JUNE 19, 2007




JUNE 19, 2007

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on June 19, 2007, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Samra presiding.


Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 5:41 p.m.


    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 5:42 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 Real Property Negotiator—Government Code Section 54956.8.

Property:  Parcel Numbers DD000803-01-01, DD000804-01-01, DD000805-01-01,

DD000806-01-01, DD000807-01-01, DD000808-01-01, DD000809-01-01.

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

5.      Public Employee Performance Evaluation—Government Code Section 54957.

Title:  City Attorney.

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

            Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

            Employee Organization:  Livingston Police Officers’ Association.

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

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Supervisory Employees Bargaining Association.

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

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Police Management Employees Association.

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

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Management/Confidential Employees Association.

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

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Clerical Employees Bargaining Association.

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

Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Employee Organization:  Public Works/Parks Bargaining Association.

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

Agency Negotiator:  Mayor & City Council.

Unrepresented Employee:  City Manager.

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


The Council came out of Closed Session at 6:57 p.m. and into Open Session at 6:58 p.m.  The Closed Session was continued to the end of the Regular Meeting.



Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 7:05 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance was recited 


    Mayor Gurpal Samra

    Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

    Council Member Frank Vierra

    Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

    Council Member Roy Soria


Due to the continuation of Closed Session there were no announcements at this time.


Item No. 9 was removed from the agenda at the request of City Manager Warne.


1.      Presentation of Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association of the United States and Canada.

City Manager Warne informed the Council that the City has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association of the United States and Canada.  He further explained how the City’s budget was evaluated and said the City’s budget met national standards.

      2.   Presentation of Water Enterprise Fund Financial and Water Rate Information.

Mayor Samra explained that no decision would be made on water rates tonight; the presentation is one of many that will be presented to the City Council.

City Manager Warne introduced Dan Bergmann who gave a power point presentation that showed how the City is losing money monthly and why rates would have to be increased.  He commented that the last water rate increase was in July 1995.

Jim Marnatti, Environmental Affairs Manager for Foster Farms, asked how these changes will affect Foster Farms’ rates.

City Manager Warne explained that tonight’s presentation was only to provide information for the Council to study and review. 

Mayor Samra suggested that a committee be formed and that two Council Members and some community volunteers serve on the committee.

Supervisor John Pedrozo asked Mr. Bergmann how this information was obtained because the cities all have different populations.

Mr. Bergmann said he called the cities and found out the cost of 20,000 gallons of water in each city.

Dwight Benfield, 1330 Queen Way, said he would gladly pay a little extra for water to avoid getting brown smelly water. 

City Engineer Gottiparthy explained that some of the water problems will be alleviated by the installation of new water lines under the Prop 13 Water Line Installation Project.

Public Works Director Creighton explained that Prop 13 funds will not pay for replacement of all older water lines in the City.  He commented that since Mr. Benafield lives in a new housing development, these pipes would not be replaced.  

City Manager Warne explained that all the pipes are looped together, so residents may continue to get brown water until the bad pipes are replaced.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street, asked about the loop system that was already in place. 

Luis Flores commented that he didn’t understand why water rates need to be increased.

Mr. Bergmann explained the reasons for the increase.

Jim Marnatti asked if Foster Farms increased the use of recycled water will this reduce what they have to pay.

Mr. Bergmann replied that the use of recycled water will reduce Foster Farms’ water bills.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, asked how deep current City water wells were.

Public Works Director Creighton commented that the City is down one well that is not functioning.

Member Vierra commented that he was pleased with the information and will evaluate it.

Council Member Espinoza commented that there have been many complaints about the water system and a rate increase is warranted to correct the problems.

Council Member Soria agreed with Council Member Espinoza; however, he would like comments from the community and will follow their guidance.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram complimented Mr. Bergmann on his presentation and commented that a rate increase is needed, but hopefully it will be a gradual increase.

Regarding Foster Farms, Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that Foster Farms should install water meters to monitor water usage, so they would only be billed for the water used.

Mayor Samra commented that the Council received this information at the same time as everyone else.  He added that no one likes a price increase, but it will take time for the Council to digest the information presented.

Mayor Samra repeated that he would like to see a few citizens volunteer to be on the committee.                                              


      Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

·         The Board received the FY 07/08 budget proposal today.  The final budget will be presented in August.  There will be funding for additional sheriff deputies.

·         Next week he will be attending two rail meetings in the Bay Area.

·         On Sunday he attended the celebration at Yamato Colony that he found interesting.

·         Announced with regret that his assistant, Nick Dawidzick will be leaving for Idaho. 

Mayor Samra commented that Mr. Dawidzick was a great asset and whenever he had any dealings with him, Mr. Dawidzick was very helpful.  He thanked Mr. Dawidzick for all that he did.

Assistant City Manager Lewis agreed with Mayor Samra and wished Mr. Dawidzick good luck.

The Council also wished Mr. Dawidzick well.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports. 

Council Member Soria 

·         Gave a report on the Yamato Colony celebration.  He commented there were a lot of people attending that represented many cultures.  He said it was interesting to see many of the former students who went on to be lawyers, judges and other professionals.

Council Member Vierra

·         Reported that Maria Berber has resigned from the CAC and moved to Atwater and this vacancy needs to be filled.

The Council directed staff to advertise the vacancy through the normal channels (i.e.,

newspaper, posting, City website, Community Cable Channel 2).

      Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram

·         Received a call from Senator Jeff Denham asking to meet with him.  He will give a report later.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports 

·         Apologized to Supervisor Pedrozo for an incident that happened at a meeting.  


Steve Hall, representing Dunmore Homes, handed a letter to the Council addressed to Paul Creighton concerning acceptance of their project.  Mr. Hall wanted to personally bring the matter to the Council’s attention, so that acceptance of their project could be placed on the agenda as soon as possible.

City Manager Warne commented that as soon as he receives a report from staff he will give a report to the Council on any outstanding issues. 

Mayor Samra told Mr. Hall that as soon as he received a report from staff, he will get back to him on this issue.

Warren Urnberg commented on how much he likes the flags on Main Street that represent all military branches.

Denis Wells, 1159 Second Street, commented on the Yamato Colony Celebration, and said the event was a good reminder of our history, culture and values.  He talked to some of the citizens that wanted to thank the Council for the naming of Japanese Streets in Country Lane II Subdivision (Kishi Subdivision).

Mr. Wells also thanked staff for hanging the military flags.

Dwight Benafield commented that at the last meeting he addressed a question to the Council regarding the super majority in the City Manager’s contract.

Mayor Samra explained this matter will be discussed in Closed Session and will be placed on a future meeting agenda for a response.

Luis Flores, a resident of Almondwood Drive, requested an answer to the recycling question he raised at the last meeting. 

Public Works Director Creighton commented the he would like to meet with Mr. Flores to discuss his idea for recycling.

Daniel Varela, 752 Maple Drive, commented that at the last meeting he had brought up a concern regarding the lack of landscaping at the Hammatt Overpass.

City Manager Warne explained that he and Public Works Director Creighton viewed the site and found that the property belongs to Caltrans.  He added that before staff spends significant time and money, they need to get direction from Caltrans.

Mr. Varela commented that Mr. Warne’s comment didn’t really answer his question other than to indicate that the landscaping will cost a lot of money.  He said that since this is one of the entrances to the City, something about the landscaping needs to be done.

Mayor Samra commented that something did come out of Mr. Varela’s concern.  He noted there is a business owner who is willing to share the cost with the City to do the work.

Mr. Varela also asked about displaying of the military flags and suggested holding a Founder’s Day to bring pride to the community.

City Manager Warne commented that he personally thought it was a good idea and the Council and staff have been talking about holding such an event. 


      3.   Resolution Denying Administrative Appeal 2007-01 Concerning a Projecting Sign in a Highway Commercial Zoning District.

      The agenda item was presented by Community Development Director Kenney.

      Mayor Samra opened the Public Hearing at 8:38 p.m.

Suhkvir Chahal, the applicant and owner of the Subway on Crowell Street, brought a representative, Dalvir Chahal, to speak on his behalf.  Dalvir Chahal asked the Council to refer to a picture of the sign contained as part of the staff report presented to them.  He pointed out that the applicant had a verbal agreement for the sign with a City contract staff member.

Through his representative, Suhkvir Chahal explained the events that occurred in 2004 regarding the placement of the sign.

Dalver Chahal commented that he was present at the time Mr. Chahal spoke with City staff and the staff member told Mr. Chahal that there was no problem with the sign.

      Mayor Samra closed the Public Hearing at 8:42 p.m., there being no public comments.

Council Member Soria commented that Brian Millar, a former City contract employee, denies ever agreeing to the sign and added that he did not like the projecting sign.

Council Member Vierra asked if this is a projecting sign and Director Kenney said yes.  He commented that without a written agreement, the Council could not give Mr. Chahal permission to install the sign.

Council Member Espinoza commented that he had heard that there was an agreement between Mr. Chahal and City staff.  He also noted that the City keeps turning commercial businesses away and the Council should encourage business owners to locate in the City and assist them.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram sympathized with Mr. Chahal for what he has gone through.  He added that when PMC was retained by the City, there were a series of planners in the office.   He commented that by looking at the picture of the sign he saw no reason not to grant Mr. Chahal permission as the sign will not cause a safety hazard or pose a threat to the public. 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram added that the Council is trying to encourage people to open a business in Livingston and this particular sign will bring Mr. Chahal more business.  He subsequently asked for the advice of the City Attorney.

City Attorney Hallinan suggested not changing the City Code, but something could be added to the resolution to the effect that Mr. Chahal relied on detrimentally provided information by contract staff.

Council Member Soria said that current planning staff was not to blame because this occurred before Donna Kenney came on board and that PMC, the former contract planners, had left the City in a mess.

Council Member Soria added that if the Council allows the sign to be installed, then the City will be setting a precedent and will likely have Mr. Godinez who owns a business on the corner near Subway to also request a projecting sign.

Council Member Espinoza commented that this situation is an exception because of the advice of the previous contract planner.

Council Member Ingram commented that he believes Mr. Chahal and believes a mistake was made by a firm hired by the City.                   

Director Kenney commented that she wanted to remind Council that they are not denying Mr. Chahal a sign since he has the opportunity to install a sign at two other locations. 

Mayor Samra commented that he doesn’t call people liars. It was a “he said, she said” situation and the Council does not have proof that things didn’t happen as Mr. Chahal said they did. 

Mayor Samra asked Mr. Chahal if he had looked at the alternative locations that were presented to him by staff.

Mr. Chahal said yes, but one alternative is too high and you cannot see his sign from Livingston-Cressey Road

            Lengthy discussion followed.

Motion:  M/S Ingram/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2007-29, allowing Mr. Chahal to put up the sign as shown in the staff report.  This is a one time exception.  The motion carried 3-2-0 by the following vote:

AYES:                     Council Members:       Espinoza, Ingram, Samra

NOES:                     Council Members:       Soria, Vierra

ABSENT:       Council Members:       None


            The following consent calendar items were presented for the Council’s consideration:

4.   Approval of Minutes of City Council Meeting Held on June 5, 2007.

5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated June 12, 2007.

6.      City Website Recreation Management System.

7.      City House Rental Agreement.  

8.      Renewal of Contract with Environmental Management Services (EMS) for Operation Services of the Domestic and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plants.

9.      Resolution  of the City of Livingston Declaring its Intention to Reimburse Expenditures from the Proceeds of Certain Obligations to be Issued for the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant.

10.  Senior Citizen Center Improvements.

Council Member Vierra asked that Warrant #62889 be pulled for review by Assistant City Manager Lewis.

At the request of Mike Torres, Item #7 was pulled for discussion.

Motion:  M/S Soria/Ingram to approve the Consent Calendar items with the exception of Items #7 and #9.

Mr. Torres asked if this house was offered or posted for rent and questioned why the City is paying for water and garbage.

City Manager Warne commented that when the house became vacant, Donna Barnes approached him about renting the residence.  He said he thought it would be a good idea because she is a City employee and the City wants to be careful about who rents the house.

Mayor Samra asked the City Attorney if the Council was breaking any legal codes by renting the house to a City employee.

City Attorney Hallinan replied no. 

Assistant City Manager Lewis commented that having an employee rent the house is an asset to the City, bringing in monthly rent on a vacant property.

Mr. Torres repeated his question as to why the house was not advertised for rent or offered to other City employees.

Council Member Soria, commented said that the house was for use by City staff to encourage them to live in town.

Mr. Torres also questioned why the lease was month to month and not six months or a year.

Council Member Espinoza commented that this is the first time the City has owned a house and perhaps next time the house could be offered to other City staff.

Mr. Torres commented that he didn’t have a problem with the lease, only with the process that was use to rent the residence.

Mayor Samra asked Donna Barnes if she is willing to rent the house for six months.

      Donna Barnes replies yes.

Motion:  M/S Ingram/Soria to approve Item #7 on the Consent Calendar with a six month lease and month to month rental thereafter.  The motion carried 5-0. 


11. Membership in Tree Foundation and Appointment of Board Member.

City Manager Warne presented the agenda item and recommended that Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram be appointed as he has expressed an interest in serving on the board.

Motion:  M/S Soria/Espinoza to appoint Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram as a member of the Tree Foundation Board.  The motion carried 5-0.

      12. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adding Title 10, Chapter 13, Sections 1 through 15 to the Livingston Municipal Code: Prohibition Against Underage Drinking and Social Host Liability.          

Police Chief Eldridge presented the agenda item and explained in detail the purpose of the ordinance, the restrictions for serving alcohol to minors, and the assessment of fines for those violating the ordinance.

Council Member Vierra commented this item was discussed by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee and he recommended that that the ordinance be noticed in the Livingston Chronicle as a news article and included in the City utility bills in both English and Spanish to make the public aware of the new restrictions.

            City Manager Warne asked for direction from the Council.

Council Member Espinoza asked Chief a question about Quinceneras and would such an event be shut down if alcohol was served to minors.

Chief Eldridge explained that the Police Department no longer issues alcohol permits for Quinceneras because in the past alcoholic beverages were consumed by minors.

As an example, Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram asked if a family member is present at a party and he/she allows their own teenager to drink and the teenager leaves the party and shoots someone in another town, who is liable.

            Chief Eldridge responded that the parent and not the City is liable.

            Lengthy discussion followed.

Motion:  Vierra/Ingram to introduce and waive the first reading of Ordinance No. 560, an           

Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston adding Title 10, Chapter 13, Sections 1-15 to the Livingston Municipal Code:  Prohibition of Underage Drinking and Social Host Liability.  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. 


The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 9:44 p.m. 

The Council took a short break before resuming Closed Session. 


The Council met at 9:54 p.m. to continue discussions on items presented under Closed Session earlier. 

The Council went into Closed Session at 9:55 p.m. 

The Closed Session ended at 10:36 p.m.  


The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 10:37 p.m.


The Council took no action.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPPROVED:  July 3, 2007


 Mayor or Mayor ProTempore


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