LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
OCTOBER 2, 2007
A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held in the City Council Chambers on October 2, 2007, with Mayor Samra presiding.
Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 5:32 p.m.
Mayor Gurpal Samra
Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram
Council Member Frank Vierra
Council Member Roy Soria
The Council went into Closed Session at 5:33 p.m. to discuss the following matters:
Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram left the meeting at 5:55 p.m. due to illness.
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: Director’s Deed # 00801-01-01, # 00802-01-01 (4 parcels).
Negotiating Parties: City Manager Richard N. Warne and City Attorney Hallinan.
Under Negotiation: Purchase Price.
5. Conference with Legal Counsel—Anticipated Litigation. Significant Exposure to Litigation. Government Code 54956.9(b). 3 Cases.
The Closed Session ended at 6:13 p.m.
The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 6:14 p.m.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Samra called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance was recited.
Mayor Gurpal Samra
Council Member Frank Vierra
Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza (Excused)
Council Member Roy Soria
CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS
There was no reportable action; the Council gave direction to staff.
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA
At the request of City Manager Warne Items 3 and 17 were removed from the Agenda.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
- Citizens’ Advisory Committee Appointment.
City Manager Warne reported that the vacancy on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee was advertised in the newspaper, posted at City Hall and placed on the City’s website and community cable access channel, but no new applications were received as of the deadline date. However, he noted that the City had three applications on file from a previous recruitment from Pamela Tamez, Barbara Edkin and Vanice Ligons.
Mayor Samra nominated Pamela Tamez to fill the vacancy. The motion was seconded by Council Member Soria and carried 3-0-2.
2. One Voice Presentation – Merced County Association of Governments.
Candice Steelman from the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) gave an
informative presentation on the purpose of One Voice, a coalition of business representatives, elected officials and city and county staff who travel to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to present issues of regional significance to federal and state legislators.
Ms. Steelman elaborated further on One Voice and encouraged everyone to visit the website: \www.mcagov.org. for further information.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
Supervisor Pedrozo made the following reports:
· The High Speed Rail hearings have been extended until possibly December or January.
· The County has extended the hours of its libraries, including the Livingston branch. Commented that the librarian has done an excellent job.
· Will be giving Livingston Rotary $10,000 for a cover for the BBQ pit at Memorial Park.
· He will be getting another assistant. Clarified that John Vang did not get fired, things just didn’t work out with his school and work schedule.
· Attended the LHS Casino Night fundraiser dinner.
· Attended the Community Network Multicultural Festival in Livingston.
Kaye Greeley asked about the Southern Railroad route to the bay area and if it has gone away.
Mr. Pedrozo replied that the valley is competing with northern and southern routes. His preference is the Altamont, the northern route, because less farm land would be impacted.
Pamela Tamez asked Mr. Pedrozo if there is a website where people could look up information.
Council Member Vierra asked if the extended library hours called for new hires.
Mr. Pedrozo said no.
Council Member Soria thanked Supervisor Pedrozo for the $10,000.
Mayor Samra also thanked Supervisor Pedrozo for the $10,000 on behalf of the Rotarians of which five were currently present at the meeting. He also thanked him for attending the Multicultural Festival.
City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.
Council Member Soria
· Complimented the Community Network for the great job they did on the Multicultural Festival.
Council Member Vierra
· Also complimented the Community Network on the Multicultural Festival.
He commented that the day was perfect and it looked like the booths made money.
· Invited the Council, staff and community to the LHS Homecoming Parade and football game on Friday, October 5th.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
· Thanked City staff, Public Works and Police Department for their assistance and efforts at the Multicultural Festival.
Pamela Tamez, 1440 Main Street, thanked the Council and staff for answering her questions regarding the granny quarters being built next to her house. She also commented on how dirty “B”Street, Winton Parkwayand “F” Street are.
Mayor Samra and City Manager Warne said they will send Public Works to take care of the problem the next day.
Warren Umberg, 1331 Eighth Street, commented that when he read that the time for citizens comments was back to five minutes he was glad; however, the Mayor clarified that the time was three minutes and he was disappointed. He recommended the time be set at five minutes as it was in the past.
Peggy Gipson, 2265 Johannisburg Drive, commented that the street sweeper is really not sweeping the streets because there are cars parked on the street. She suggested that there should be a calendar so that the citizens can move their vehicles on scheduled sweeping days.
Nicole Alvernaz read a letter from her mother (gave written comments to City Clerk). Mrs. Alvernaz apologized for not being at the meeting. She wanted to continue with her public comments regarding the incorrect minutes of September 4, 2007. Stated that CEQA was the law. A government agency cannot violate the law. Requested that that Livingston City Council do a full investigation on the minutes to find out where, who, how, why and what is going on. The minutes are a public document and public record. Altering them is serious. If this is intentional it might be a criminal act.
Attorney Mark Mulkerin addressed the public regarding the subject of taking minutes. He stressed that the City Clerk is only taking action minutes. Attorney Mulkerin explained that the City Clerk is not a court transcriptionist nor does she have the manpower to hire someone. He stated the meetings are recorded and the tapes are the official meeting records and the public is welcome to purchase a CD of meeting proceedings at City Hall.
Kaye Greeley, 1571 Monte Cristo Way, commented that the cost of a CD should be less expensive. She feels the cost should be addressed so that CD’s could be affordable for the citizens who wish to purchase them.
Gerri Martin, 16181 Vinewood, questioned the tape recorded minutes. She commented that during the Grand Jury investigation they also commented that the tapes are not very clear.
Jean Okuye, 10029 W. Olive, gave the Council a handout and invited and encouraged the Council to attend the Merced County Farm Bureau meeting. She commented that there are lots of good ideas out there to learn from, instead of trying to invent the wheel.
3. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 2 (Government Organization) Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the Livingston Municipal Code Relating to City Boards, Commissions, Committees, Councils, Foundations and Agencies.
Pulled from the Agenda.
4. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Sections 5-5-3 (2), Mobile Homes Trailers or Boats, and 5-3-16-1 (A) 3 a, Setback Exceptions.
The agenda item was presented by Community Development Director Kenney.
Armando Rios from the Merced County Fire Department was present to answer questions regarding the ordinance and stated he fully agreed with the five foot side setback.
Mayor Samra opened the Public Hearing at 7:44 pm
Pamela Tamez asked how many feet should the setback be from the fence because she is concerned about her fence.
Peggy Gipson commented about the Planning Commission wanting to educate the public and asked Director Kenney who will be enforcing this ordinance.
Community Development Director Donna Kenney replied that she would.
Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, asked about Exhibit A, 55-3. He read a sentence and commented that it should be rewritten or reworded. He also commented that he felt that it shouldn’t be grandfathered in if it is a violation.
Mayor Samra closed the Public Hearing at 7:49 p.m. as there were no further comments from the public.
Council Member Vierra asked Director Kenney if there is a reason why they wanted to permit the tarp type carports.
Director Kenney suggested that the wording be changed from “discourage” to “prohibit” them.
Council Member Soria commented that he was at the Planning Commission meeting and he agrees with Mr. Torres about changing the language.
Attorney Mulkerin suggested that if the changes are minor they can be done, but if not, the ordinance should be brought back for consideration.
Mayor Samra questioned what will happen to the residents who have had un-permitted carports for over ten years.
Council Member Soria commented that no matter what will be decided, the Council is not going to please everyone.
Lengthy discussion followed.
City Manager Warne suggested that everything up to a certain time and date can be kept.
Mayor Samra suggested that they do need to clean this up. Suggested that the residents be educated by announcing it in the water bills
Council Member Vierra commented that no matter what, the Council is not going to please everyone. He feels there has to be education in different languages, but need to decide how long the education period is. He is willing to hear from the citizens, on how long of an education period is needed.
Council Member Soria commented that he agreed with education, but residents come and go. He asked the citizens to present what timeframe they wanted.
Manuel Mercado commented a maximum of 30 days. Do not grandfather them in. What are we going to wait for someone to get burned because of an illegal structure? If you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings, then Mr. Soria shouldn’t be a Council Member.
Further discussion followed.
City Manager Richard Warne suggested 3 options:
· Categorize them Non Conforming Uses, if there are preexisting carports. Then choose the number of years they will depreciate.
· Begin enforcement, but give everyone a certain amount of time to take down their carports.
· Conduct a survey of existing carports and send everyone a letter with a deadline for removal.
Council Member Soria suggested putting a notice in the water bills twice, then 60 days after that, remove them, for a total of 120 days.
City Manager Warne pointed out that the ordinance will have to come back for a second reading.
Council Member Soria made a motion to educate the public put a notice in the water bills twice, plus 60 days. The motion was seconded by Council Member Vierra. The motion failed to carry by a vote of 2-1-2.
Motion: M/S Soria/Vierra to waive the first reading and introduce Ordinance No. 561 amending Sections 5-5-3(2), Mobile Homes Trailers or Boats, and 5-3-16-1(A) 3 a, Setback Exceptions. The motion carried 3-0-2 by the following vote:
AYES: Council Members: Samra, Soria, Vierra
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: Espinoza, Ingram
Motion: M/S Soria/Vierra to approve the following consent calendar items:
5. Resolution No. 2007-46, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving an Amendment to the Current Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Police Officers’ Association.
6. Resolution No. 2007-47, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving and Amendment to the Current Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Clerical Employees Association.
7. Resolution No. 2007-48, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving and Amendment to the Current Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Management/Confidential Employees Association.
8. Resolution No. 2007-49, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving and Amendment to the Current Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Public Works and Parks Employees Unit.
9. Resolution No. 2007-50, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving and Amendment to the Current Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Livingston and the Supervisory Employees Association.
10. Resolution No. 2007-51, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving and Amendment to the Current Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Livingston and the Unrepresented Employees Not Associated With Any City Recognized Bargaining Union.
11. Approval to Hire a Fifth Full-Time Dispatcher in Lieu of Two Part-Time Dispatchers.
12. Approval to Surplus Property and Authorize the City Manager to Direct the Chief of Police to Send Out Notices of Sale to all Police Chiefs in the State of California.
13. Approval to Enter into Contract with Consultant to Prepare Environmental Documents for the Livingston Sports Complex.
14. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 2, 2007.
15. Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 18, 2007.
The motion carried 3-0-2.
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
16. Community Video Camera System Installation Contract Award.
Chief Eldridge presented the agenda item and asked the Council to approve the item and move forward on this much needed project. He further discussed the purpose and use of the video camera system.
Motion: M/S Samra/Soria to approve the proposal by Lockheed Martin Services, Inc. for the Citywide community video camera system and authorize the City Manager to award the contract to Lockheed as the sole contractor for installation of the first phase of the system. The motion carried 3-0-2.
17. City Council Guidance on Water Rates.
This item was removed from the agenda.
18. City Council Guidance on Sales Tax Ballot Initiative for Park Construction.
Council Member Soria commented that he had talked to Leo Pulido regarding having the 1% percent sales tax initiative on the ballot for park construction.
Mr. Pulido commented that he feels the sales tax is a great way to get this for the kids of Livingston. He said that not only will the residents, but anyone who shops here will contribute.
Peggy Gipson commented that she hopes the Council will keep in mind that water rates will be going up too and Livingston residents cannot afford the tax increase.
Mike Torres asked what the difference in the recreation budget is.
City Manger Warne explained what the vision for the future is and that this is a measure that everyone will vote on.
Mike Torres commented that there is currently a tax for the Court Theater and recreation. He noted that perhaps this should be switched around with recreation receiving 75% and the Court Theater, 25%.
Council Member Vierra clarified that this was not a tax, its development impact fees. If there is no building going on, there is no money. This is just an idea if residents want a ½ of a percent or a ¼ of a percent. He explained that there could be a stipulation on how long to collect. This is called a sunset clause.
Gerri Martin commented that she would like to see a cap on the tax.
Manuel Mercado commented that it costs a lot of money to play sports. He talked about raising the taxes and yet they are not able to use the fields. Mr. Mercado noted the Council needs to be realistic and said, ”do you want to take care of the children now, or in the future.”
Mayor Samra asked Mr. Mercado what he would vote for a ½ percent tax or ¼ percent tax.
Mr. Mercado replied that he would not vote for it.
Peggy Gipson commented that she would rather see the City clean up the water system as she is tired of seeing sperm in the water. Lengthy silence followed
Marge McFadden commented that the Council needs to keep in mind that there are a lot of retired citizens in the community that don’t have the finances to pay for a new tax.
Mayor Samra commented he agreed with Mr. Mercado. He is willing to have the people chose. He feels that 1% tax is not going to happen and would like to see both of these items come up on the ballot and have the people decide. Mayor Samra said he is willing to come up with a different percentage and that the money needs to be put into a special fund and not within the regular budget.
Mayor Samra directed the City Manager to check on the cost of placing the initiative on the ballot. He commented that the Council needs to know if rates will be raised and a ball park figure of what the sports complex is going to cost.
Council Member Vierra commented that if we are going to have this we need to have a time limit.
19. City Manager Announcements and Reports.
City Manger Warne clarified that staff has not done anything illegal, as has been alleged. He explained that staff has been under guidance from a City Attorney and no decisions are made without their advice.
The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:52 p.m. _____________________________
City Clerk of the City of Livingston
APPROVED: October 16, 2007
Mayor or Mayor ProTempore