AUGUST 21, 2007

MEETING MINUTES

 

CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

AUGUST 21, 2007

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on August 21, 1007, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Samra presiding.

CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 5:30 p.m..

ROLL CALL

    Mayor Gurpal Samra

    Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

    Council Member Frank Vierra

    Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

    Council Member Roy Soria

The Council went into Closed Session at 5:31 p.m. to discuss the following matters:  

1.      Conference with Legal Counsel: Existing Litigation—Government Code Section 54956.9(a). Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, Merced County Superior Case No. 149443.

2. Conference with Legal Counsel: Existing Litigation—Government Code Section 54956.9(a). City of Livingston v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc., Merced County Superior Court Case No. 149647.

3.      Conference with Legal Counsel: Existing Litigation—Government Code Section 54956.9(a). Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. Richard Warne & Paul Creighton, United States District Court, Eastern District Court of California: 1:06-CV-00931-OWW-DLB.

4.      Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

            Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

            Employee Organization:  Livingston Police Officers’ Association.

      5.   Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Supervisory Employees Bargaining Association.

6.      Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Police Management Employees Association.

7.      Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Management/Confidential Employees Association.

8.      Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Clerical Employees Bargaining Association.

9.      Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Public Works/Parks Bargaining Association. 

10.  Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  Mayor  & City Council.

Unrepresented Employee:  City Manager.

11.  Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Unrepresented Employees:  Contract Employees.

12.  Conference with Real Property Negotiator—Government Code Section 54956.8.

Property:  Director’s Deed # 00801-01-01, # 00802-01-01 (4 parcels).

Negotiating Parties:  City Manager Richard N. Warne and City Attorney Tom Hallinan.

Under Negotiation:  Purchase Price.

13.  Conference with Real Property Negotiator—Government Code Section 54956.8.

Property:  Negotiating Parties:  City Manager Richard N. Warne and City Attorney

Tom Hallinan.

Under Negotiation:

14.  Conference with Legal Counsel—Anticipated Litigation.  Significant Exposure to Litigation.  Government Code 54956.9(b).  3 Cases. 

The Closed Session ended at 6:57 p.m. 

OPEN SESSION  

The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 6:58 p.m. 

REGULAR MEETING  

CALL TO ORDER  

Mayor Samra called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. 

ROLL CALL  

    Mayor Gurpal Samra

    Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

    Council Member Frank Vierra

    Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

    Council Member Roy Soria  

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE  

Bob Olson led the pledge of allegiance. 

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS  

There was no reportable action; the Council gave direction to staff. 

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA  

City Manager Warne requested that Item No. 10 pertaining to the award of bid for the Safe Routes to School Cycle 6 Sidewalk Installation Project be pulled from the agenda.  He stated the item will be presented to Council for consideration at the September 4, 2007, Regular Meeting. 

Motion:  M/S Vierra/Ingram to approve the removal of Item No. 10 from the agenda.  The motion carried 5-0.  

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS  

      1.   Citizens’ Advisory Committee Report. 

Citizens’ Advisory Committee Chair, Kaye Greeley read a list of committee concerns

and asked that a committee report be placed on the agenda for the September 4, 2007, Council meeting.  She added that a written list of concerns will be brought in to City Hall.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS  

      Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports. 

      John Vang, Administrative Assistant to Supervisor Pedrozo, reported the following: 

·         Final County Budget was approved today.

·         A High Speed Rail System meeting will be held in the County Administration Building, August 30, 2007, at 4:00 p.m. 

In response to a question from Pamela Tamez, Mr. Vang provided the definition of High Speed Rail System. 

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports. 

·         No announcements or reports. 

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports. 

·         No announcements or reports.  

CITIZEN COMMENTS  

Bob Olson, 15141 W. Vinewood Avenue, voiced concern about plans to convert his home and property into sewage ponds.  He questioned if the City conducted an alternative site study and if so, who prepared the study.  Mr. Olson further asked that if a study was done, what role the two principal land developers had in its outcome. 

City Manager responded to Mr. Olson’s concerns. 

Gerri Martin, 16181 W. Vinewood Avenue, addressed comments made by City officials that appeared in the Merced Sun-Star regarding the City’s decision to put sewer ponds on County land outside the City’s sphere of influence.  She further elaborated on the City’s plans to take farmland located west of the City to expand the domestic wastewater treatment plant and the preferential treatment given to developers.  

Ms. Martin also commented on a statement made by Mayor Samra implying that farmers selling to developers are to blame for driving City growth and not City officials.  She stated that the statement was ridiculous and insulting.  Ms. Martin presented a letter stating her concerns to the City Clerk. 

Henry Garcia, 1425 Second Street was concerned with the mother-in-law quarters being constructed across the alley from his property.  He added it looked like are apartments are being built.   

City Manger Warne replied to Mr. Garcia’s concerns. 

Mr. Garcia said he talked to his neighbors and no one received letters informing them of the construction. 

Pamela Tamez, 1440 Main Street, stated she lives next door to the subject property and the structure blocks her entire back yard.  Ms. Tamez said she viewed the permit application, but asked that the Council check to determine exactly what is being built.  She added that she also did not receive a letter in regards to this project.

Manuel Mercado, 1448 Second Street, stated he also did not receive written notification of the project and commented on speaking to City staff about the mailing of letters to affected property owners.  He showed pictures of the construction and said it was his feeling that the structure will be used for other things and not as granny quarters. 

Mr. Mercado also addressed the subject of garbage cans.  He commented that the City had the 300 gallon cans removed from the alleys without the residents’ knowledge. 

Mayor Samra commented that he agrees with Mr. Mercado, but stated that residents have some responsibility to attend meetings. 

City Manager Warne commented that from now on the City will send out certified letters. 

Mayor Samra commented that starting today all project specific mail will be certified. 

Mr. Mercado asked if City staff has gone over to see or inspect the project.  He also commented there are many things going on in the community and there is a need for a code enforcer. 

Collette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255, Livingston, read a statement expressing various concerns regarding the update of the City’s General Plan and Master Plans, the proposed sewer treatment plant expansion, lack of proper notification to affected property owners, and the 42 inch sewer line.  She gave a copy of her statement to the City Clerk.

Peggy Gipson, 2265 Johannisburg Drive, asked if there is a precedence in the City if she wanted to add on to her home.   

Community Development Director Kenney responded her proposal had to meet the requirements of the City Code.  

Chris Kaji, a fourth generation farmer, stated he had just heard about the 110 roadway on Olive Avenue.  He said he talked to his grandfather who does not want to move.  Mr. Kaji stated it appears the City has gone about this the wrong way and he was present at the meeting to ask for clarification and what the options are.

City Manager Warne invited Mr. Kaji to come by City Hall to go over this plan.  He noted this is actually not going to happen for a few years.   

Frank Borges, representing Mike Gallo, read concerns expressed by Mr. Gallo.  He spoke about what has happened through the years.  Mr. Borges stated that for the record Mr. Gallo has not sold to any developer and he is the current owner of the land.  He commented that Mr. Gallo is in support of City growth. 

Mr. Borges added that Mr. Gallo wanted to clarify for the record that Mr. Borges has been attending meetings and he (Mr. Borges) wanted the public to know the facts.  

Robby Avila, Stevenson, commented on the 42’ sewer pipe and gave information regarding the sewage system.  He went over some statistical figures and asked what the thought was for having a 42 inch pipe.   

PUBLIC HEARINGS  

2.      Resolution Setting the Gann Appropriation Limit. 

The agenda item was presented by City Manager Warne. 

Mayor Samra opened and subsequently closed the Public Hearing at 8:08 p.m., as there were no public comments.

Motion:  M/S Ingram/Soria to adopt Resolution No. 2007-39, Setting the Gann Appropriation Limit for FY 2007-2008.  The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES:                        Council Members:       Espinoza, Ingram, Samra, Soria, Vierra

NOES:                        Council Members:       None

ABSENT:       Council Members:       None

MEETING RECESS  

The Council took a break at 8:12 p.m.  The meeting resumed at 8:18 p.m. 

3. City of Livingston FY2008 Budget.  

City Manager Warne presented the agenda item and summarized the highlights of the fiscal year budget. 

            Mayor Samra opened the Public Hearing at 8:23 p.m. 

The City Clerk read a list of questions from Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street, that he wanted to present, but was unable to attend the meeting.  

Gerri Martin commented on a portion of the budget pertaining to the purchase of land which conflicts with the General Plan Land Use Map. 

            City Manager Warne gave an explanation. 

Kaye Greeley presented her thoughts about the Council receiving health benefits. 

Henry Garcia questioned why the subject of benefits was being brought up again when this was a moot issue last year.  He commented that he volunteered his time to youth sports for over 20 years and never asked to be compensated.  

Peggy Gipson stated she agreed with Kaye Greeley about the Council receiving health benefits and asked if benefits are provided for life..

Ms. Gipson also commented that the City is going to lose Police Officers.  She added that the City will soon lose the Police Chief and felt that more money should be allocated to the Police Department. 

Manuel Mercado stated the Council should be ashamed to ask the citizens to pay for their benefits.  He also agreed that more should be done for the Police Department.

Mohani Thiara said she was very upset to hear that the Police Chief was retiring soon.  She felt there is a need for the benefits’ monies to go towards police salaries.

Colette Alvernaz noted that on Page 10, top line, it shows that the domestic wastewater treatment plant expansion is needed.  However, in a meeting the City Manager said the population is 15,000.  She added that on Page 42 it shows that the population is a lot more.  She questioned why the Council is asking the citizens to fund 6 million dollars when the expansion isn’t needed for many years down the road.  

            City Manager Warne explained. 

Judy Blevins, 5381 W. Arena Way, asked about the water rates. She also asked if the proposed increase has been communicated to the residents.  Ms. Blevins also asked if sanitation rates will be affected by an increase.   

            City Manager Warne explained.

Pamela Tamez asked if the Council will donate trees for her property since the neighboring construction project is so huge.  She asked to be placed on the agenda to address this matter.

Mayor Samra asked the City Manager to comply with Ms. Tamez’s request to be placed on the agenda.

Manuel Mercado asked if the apartment project will have only one water meter.  He added that if there will be two separate meters the owner can use the house as a rental.

Community Development Director Kenney replied the project would have two meters. 

Mayor Samra closed the Public Hearing at 8:59 p.m., there being no further public comments.     

Council Member Vierra commented that City staff has been working on the budget and any money that has not been used will be carried over to the next fiscal year. 

Council Member Soria commented that the budget was the same as last year and he has no problem with leaving the document as presented.

Council Member Espinoza commented on the award the City received for its annual budget.  He said that staff has worked very hard on the budget and he felt the health care benefits for the Council should remain in the budget. 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram said more time was needed for review; therefore, the budget should not be approved tonight.

Mayor Samra had questions regarding some of the budget figures, for example Page 422.  He asked if the changes were due to personnel changes. 

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis explained the budget figures.  

Mayor Samra asked City Department Heads to comment on their individual budgets. 

Police Chief Eldridge said he didn’t have any issues.

Recreation Superintendent Benoit commented that she operated within the budget. 

Community Development Director Kenney said her department budget was fine. 

Mayor Samra explained to the public that just because there are certain items shown in the budget it doesn’t mean that the money will be used.  He assured the public that everyone will be notified by mail or in their utility bills before every penny is spent.

Mayor Samra asked the Council if they wanted to vote on the budget tonight.

Council Soria commented that the budget should be voted on tonight and subsequently made a motion to adopt Resolution No. 2007-40 approving the FY2008 Budget.  The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES:                        Council Members:       Espinoza, Ingram, Samra, Soria, Vierra

NOES:                        Council Members:       None

ABSENT:       Council Members:       None 

CONSENT CALENDAR

Motion: M/S Ingram/Soria to approve the following Consent Calendar Items:

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 14, 2007.

5. Livingston Community Network Memorial Park Use.

6. Resolution No. 2007-41, Ratification of Memorandum of Understanding for the Clerical Employees Association.

7. Resolution No. 2007-42, Ratification of Memorandum of Understanding for the Public Works and Parks Employees Association.

8. Resolution No. 2007-43, Ratification of Memorandum of Understanding for the Management/Confidential Employees Association.

9. Resolution No. 2007-44, Resolution for Compensation and Benefits for Unrepresented Employees not associated with the City’s Recognized Bargaining Unions.

10. Removed from the agenda.

The motion carried 5-0.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

      11. Court Theater Discussion and Guidance       

Council Member Vierra explained why this item was placed on the agenda and asked the Council to take action to move forward with the financing plan to renovate the theater.

Council Member Soria asked Jasmine Bains if the grant the City has applied for looked favorable for funding purposes.

Ms. Bains replied that she was not able to say.

Marge McFadden 1443 First Street, agreed that the City should move forward with the project. 

Colette Alvernaz stated the theater is a beautiful building and asked if the City would be able to get enough money to finish the project.

City Manager Warne explained that a financial plan was included in the agenda packet.

Council Member Vierra explained that this project will attract people to the downtown and construction costs will increase the longer the City waits.

Council Member Soria commented that the Committee has been working for six years to raise money for the project.  He stated there is a need to attract people to the downtown and the Council should approve the financing plan. 

Council Member Espinoza agreed with his fellow Council Members.  He stated he felt uneasy about repaying the money and favored tearing down the building and rebuilding because this will save money in the long run. 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram agreed with Council Member Vierra to preserve the original building.  He added we don’t want to give the grant money back after all the hard work that has been done. 

Mayor Samra commented that he did have reservations regarding this project.  He said he has heard that the project will preserve and revitalize the downtown, however, he questioned how the City is going to repay the 7 million dollar estimated cost.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that if the original concept goes through; the project will pay for itself.

Lengthy discussion followed 

Council Member Vierra made a motion to approve the financial plan and bring the matter back for Council approval.  The motion was seconded by Council Member Ingram and carried 5-0.

11.  Approval of Warrant No. 63399 to Rodrigo Espinoza.

Motion:  M/S Soria/Ingram to approve Warrant No. 63399 to Rodrigo Espinoza in the amount of $150.00.  The motion carried 4-0-1, with Council Member Espinoza abstaining.           

12.  City Manager Announcements and Reports.

·         No announcements or reports.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:57 p.m.

                                                                                     ______________________________                                    City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED:  October 16, 2007

_________________________

 Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

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One thought on “AUGUST 21, 2007

  1. Pingback: Garbage Rates, Protest Letters, a Little Push Back, and a City Council Agenda. | Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock...)

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