August 19, 2008





AUGUST 19, 2008





A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on August 19, 2008, in the City Council Chambers.  Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram presided at the meeting in the absence of Mayor Samra.




Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram opened the meeting at 6:33 p.m.




   Mayor Gurpal Samra (Excused Absence)

   Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

   Council Member Frank Vierra

   Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Roy Soria


Also in attendance were City Manager Warne and City Attorney Subramanian.


The Council went into Closed Session at 6:34 p.m. for the following matter:


1.     Conference with Legal Counsel—Anticipated Litigation.  Significant Exposure to Litigation.  Government Code Section 54956.9(b):  2 cases.


The Closed Session ended at 6:42 p.m.




The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 6:43 p.m.




Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.




The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.




   Mayor Gurpal Samra (Excused Absence)

   Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

   Council Member Frank Vierra

   Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Roy Soria




The Mayor announced that during Closed Session:


1.     The City Council voted 4-0 to reject a claim for damages against the City.


          2.  The City Council voted 4-0 to join the City of Anaheim on the pending medical marijuana case before the State Supreme Court.  There is no cost to the City to add its name to the case.








1.     Appointment to Citizens’ Advisory Committee.


Staff reported that two applications were received by the deadline of July 25 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Kathy Hunter-Kirihara.  The applications were from Rosa Kindred-Winzer and Luna Jamero.


Motion:  M/S Soria/Vierra to appoint Rosa Kindred-Winzer to the Citizens’ Advisory Committee.  The motion carried 4-0.                  




     Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.


     Administrative Assistant Juan Corona made the following comments:


·        Asked if there would be a City Council meeting held on September 2.

·        He has received numerous complaints about the Livingston branch library.  He is still working on the lights and the flag pole.

·        Spoke about Operation Lifesaver.

·        Reminded everyone of his office hours at City Hall.

·        Plans to attend the Multicultural Festival in Livingston in August. 


City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.


Council Member Vierra


·        Thanked Supervisor Pedrozo for responding to calls from the citizens.

·        Commented on houses that are in foreclosure and asked if vacant homes could be

checked for swimming pools as he is concerned about mosquitoes.


City Attorney Subramanian commented that staff cannot enter private property

without permission.


Council Member Vierra said he has read in the newspaper that other cities are working on the same issues.


City Attorney Subramanian will do some research.


Council Member Espinoza


·        As a member of the Livingston Community Network Committee, he invited everyone to the Multicultural Festival on August 31 at Memorial Park from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m.

·        Commented on the streets that are being marked for repair.


Council Member Soria


·        Commented on the many homes that are in foreclosure and the appearance of the yards that are dry and a fire hazard.


Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram


·        No reports.


Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.


·        Absent.










Marge McFadden, 1423 First Street, commented that she is a member of the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District Board and that if anyone has a problem she welcomes their concerns.  She said that there have been no reports of West Nile Disease in Merced County, but five cases have been reported in Stanislaus County.


Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, referred to the comments made on the landscaping of foreclosed homes and mosquitoes and noted that a Code Enforcement Officer could handle these concerns.


Mr. Torres commented on the City sign ordinance and asked why Council Member Soria has a campaign sign posted in public areas at B Street and Winton Parkway.


City Manager Warne commented that staff would follow-up and check on the sign.


Warren Umberg, 1331 Eighth Street, made the following comments:


1.     Asked if the City Council has seen a memorandum that was sent to him dated June 16, 2008, by City Manager Warne.  He commented that the names of the City Council members were not listed.

2.     Asked for a copy of a CD from the May 6, 2008 City Council meeting, concerning his comment about the City Manager’s 4-1 contract.  

3.     Requested a copy of the Citizen Comments portion of the Minutes from the January 15, 2008, meeting regarding water rates.

4.     Asked about the cost of improvements for the new City Council Chambers and if any of the work went out to bid.


Judy Blevins, P.O. Box 804, Livingston, read a letter from Colette Alvernaz elaborating on why the City needs to pull its application from the State Water Board 2008/2009 Project Priority List for State Revolving Fund Program.


Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, made the following comments:


1.     Just because a person doesn’t come to City Hall during business hours and can’t attend Council meetings doesn’t mean they don’t care.

2.     Commented on the letter from Colette Alvernaz that she sent to be read at the last City Council meeting.  The letter was not read under public comments.  She added that the voice on paper should be heard and whether or not a person is sick, the person’s request should not be denied.


City Attorney Subramanian commented that generally a letter is not read by City staff.  If a citizen wishes to have someone else read a letter this would be more appropriate.


The public comment period closed at 7:37 p.m.




The following items under the consent calendar were presented for City Council consideration:


1.     Approval of City Fiscal Year 2008-2009 Budget.


The item was pulled for discussion by Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram.


2.     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 (Resolution 2008-49).


3.     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 Supervisory Employees Association (Resolution No. 2008-50).


     4.  Denial of Claim for Damages from Maria Vasquez.


5.     Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 14, 2008.


6.     Approval of Minutes of City Council Meeting Held on August 5, 2008.


Motion:  M/S Espinoza/Vierra to approve the Consent Calendar items with the exception of Item #2.  The motion carried 4-0.


ITEM #2 


Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram stated that as pointed out by Mr. Torres, he did request that a workshop be held on the budget because he felt it was needed.  He wants it noted that he supports a policy that any expenditure or transfer of $5,000 or larger be presented to the City Council for approval.


City Manager Warne asked Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis to provide an explanation of what is in place now.  He stated that the City Council sets the number of employees and approves all major capital projects in the annual budget.  Staff does not add employees or commence major projects without bidding or City Council approval.  He gave several recent examples of City Council approval in accordance with his policy.  A lengthy discussion followed.


Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram repeated that he wants it to be a condition that any time the City spends $5,000 or more, the expenditure is brought to the City Council for approval. 


City Manager Warne commented that the City’s daily business would slow or be brought to a standstill while waiting for a City Council meeting.




Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram subsequently made a motion that the City Manager cannot approve any expenditure over $10,000 without City Council approval.  The motion was seconded by Council Member Espinoza.  The motion failed to carry by a vote of 2-2.  Council Members Soria and Vierra voted no.


Council Member Soria commented that the Council is keeping the City Manager from running the City.  He understands where Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram is going with this.


Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram said he understand where Council Member Soria is coming from; however, this is a City government and there needs to be a check and balance system.


City Manager Warne commented that the suggestion that staff is spending money without any constraints or without the City Council’s knowledge could not be further from the truth.  He feels that he and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis are being penalized for things that were done before they were hired by the City. 


Council Member Vierra explained why he voted the way he did.  There are Council Members here tonight that are questioning why projects are not moving faster than they are.  Then they want to slow things down by wanting to approve every small item at a City Council meeting.  He questioned why the Mayor isn’t present tonight, especially when the budget is being voted on and important questions are being raised.


Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis commented that it was very frustrating and difficult for staff to do their jobs when they are being criticized by people who don’t know what it going on or take the time to come to City Hall to ask their questions.  People gossip instead of coming to City Hall and finding out the facts.


The item was opened for public comment at 8:15 p.m.


Mike Torres stated that this is just a check and balance.  He doesn’t know why Ms. Lewis is talking about gossip. There are only a few people present tonight.  He trusts both City Manager Warne and Ms. Lewis.  He commented that no one is pointing fingers. This is our City and it is our right to have a check and balance system.    


Katherine Schell Rodriguez stated that whenever she has asked Vickie Lewis questions she is always willing to explain.


The public comment period closed at 8:20 p.m. 


Council Member Espinoza commented that he didn’t mean for this to be a battle.  He withdrew his motion for a policy change and suggested that this issue could be considered at a later date.  He stated that he thought the budget should be approved this evening.


Motion:  M/S Soria/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2008-51 approving the City Fiscal Year 2008-2009 Budget.  The motion carried 4-0 by the following vote:

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

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Samra




     8.  City Manager Announcements and Reports.


Well #16 is now on line thanks to the efforts of Public Works Water Supervisor Kathryn Reyes.




The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:25 p.m.




                                                              _______________________________               City Clerk of the City of Livingston



APPROVED:  October 7, 2008





 Mayor or Mayor ProTempore





The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the City Council. They do not necessarily reflect all of the comments or dialogue leading up to the action. All meetings are digitally recorded and are an official record of the meeting’s proceedings. Digitally recorded verbatim minutes are available, upon request, and may be obtained at Livingston City Hall.



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