MAY 15, 2007

MEETING MINUTES

CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

MAY 15, 2007

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on May 15, 2007, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Samra presiding.

CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 5:35 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 5:36 p.m. to discus 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.   Conference with Labor Negotiator—Government Code Section 54957.6.

            Agency Negotiator:  City Manager Richard N. Warne.

            Employee Organization:  Livingston Police Officers’ Association.

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

The Closed Session ended at 6:54 p.m. 

OPEN SESSION

The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 6:55 p.m.

REGULAR MEETING

CALL TO ORDER  

Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m. 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE  

The pledge of allegiance was led by Woody Campini. 

ROLL CALL  

    Mayor Gurpal Samra

    Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

    Council Member Frank Vierra

    Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

    Council Member Roy Soria 

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS  

There were no announcements.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

None.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1.   Presentation by Livingston Rotary Club.

On behalf of the Livingston Rotary Club and Foster Farms, Woody Campini, 1403 Monte Cristo Way, presented Mayor Samra with a check for $40,000 as a donation for the Memorial Park Improvement Project.

Mr. Campini elaborated on his years of service as City Clerk and a Rotary member and noted he has worked on this project for the past five years.  Mr. Campini added that this is a $500,000 project that entails various improvements to Memorial Park, including a new covered picnic area.  He noted that according to the City Engineer, the project should be completed by the end of May.

Mr. Campini suggested that those people who rent the new picnic area should not have their deposits returned unless the picnic area is left in a clean and orderly manner.

Mr. Campini introduced other members of the Rotary Club present at the meeting.

Mayor Samra commented on Mr. Campini’s 37 year service as City Clerk, and Bob Thompson’s previous service on the City Council.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

      Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

      Nick Dawidczick, Administrative Assistant, reported the following:

·         Supervisor Pedrozo could not be here tonight because the Board of Supervisors held a board meeting tonight.

·         Next week, May 21-25, 2007, is Rail Safety Week.  Supervisor Pedrozo has been working with County staff and Zoe Richmond is the State Coordinator (Executive Director) for Operation Lifesaver’s California Division.

·         Last Saturday, Planada held its annual Community Day and it went well.  On Saturday, May 26th Le Grand is holding their Community Day.

Council Member Vierra thanked Supervisor Pedrozo for his donation to the Livingston High School Sober Grad Program.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Vierra

·         Expressed concern about the traffic signal lights at Winton Parkway and Joseph Gallo Drive.

Mayor Samra asked Public Works Director Creighton to update the Council on this situation.

Director Creighton explained that the contractor has been working on the lights; however, the problem apparently stemmed from a bundle of wires accidentally being cut, thus, matching numerous wires is the reason why repairs are taking so long.  He added that the contractor has informed staff that repairs would hopefully be completed by the end of the week.

·         Brought up the subject of graffiti and questioned if the new graffiti truck has proven sufficient to address the graffiti problem in the community.

Director Creighton updated the Council on the new unit and said the truck was working very well.  He noted that painting tasks that used to take hours have been reduced to minutes.

·         Referred to an article in the newspaper that stated the Council was not in favor of hiring a Code Enforcement Officer.  He noted for the record that he supports filling the position.

Council Member Soria

·         Reported on a conference he and City Manager Warne attended. He said that City Manager Warne managed to obtain $200,000 in funding.

City Manager Warne commented that there were other people involved and further discussion will be held because this item is on tonight’s agenda.

            Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram

·         Stated that he agreed with Council Member Vierra about a Code Enforcement Officer.  He noted that citizens having been asking for the City to hire someone to enforce the City Codes for the last six years.

·         Commented that he has talked to some citizens regarding the house that was moved in on Second Street that is in a deteriorated state and if the owner does not want to cooperate then maybe the City should do the work and bill him.

·         Commented that something definitely needs to be done about the traffic lights on Winton Parkway because the traffic is terrible in the mornings.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

·         Commented that Chief Eldridge has been working on a video surveillance camera system and would like to make a presentation at the next Council meeting.  He requested that the presentation be posted as a Public Notice so that all residents can be informed.

Council Member Vierra also commented on yesterday’s Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) meeting.  He felt that everyone, including the County, should have one vote.

For the benefit of the public, Mayor Samra explained the purpose of MCAG.  He added there is concern that there are 11 members and Merced County has 5 votes.

The cities that make up MCAG are unhappy that the County gets 5 votes and each city only gets one vote for a total of 6.

Council Member Vierra favored each jurisdiction having one vote.

City Manager Richard Warne commented that he looked over the budget for the County bus system and has some concerns.

Council Member Soria also was in favor of one vote for each jurisdiction.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram wanted to stand united on this issue and also favored one vote for one jurisdiction.

Chief Eldridge commented on the Every 15 Minutes demonstration that took place on May 10th and 11th and said he would like to bring in the tape of the event for Council review.

Chief Eldridge also spoke about the latest Police project, “Click it or Ticket” that pertains to the wearing of seat belts while driving.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

Mary-Michal Rawling, Program Manager for the Merced/Mariposa County Asthma Coalition, addressed the Council and noted the coalition is working with the schools on some programs about asthma in the Valley.  She noted the last Council Meeting had a presentation about the Ozone Plan for the Air Pollution Control District.  At a hearing on the plan, there were about 100 people who spoke about the plan and they didn’t support it.  Also the CAC didn’t support the plan.  There were other options.  She would like to correct the statement regarding the June 15th deadline.  Asthma in the San Joaquin Valley is very serious.  The Air Pollution Control District needs money to clear the air.  Ms. Michal Rawling also talked about the black box provision.  

Melissa Ortega stated she is also involved in the Coalition and wanted to help give a clear picture.  She gave a hand out for the Council to review.  Mary Michal-Rawling highly recommended that when the Air Pollution Control District does come around selling their black box provision, not to buy into it.

Kaye Greeley, 1571 Monte Cristo Way, made the following comments:

“I am very disappointed that the issue of Code Enforcer was not added to your agenda as requested by the CAC at your last meeting.

 Even a part time enforcer would be better than none at all.  There would be plenty of work for a full time person but we could begin with part time to start.

The CAC voted unanimously on this issue.  We hear from our constituents on the issues facing our city and we bring them to you for review & action.  Are you listening to the citizens council members or do you think that only your issues are of value?

The CAC will be doing some further research on ths matter and will bring it back to you next meeting.

As councilmen you work for the Citizens of Livingston, not the other way around.  Thank you for you for your attention.”

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, also was in favor of a Code Enforcement person.  He then directed a question to Chief Eldridge.  Mr. Torres said he had a resident tell him that the Neighborhood Visit BBQ should take place on the other side of town and asked when this would happen.

Peggy Gipson, 2265 Johannisburg Drive, commented that Chief Eldridge invited the Council to the last Neighborhood Visit and not one of the Council Members showed up.  

PUBLIC HEARINGS  

None. 

CONSENT CALENDAR  

Motion:  M/S Vierra/Ingram to approve the following Consent Calendar items.  The motion carried 5-0.  

2.   Approval of Minutes of City Council Meeting Held on May 1, 2007, as amended.

3. Approval of Warrant Register Dated May 8, 2007.

4.      Resolution No. 2007-21, Approving a Lot Merger for the City Hall Expansion Project.  

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

      5.   Discussion and Potential Action on Valley Atwater Schelby School.

Council Member Soria wanted to note for the record that he was not in agreement with this particular school being built on the proposed site because of safety concerns for students attending Schelby School.

Council Member Vierra brought up three points regarding Valley School: 1) the school should not include the name Atwater as Livingston is not Atwater; 2) the location of school; and 3) safety concerns for students attending Schelby School.     

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that staff should send a letter to the Merced County Office of Education letting them know why the Council is not in favor of the school being built at this location. 

Brandon Friesen, 909 Opal Court, commented that the reasons given against the project are good reasons.  He noted that with the City’s Sphere of Influence moving over to that area, the Council needs to know what will be built out in that direction.  He added that there are environmental issues, including the lack of a sewer connection and if approved, the school’s problems will become the City’s problems. 

Mitsue Takahashi, a resident of Sultana Drive, commented that she resides directly in front of the proposed project.  She thanked the Council for looking into all aspects of the project, including the sewer system, lighting, water, etc.  Ms. Takahashi said all of her neighbors were opposed to the school, not for the construction of the school, but the location.

Mike Torres asked why Valley School students can’t continue to attend school at St. Jude’s while the new school is being built. 

Council Member Vierra commented that the newspaper indicated the Merced County Office of Education will be putting in portables and perhaps Fr. Fonseca didn’t want portables on church property.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that Stevinson Ranch has septic tanks.  They are building beautiful ranchette homes and the water is contaminated.  He said schools and restaurants have to use bottled water.

Denis Wells said he was glad that these issues are being addressed, but feels the Council should write a letter to our legislators.  The legal aspect of this project needs to be addressed, he noted.

Dan Gendiver, a resident of Arena Way stated that basically Mr. Andersen, Superintendent of the MCOE, does not want to renew the lease because he has obtained state funds and wants to build his own facility.

Chief thanked the Council for really looking at this issue. He felt that MCOE staff gave a very poor presentation of the project. 

Mayor Samra commented that he will be meeting with Mr. Andersen and will state the City’s position on this project.  He also invited Council Member Vierra to attend this meeting.  Mayor Samra asked if the City should still write a letter to the State to complain that cities do not have the ability to review new schools.

Council member Soria felt the City should send a letter because it’s always better to put things in writing.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram suggested that the City have a petition prepared and place it on the front counter of City Hall so that residents can sign.  He added that when the Mayor meets with Mr. Andersen he can submit the petition to him.

Mayor Samra directed the City Manager to send out letters to all legislators at the state level.

City Manager Warne suggested that letters also be sent to the agency who is dealing with this project.

Motion:  M/S Ingram/Vierra to authorize staff to send out letters to state legislators regarding the project.  The motion carried 5-0.                      

6.   Award of a Construction Contract for the Proposition 13 Water Line and Alleyway Paving Improvement Project.

City Engineer Gottiparthy presented the agenda item and presented a summary of bids received for this project.

Council Member Soria said he had no questions and wanted to move forward with this project.

Council Member Espinoza commented that residents have been struggling with this water issue for a long time, therefore, he wanted this project to move forward.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram stated that this is a project that is needed and the first step is to do what the citizens have been asking for and that is to proceed with the project.

Brandon Friesen provided some history on this project and said it’s a good project and should be done.  He noted the project should have gone through some time ago.

Mr. Friesen expressed concern that the project did not go back to Council to determine

if sufficient funds were available to complete the full project as originally approved.  He stated that the decision to only pave certain alleys was made without public knowledge and felt the Brown Act has been violated by the Council.  Mr. Friesen further elaborated on the project.  He asked that a statement he had written and given to the City Clerk be incorporated in the Minutes by reference. 

Mike Torres commented that this was his question too.  He has attended all meetings and he doesn’t know what alleys will be paved.  He also commented that the alley behind the Livingston Medical Clinic is in poor condition and all the alleys in his area have dirty water.

Council Member Vierra commented that he was approached back in April of 2006 on

this issue and feels that all the alleys should be paved, the roads too, and there should be money left.  He added that the City is now working on a new budget and the price of everything the City does keeps going up.  His concern is why is the project now in pieces when the City should be constructing the entire project.

Council Member Soria asked the City Attorney if there is a Brown Act concern according to what Brandon Friesen said tonight.  He further asked if the Council took action would it be okay.

City Attorney Hallinan replied yes, legally, unless there is something that he is not aware of.  He noted the meeting was properly noticed.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that the City went out to bid and the contractor was going to sue the City.  Then he heard that there was no money to pave all the alleys and he was told that only the alleys that were in the most need would be paved, one being behind the medical clinic and another behind the Court Theater.

Council Member Espinoza asked City Manager Warne if funds were included in the budget to have this project done. 

City Manager Warne replied yes, the money was in the budget to pave all the alleys, but not streets too.  He added that the revised  project was properly noticed.

Councilmember Espinoza commented that when he was running for office, that many concerns were brought up to him about needed street repairs.

Further discussion followed.

Motion:  M/S Soria/Ingram to adopt Resolution No. 2007-22, awarding a Construction Contract for the Proposition 13 Waterline and Alleyway Paving Project to Preston Pipelines, Inc. and authorizing the City Manager to execute a Construction Contract.

The motion carried 4-1-0, by the following vote:

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

NOES:                        Council Members:       Vierra

ABSTAIN:     Council Members:       None

ABSENT:       Council Members:       None

7.      Resolution Approving $543,000 for Environmental Studies for (1) Widening of Highway 99 from the Stanislaus County Line Through Livingston and (2) Improvements for the Winton Parkway and Hammatt Avenue Interchanges.

Council Member Soria reported on this item and spoke about his meeting with State Senator, Jeff Denham.

The full Council was in agreement and felt the City should approve the expenditure of funds to complete the environmental studies for the projects.

      Council Member Soria noted that there was no need to hire a lobbyist because staff did a great job of obtaining funding for the projects.

      Mayor Samra thanked all Council Members who worked on this project.

      Motion:  M/S Ingram/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2007-23, approving $543,000 for Environmental Studies for (1) widening of Highway 99 from the Stanislaus County Line through Livingston, and (2) improvements for the inton Parkway and Hammatt Avenue Interchanges.  The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

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

      NOES:                        Council Members:       None

      ABSTAIN:     Council Members:       None

      ABSENT:       Council Members:       None

8.   Discussion and Potential Action on Soccer Field Rentals.

The agenda item was presented by Council Member Soria.  He then asked Leo Pulido to come up to the podium.  

Leo Pulido thanked the Council for including this item on the agenda.  He spoke about his years of coaching soccer and the competitive traveling team.  Mr. Pulido asked the Council if they could waive the fees for use of the soccer field.  He said this is the first year that they have a traveling team and there are a lot of expenses that the parents have to pay for.  Mr. Pulido added that they plan to conduct fund raising events to help defray expenses.

Council Member Soria proposed to waive the fees for the use of the soccer field and added there are six games in the spring and the fall.

Jim Olivera  commented  that they don’t determine the schedule, but it depends on how many teams will be involved.  Currently there are four teams.  He added that there is a lot of talent from soccer participants and the program is to keep the kids off the streets and provide an avenue for the kids to demonstrate their talent. 

      Mayor asked how many games are conducted in one year.

Mr. Pulido said it was difficult to determine because they don’t know how many teams will sign up.  He asked if they were allowed to use the snack bar to bring in additional funds.

      Council Member Soria felt the City should be helping the with the soccer program.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that there is nothing that he wouldn’t do for the kids, but everything that is built in Livingston is for the kids in Livingston.  He commented that he appreciates and admires them for what they do.

      Council Member Espinoza felt the soccer program is good for the community.

Peggy Gipson commented that she has nine grandchildren and doesn’t feel the City should be responsible for the soccer program.  She noted that there are enough citizens that are willing to donate to the program.  Ms. Gipson added that if the City agrees to waive the fees, the City will be liable.  In addition, she said, there is the matter of field maintenance for this program.  She further commented that the kids should be under the Recreation Department and this will be covered on the insurance.

Juan Pulido, a resident of Joseph Street, commented that basically the program is to keep the kids off the street.  He noted that they asked for donations from local businesses, but they were told they did not have the money to donate to the program, thus, the reason they were here tonight asking for a waiver of fees.  He added that soccer coaches are putting in money out of their own pockets.

Brandon Friesen said he will pay for the 12 games which comes out to a total of $360.00.

He offered them $400 to get started. 

      It was noted that Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram left the meeting at 9:12 p.m.

Mr. Friesen stated this is a great program, but felt the City should not waive fees.  He said he would like to see this program up and going like Pop Warner football.

It was noted that they named the competitive teams “Lobo or Lobita” which means wolves like the Livingston High School mascot.  

      Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram returned to the meeting at 9:16 p.m.        

Council Member Soria said that he will also donate $200, Leticia Soto $500, Gilberto Reyes $400 and Mayor Samra $200, for a total of $1,600. 

           Chief Eldridge also donated $500, bringing the total to 2,100 in donations from the Public.

            Leo Pulido thanked everyone for their donation and said he didn’t expect to receive any donations tonight.

9.   Introduce and Waive the First Reading of An Ordinance Adopting a Description of the Livingston Community Redevelopment Agency’s Program for the Acquisition of Real Property by Eminent Domain in Conformance with the Requirements of California Health and Safety Code Section 33342.7.

City Manager Warne presented this item and asked that the Council waive the first reading of the proposed Ordinance.

Council Member Espinoza abstained and left the Council Chambers due to a conflict of interest.

Motion:  M/S Ingram/Soria to introduce and waive the first reading of Ordinance No. 559, an Ordinance Adopting a Description of the Livingston Community Redevelopment Agency’s Program for the Acquisition of Real Property by Eminent Domain in Conformance with the Requirements of California Health and Safety Code Section 33342.7.  The motion carried 4-0-1 as follows:

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

NOES:                        Council Members:       None

ABSTAIN:     Council Members:       Espinoza

ABSENT:       Council Members:       None 

      City Manager Announcements and Reports.

      No announcements or reports.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:27 p.m.

                                                                                    _____________________________

City Clerk of the City of Livingston

ADOPTED:  June 5, 2007

 Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

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