Administrator Tim Miller.

This project is the second phase of a multi-part project to improve and upgrade the Sonora Police Department building at 100 S. Green St.

Last year, the council approved a $67,840 contract to a Sutter Creek-based company for work on the building's exterior, which included replacing all of the siding and replaced the entry door.

The department has struggled for years with facility issues. Water leaks have damaged expensive equipment and made the chief's office uninhabitable.

Prior to the facade work completed in late 2011, chunks of the siding were rotting off the building.

The latest phase of the project includes sealing the building's roof, which will waterproof the upper area and prevent future damage from water leaks.

Council members discussed whether they should wait a week to authorize the contract in order to give City Engineer Gerard Fuccillo time to discuss a lengthy warranty deal.

"I want this done more than anyone, I campaigned on this two years ago. But if this is something that could save the taxpayers money five, 10 or 15 years from now, then I think we should wait a week," said Councilman Matt Hawkins.

Fuccillo said the way the contract was advertised, the city would be given a five-year warranty for work and the company would come back every five years for maintenance work and would extend that warranty another five years.

Canning suggested negotiating at least a 20-year manufacturer's warranty up front.

"I think this will hold up the process and we want to get it waterproofed by fall," Fuccillo said.

"They've been waiting for five years, I think we should do this now and get the show on the road," said Councilman Ron Stearn.

The council agreed to award the contract and to discuss the warranty with the company at a pre-construction conference in the near future.

Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson said his department is looking forward to the improvements.

"It's a huge morale boost, and it will be nice to work in a mold-free environment," he said.

The third and fourth project phases involve various safety upgrades and interior renovations. Those phases are planned to be discussed sometime next year.

At Monday's meeting, the council also:

• Adopted an ordinance that allows builders to construct buildings taller than 35 feet through the approval of a conditional use permit in certain commercial zones within the city.

• Scheduled a special meeting for 3 p.m., Sept. 24, at City Hall, to consider authorizing an agreement for consulting services regarding the development of a blueprint for an expansion of the Dragoon Gulch Trail. The city was awarded $50,000 of a federal grant through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally referred to as "Obamacare", to develop the expansion plan. The money can't be used for actual construction.