January 15, 2008

 

The following is a transcription of documents on file. My apologies for any errors or “typos”.

 

MEETING MINUTES

CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

JANUARY 15, 2008

 

 

A closed Session/regular Meeting of the Livingston city Council was held on January 15, 2008, in the Veterans’ Memorial Building with Mayor Samra presiding.

 

CLOSED SESSION

 

Mayor Samra opened the meeting at 6:05 p.m.

 

ROLL CALL

 

Mayor Gurpal Samra

Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

Council Member Roy Soria

 

The council went into closed Session to discuss the following matters:

 

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

Property: APN #024-135-005

Negotiating Parties: City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Under Negotiation: Price, Terms of Payment.

 

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

Property: APN #024-134-006

Negotiating Parties: City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Under Negotiation: Price, Terms of Payment.

 

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

Property: APN #024-134-007

Negotiating Parties: City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Under Negotiation: Price, Terms of Payment.

 

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

Property: Director’s Deed # 00801-01-01, # 00802-01-01

Negotiating Parties: City Manager Richard N. Warne.

Under Negotiation: Price, Terms of Payment.

 

5.     Conference with Legal Counsel—Anticipated Litigation. Dignificant Exposure to Litigation. Government Code 54956.9(b). 1 Case.

 

OPEN SESSION

 

The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 6:47 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

 

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

 

CLOSSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

There was no reportable action. The Council gave direction to staff.

 

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

 

1.     Appointment of Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

 

As directed by the Council, staff advertised the vacancy on the Parks and Recreation commission and as of the deadline date received three applications from Katherine Schell, Dennis Moniz and Aurelio Guzman.

 

Motion: M/S Soria/Vierra to appoint Aurelio Guzman to fill the vacancy on the Parks and Recreation commission. The motion carried 5-0.

 

2.     Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) Report.

 

Kaye Greeley, committee Chair, commented that her report is becoming redundant. She added that the CAC has repeatedly asked the council to agendize the position of Code Enforcement Officer without success.

 

Ms. Greeley also commented she heard that the Mayor has said that the council is in the process of hiring a code enforcement Officer. She questioned how this could happen if the matter has not been brought before the Council.

 

Mayor Samra denied the rumor and turned this matter over to the City Manager for comment.

 

City manager Warne clarified that her has not been given direction to hire a Code Enforcement Officer. He stated that he will put this item on the agenda when at least three Council Members in a public meeting vote to do it.

 

Ms. Greeley stated that the City manager needs direction from the Council ant it needs to be done promptly. She added that Bill Ingram was not telling the truth by saying the Council had approved the hiring of a Code Enforcement Officer and that staff was not moving forward on it.

 

There as no direction given to staff and Ms. Greely returned to her seat.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

 

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

 

·        As of last Tuesday, Kathleen Crookham is the new board of Supervisors Chairperson

·        Reported on High Speed Rail meetings and said he will be the Chairperson which is a two year commitment.

·        Caltrans will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sultana Overpass on January 25th.

·        Senator Barbara Boxer attended a meeting in Fresno regarding home foreclosures.

·        First Town Hall meeting will be held at the Livingston community Center on January 17th at 7:00 p.m. He added that Town Hall meetings will be held throughout his District on Thursdays for the next three weeks.

 

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

 

Council Member Espinoza

 

·        No Reports

 

Council Member Vierra

 

·        Thanked everyone for the cards and visits while he was hospitalized after knee surgery and for those who came to his aid by providing food, housekeeping and other assistance.

·        Referred to the MCAG Joint Powers Agreement and noted that two Council Members were absent when this item was approved. He said that he will ask that this item be brought back to Council and will recommend that the City remove itself from participation.

·        Commented that he heard a rumor regarding the City possibly approving the RTIF Agreement. He said this issue should be brought back to the Council and it will be a campaign issue because it will affect Livingston’s commercial development.

 

Council Member Soria

 

·        Wished everyone a Happy New Year.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram

 

·        Also wished everyone a Happy New Year.

 

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

 

Mayor Samra

 

·        Expressed a Happy New Year to all.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

 

3.     Consider Introducing and Waiving the first Reading of an Ordinance Establishing charges and Fees for Water Services in the City of Livingston, and Whether to Phase the Rate Increase in Immediately or Over a Three Year or Five Year Period.

 

City Manager Warne presented the agenda item and recommended that no action be taken tonight. he asked that the Council listen carefully to citizen concerns about the rate increases.

 

City Manager Warne commented that this item was first presented for Council consideration in June 2007.

 

City Manager Warne further commented that water rates have not been increased since 1995. He explained the different options the council may choose from and said the Acting City Attorney would further explain the options, timeframes, and amount of increases.

 

Acting City Attorney Roger Peters explained how the rate increases would take place unless there is written protest. An official protest should be in writing, one protest per residence. All protests must be submitted to the city Clerk before a public hearing is closed. By law, a written protest carries more weight than an oral protest.

 

A slide presentation was given by Dan Bergmann, the consultant hired by the City to analyze the water rates.

 

Mayor Samra opened the Public Hearing at 8:00 p.m.

 

Antonio De Jesus, 941 Opal Court, asked why the city waited 13 years to increase rates. He noted that many residents cannot afford to pay the rate increase.

 

Mayor Samra explained that Council Members come and go and he won’t attempt to explain their actions.

 

Daphne Ritchie, 1543 First Street, commented that since the new housing development on Peach Street was constructed, the water pressure at her home has decreased. She noted that if the city is going to increase her water rate she expects to receive the same quality of water that she had before.

 

Ms. Ritchie further noted that she had purchased her own water meter and was told by a Council Member that she would be reimbursed for the meter. She added that it has been some time and she has heard nothing about being reimbursed. Now the City intends to charge a rental fee on a self-purchased water meter, which doesn’t make sense to her.

 

Jim Marnatti, representing foster Farms, asked that the council postpone making a decision on rates tonight. He commented that in June when the subject was first presented, the Council said they would get feed back from the residents, but they never did.

 

In addition, Mr. Marnatti addressed the subject of the short notice given to consumers that was less than 45 days. He further commented on items foster Farms would like the City to consider. Mr. Marnatti noted that Foster Farms understands that a rate increase is needed and that Foster Farms has submitted its concerns to the city in writing.

 

Colette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 54, Livingston, asked about the water storage tanks that are needed. She questioned if the water storage if for future or present growth. Ms. Alvernaz further asked to receive a quality and quantity report on the City’s water use.

 

Fernando Cortes, 2114 Cardella Court, commented that he is opposed to the rate increase and has submitted a letter to this effect. He stated that he is in charge of his father’s property and at times no one lives on the property, yet he has received bills indicating there has been water usage of over 30,000 gallons. Mr. Cortes added that he has gone to the City to complain and was told there must be a water leakage on the property.

 

City Manager Warne commented he was not aware of the problem, but will direct Public Works director Creighton to look into this matter.

 

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street, commented the he was in favor of the five year plan. He said he doesn’t understand why people are being charged for water meters when he recalled the meters were purchased with grant monies. He realizes that he received a free meter, but now residents are being charged for meters.

 

Mr. Urnberg further asked about the six million gallons in tanks and asked if these are to serve the current population.

 

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, asked if the City has hired new personnel in the Public works Department.

 

City Manager Warne replied the City has hired five part-time employees.

 

Mr. Torres asked if the city raises rates now, can they guarantee that rates won’t be raised in another five years.

 

Mayor Samra commented the Council could not speak for future Council Members.

 

Acting City Attorney Peters explained that under the law, the present council could raise rates, and a future Council would have the right to raise rates to cover costs too.

 

Elias Maldonado, 2901 Blackpine Way, stated he is against the rate increase and he highly recommends that no decision be made tonight.

 

Ramon Avila, 1021 Patzer Street, said he is discouraged to hear that the Council would rather receive a concern in writing than have residents make an effort to be present to voice their concerns. He also commented that during the holidays, he had rusty water. His wife went to the City and she felt staff didn’t listen to her concerns and she was discouraged when she was told to call a certain number to lodge her complaint.

 

Mr. Avila further commented that the City is eager to collect its money for water, but isn’t willing to help residents that have water problems. He has a concern that a rate increase will be a hardship, especially for his neighbors who live on a fixed income.

 

Diann Benafield, 1330 Queen Way, commented there is a water problem even in the new developments; they also have low water pressure. She said her daughter lives in a new home development and gets dirty water. She wants the Council to realize the least money residents have to pay, the better.

 

Katherine Schell, 1149 Ninth Street, commented she is distressed to know that she has to scribble her concerns on a piece of paper in order for them to be legal. She asked if the City is applying for any grants to help with the water situation.

 

City Manager Warne explained that the City has applied for grants.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram stepped out of the Council Chambers at 8:44 p.m. and returned at 8:46 p.m.

 

Eleanor Rodriguez, 1534 Ninth Street, asked if the Council is aware that there is a war going on. She commented the City should repair the old sections of Livingston before anymore new homes are developed.

 

Adam Silva, 1561 First Street, commented the community has good water quality, but low water pressure. He feels that before the Council increases rates the City should improve the water quality.

 

Beatrice Flores, 329 East Avenue, asked if a person paid for their own water meter do they still have to pay a rental fee on the meter. She does not understand why residents have to pay more when the water is not drinkable. Ms. Flores said her house was built in 1971 and has rust in the water. She also feels the City should have a moratorium on new houses.

 

City Manager Warne explained that Prop 13 monies will replace only one-third of water pipes that need replacement.

 

Maria Maldonado, 1545 Fifth (“F) Street, commented she has always had problems with water. She said everytime it rains, her house gets flooded and the City has never helped her with this problem. Mrs. Maldonado also submitted a letter opposing the rate increase.

 

Mayor Samra Closed the Public Hearing at 8:57 p.m., as there were no further comments from the public.

 

Council Member Soria commented that it is not easy to make a decision and that the rate increase will affect many senior citizens who live on fixed incomes. However, he pointed out that rates have not been raised in over 15 years and something needs to be done to pay for necessary improvements.

 

Council Member Vierra commented he doesn’t understand why it took 15 years before considering a rate increase, but he realizes that something needs to be done. He suggested tabling this item to the next meeting.

 

Council Member Espinoza stated the Council will have to make a tough decision, but some type of action needs to be taken.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram stated that everything is going up, gas, etc,: however, he feels the Council needs to raise rate in small/slow increments. He realizes there are many residents, who live on fixed incomes, but action needs to be taken; however at a slower pace.

 

Mayor Samra commented that making a decision is not easy for him and her agrees with all of his colleagues that something needs to happen. He said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue. Mayor Samra added that residents’’ concerns will be answered and he agrees that this item be continued.

 

Motion: M/S Ingram/Soria to continue the Public Hearing to the Council’s regular meeting of February 5, 2008.

 

RECESS

 

The Council took a short break and the meeting resumed at 9:20 p.m.

 

4.     Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 11, Chapter 3, Section 1 (E) of the Livingston Municipal Code: (Motor Vehicles and Traffic, Stopping, Standing or Parking) Relating to Tow Trucks in the City of Livingston.

 

Due to a conflict of interest, Council Member Espinoza left the room during discussion of this item.

 

Police Chief Eldridge presented the item and commented that the parking of tow trucks in residential neighborhoods was not a problem before, but he has received complaints in the last couple of weeks. He clarified that no Council Member has complained, only City staff. Chief Eldridge said he doesn’t want this to be political issue and explained why he recommends that tow trucks be allowed to park in residential areas.

 

Katherine Schell agrees with Chief Eldridge; she does not have a problem with tow trucks parking in her neighborhood because this expedites the response to calls for service.

 

Gilbert Reyes, 1325 Emerald Drive, commented he does have a problem with tow trucks parking next to his home. He noted that he has a problem with Council Member Espinoza,. Mr. Reyes said he parked his RV in front of his home and Mr. Espinoza complained to the Police Department. He added that it is wrong to change the ordinance just for Mr. Espinoza.

 

Mike Torres asked for clarification. He asked if all tow truck companies are on contract with the Police Department and if the ordinance amendment passes, are all of them allowed to park in residential areas.

 

Rigoberto Espinoza, owner of All-Ways Towing, stated he has been parking his tow truck in a residential area for 30 years and there has never been a problem. He commented that he remembers when Shaw’s tow truck used to park on Main Street. Mr. Espinoza said that people should take into consideration that when the Police Department calls, they want the tow trucks to respond quickly. He noted that as of this year tow trucks are considered emergency response vehicles.

 

Warren Urnberg favored the ordinance; however, wondered about the larger tow trucks.

 

Diann Benafield was in support of the ordinance amendment and of Mr. Espinoza parking his tow truck in a residential neighborhood. She also commented on Mr. Reyes’ RV and said his RV was parked on the street for more than 48 hours.

 

Juan Garcia, a part-time driver for All Ways Towing, agrees with Chief Eldridge and commented on the length of a response time once a call came in.

 

Mayor Samra Closed the Public Hearing at 9:37 p.m., there being no further public comments.

 

Council Member Soria commented he could not justify the ordinance amendment. Under the circumstances he feels there is no need because the change will benefit one of the Council Members.

 

Council Member Vierra commented that only one of the three tow truck owners lives in town. He asked Chief Eldridge how the Council can tell citizens that there is an exception to the rule.

 

Chief Eldridge responded the Police Department did not want to get caught in the middle of the politics.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram agrees with Chief Eldridge; however, he doesn’t agree with changing the ordinance for only one person yet feels that tow trucks are emergency response vehicles and an ordinance amendment is warranted.

 

Mayor Samra agrees and recalled when Shaw’s tow truck used to park on Main Street. He said that for 13 years tow truck parking has not been an issue and he was in favor of Chief Eldridge’s recommendation.

 

After further discussion, Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram moved to introduce and waive the first reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 11, Chapter 3, Section 1 (E) of the Livingston Municipal Code: (Motor Vehicles and Traffic, Stopping, Standing or Parking) Relating to Tow Trucks in the City of Livingston. The motion was seconded by Mayor Samra and failed to carry by the following vote:

 

AYES:         Council Members:           Samra, Ingram

NOES:         Council Members:           Soria, Vierra

ABSENT:    Council Members:           None

ABSTAIN:  Council Members:           Espinoza

 

Council Member Espinoza returned to the room to resume participation in the meeting.

 

CITIZEN COMMENTS

 

Warren Urnberg commented that in 2006 the council held a special meeting where they approved a super majority for Mr. Warne’s contract and he doesn’t think its right.

 

Collette Alvernaz requested the Council pull Item #7 from the Consent Calendar. The Council did not.

 

Gerri Martin, 16181 Vinewood Avenue has complaints about the 42” trunk line. She doesn’t understand why it was allowed to be larger than proposed (gave written statement to City Clerk).

 

CONSENT CALENDAR

 

5.     Resolution 2008-1 Accepting the Improvements for the Little Guys Basin Backfill Project, Authorizing the City Clerk to file a Notice of completion with Merced County and Authorizing the City Manager to Release Performance and Materials Bonds and to Make Final Payment of Retention Monies to G.T. Engineering, Inc.

 

6.     Resolution 2008-2 Approving the Annual Local Transportation Fund (LTF) Claim to be filed with the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) for fiscal Year 2007-2008.

 

7.     City of Livingston Response to Grand Jury Report Complaint 06-07-15: city of Livingston Sewer Trunk Line.

 

8.     Denial of claim for Damages from Maria S. Valencia.

 

9.     Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 27, 2007, as amended.

 

10. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 4, 2008.

 

11. Approval of Minutes of City Council Meeting Held on December 4, 2007.

 

Motion: M/S Soria/Ingram to approve the Consent Calendar items including those items that were amended. The motion carried 5-0.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

 

12. Resolution of Intention to Approve an Amendment to the Contract Between the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the City Council of the City of Livingston and Waive the First Reading and Introduce Ordinance No. 554 Authorizing the Amendment to the Contract Between the City of Livingston and the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

 

The item was presented by Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis.

 

Motion: M/S Ingram/Soria to adopt Resolution No. 2008-3, approving an amendment to the contract between the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the City Council of the City of Livingston and introduce and waive the first of Ordinance No. 554 authorizing the amendment to the contract between the City of Livingston and the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. 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

 

13. City Manager Announcements and Reports.

 

·        No announcements or reports

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:15 p.m.

4 thoughts on “January 15, 2008

  1. Pingback: A Brief History of Time (Spent on “Fixing” Water, Waste Water, and Garbage Rates-and other related issues) Part 4— January 2008 through October 2008 « Thegardeningsnail’s Weblog

  2. Pingback: A Brief History of Time (Spent on “Fixing” Water, Waste Water, and Garbage Rates-and other related issues) Part 6— Some Background Information and a Brief Recap of What Happened Between 1995 and June 2009 « Thegardeningsnail's

  3. Pingback: A Brief History of Time About Utility Rates Part 8: A Change of Consultants: An Illegal 42’ Sewer Pipe; and a Special Planning Commission Meeting | Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock…)

  4. Pingback: Salmonella, Arsenic, TCP and Manganese, A Timeline About Water Issues, and a City Council Agenda | Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock...)

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