MARCH 17, 2009



MARCH 17, 2009 



A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on March 17, 2009, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Varela presiding.


CLOSED SESSION                                          




Mayor Varela opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m.




   Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

   Mayor Pro-Tem Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Frank Vierra

   Council Member Margarita Aguilar

   Council Member Martha Nateras


Also present were City Manager Warne, Assistant City Manager Lewis and City Attorney Subramanian.  Community Development Director Donna Kenney was present for the first session.


The Council went into Closed Session at 6:31 p.m. to discuss the following matters:


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

Property:  APN: 047-180-031.

Negotiating Parties:  City Manager.

Under Negotiation:  Price, Terms of Payment.


2.      Non-Management Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.   


The Closed Session ended at 6:55 p.m.




The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 6:58 p.m.




Mayor Varela called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.




The pledge of allegiance to the flag was led by Rafael Hernandez.




   Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

   Mayor Pro-Tem Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Frank Vierra

   Council Member Margarita Aguilar

   Council Member Martha Nateras




There was no action taken.




Mayor Varela requested that Item #6 on the consent calendar be pulled for discussion.




1.     Special Recognition – Logan Friesen.


Mayor Varela presented Logan Friesen with a Certificate of Recognition for winning the Merced County Speech Contest.  Logan recited his contest speech.


2.     Presentation – Merced County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention.


Director Chris Jensen from Merced County Friday Night Live Partnership and a group of middle school and high school students gave a presentation on the opposition to the removal of the courtside ban by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on advertisement of liquor.  The group will be circulating a petition to reinstate the ban on courtside advertising of liquor.  The group feels this advertising is targeting youth and will encourage young people to drink.



3.     Special Recognition – Grace Nursing Home.


Mayor Varela presented a Certificate of Recognition to Grace Nursing Home.  Siena Wald, Administrator, accepted the award on behalf of Grace Nursing Home and commended the staff of the facility.


4.     Presentation – Frontier Communications.


Denise Spears discussed the expanded services that will be available to residents of the community.  She thanked the Mayor and City Council for the opportunity to give her presentation.


5.     Appointment of Mayor Pro-Tempore.


Mayor Varela explained that the City Council had voted 5-0 after the last election to appoint Rodrigo Espinoza as Mayor Pro-Tempore in a sign of unity.  Mayor Varela explained that Rodrigo Espinoza resigned as the Mayor Pro-Tempore at the regular meeting of March 3, 2009.  Mayor Varela read a letter later submitted by Mr. Espinoza, withdrawing his resignation.  Mayor Varela stated that the decision regarding the Mayor Pro-Tempore was up to the City Council.  Mayor Varela made motion for Frank Vierra to be appointed as Mayor Pro-Tempore.  The motion was seconded by Council Member Nateras and carried 4-1, with Council Member Aguilar voting no. 




     Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.


     Administrative Assistant Juan Corona provided the following information:


·        Reminded the public that he is available at City Hall the second and fourth Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to address citizen concerns.


·        Reported a high speed rail scoping meeting will be held at the Senior Center in Merced on March 18, with a drop-in forum from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  He stated that a video will provide high speed rail information.  He encouraged support for the high speed rail project and asked anyone requiring further information to call him at 385-7366.        


     City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.


     Council Member Aguilar


·        Commented that she attended the Livingston Community Network barbecue.  She suggested posting flyers in the parks to get information to the public on similar activities.  City Manager Warne said the Court Theater has a marquee where activities of this type can be advertised.  He said it is difficult to post information in the parks due to vandalism that can occur.


     Council Member Espinoza


·        Reported an excess number of cats in his neighborhood and asked if Animal Control could assist with this problem.  Police Chief Eldridge explained that cat cages are available on request.


     Council Member Nateras


·        Reported that she attended a unity prayer gathering at Memorial Park on March 9 and commended Mayor Varela for organizing the event.


·        Commented that teams are still needed for the Relay for Life to be held at the Livingston High School track May 16-17.


     Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra


·        Reported on his attendance at the Central Valley Division League of California Cities quarterly dinner meeting which included discussion on what the League can offer to the cities.


·        He thanked the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for planting ice plant on Emerald Drive along the canal bank.


Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra commented that the Livingston High School Key Club and the Atwater-Winton Kiwanis Club are planning a project for Livingston in the near future.


     Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.


·        Commented that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints planted ice plant along Emerald Drive and asked City Manager Warne to explain how the project came about.  City Manager Warne said that 45 people from the church came out on March 16 to plant the ice plant.  The church does not have a chapel in Livingston, but has many members in the community.  He said the members of the church wanted to give back to the community through their service.


·        Thanked everyone who attended the March 9 community prayer service.  He said about 100 people attended.


·        Reported that he and members of City staff attended a Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce mixer on March 11.


·        Reported that he and City staff and some Council Members met for a “meet and greet” session with the new CEO at Foster Farms on March 12.


·        Stated that he met with Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani at the League of California Cities quarterly dinner meeting.  He stated that he discussed City issues with her.



·        Commented that he will meet with concerned parents tomorrow in support of a skateboard park.  He explained that this process is a good experience for youth to participate and learn how the process works in planning for the future.


·        Will attend a Leadership Conference in Modesto made up of civic leaders.


·        Reported that a Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) board meeting will be held on Thursday.


·        Reported that on Friday he received calls from people requesting to meet with the Mayor and City staff to obtain information regarding special assessments.  He thanked City staff for being responsive and providing the information.


·        Stated that a home foreclosure workshop will be held at the Community Center on March 26-27.


·        Commented that a Town Hall Meeting will be held on March 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers to discuss and receive public input regarding the proposed water, sewer and garbage rate increases.  He said the consultant will be available to answer questions.  City Manager Warne encouraged the public to attend the meeting.


·        Reported that a meeting of the Livingston Interfaith Council will meet at Emmanuel Baptist Church on March 19 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss how to feed the needy and help people struggling during these difficult economic times.








Katherine Schell- Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston made the following statement:  “I want to talk a little bit tonight about shoes, proverbs, faith and reason.  Most of you are familiar with some form of proverbial sayings.  Those concise little phrases that pack a whole lot of truth in just a few little words.  From modern science fiction, pop culture, and politics, to the most ancient of sacred writings.  Our human experience has been encapsulated into little nuggets of wisdom such as faith and reason are the shoes on your feet.  You can travel further with the two

than on one.  Wine and cheese improve with age, bad news doesn’t.  Pure democracy is like three wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner.  Well, human nature hasn’t seemed to have changed much over the past couple thousand years or so.  People still fuss, feud, fight and kvetch over even the most trivial of things.  No matter what your religious or philosophical affiliation, I think we all might get something out of a few of these fine old Jewish Proverbs.  A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16).  Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18).  Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice (Proverbs 13:10).  I could go on, but instead I will close with this last comment on shoes, proverbs and such.  If the shoe fits, wear it.  If it don’t apply, pass it on by.”


JoAnne Myers, Chairperson for the Court Theater Committee, thanked the Council and staff for their assistance.  She noted there is progress being made with the theater project.  She stated that a wine and cheese fundraiser will be held at the Veterans’ of Foreign Wars Hall on April 19 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Tickets are $30 for the event which will include a silent auction.  Ms. Myers noted that the Court Theater Committee meets the third Monday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at City Hall.  If anyone has questions she asked them to call her at 394-7456.


Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, spoke about the undergrounding of the canal by Livingston High School and asked if the project will impact the City’s well site.  City Manager Warne explained that the City is coordinating this project with the Merced Union High School District.  Mr. Torres expressed concern regarding safety issues.  Mayor Varela commented that he and the City Manager and City Engineer will visit the site tomorrow. 


Mr. Torres asked if interpreters will be available at the Town Hall meeting on March 26.  Mayor Varela noted that accommodations will be made.




     The City Council considered the following consent agenda items: 


     6.  Approval of Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2009/2010.


          Mayor Varela pulled this item from the agenda for further discussion.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra presented the item and asked MCAG Executive Director Jesse Brown to provide an overview.  Mr. Brown described the work of MCAG and explained how the money from local governments benefits the area.


          Motion:  M/S Varela/Espinoza to approve the Merced County Association of Governments Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2009/2010.  The motion carried 5-0.


     7.  Resolution No. 2009-8 Requiring Majority Vote of the Total Membership of the City Council to Approve Contracts that Will Result in the Future Payment of Money.


     8.  Resolution 2009-9 Declaring that the City of Livingston Operates under the Federal National Incident Management System (N.I.M.S.) Program for the Management of all Major Emergencies.


     9.  Resolution No. 2009-10 to Adopt Amendment to City of Livingston’s Flexible Benefit Plan.


10.         Agreement between the City of Livingston and Merced County for 800 mhz Police Communication Services.


11.         Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 3, 2009.


12.                        Approval of Warrant Register Dated March 11, 2009. 


Motion:  M/S Varela/Vierra to approve consent agenda items 7-12.  The motion carried 5-0.




13.         Purchase of Police Protective Vests with Matching Grant from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bullet Proof Vest Program (BVP).


Police Chief Eldridge gave an overview of the request to purchase police protective vests and how the funding works.  There is a required 50% match by the City for the grant.


Motion:  M/S Nateras/Vierra to approve the purchase of Police protective vests with matching grant from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bullet Proof Vest Program (BVP).  The motion carried 5-0.


14.         Travel Allowances and Business Expenses Reimbursement Policies and Procedures.


City Manager Warne presented and explained the policies and procedures for travel allowances and business expenses reimbursement.  He said that the City Council had requested an amendment to the Travel Policy at its recent training that would outline the obligations of a City official that has to cancel his or her trip after travel and registration arrangement have been made.


Motion:  M/S Vierra/Nateras to approve the Travel Allowance and Business Expenses Reimbursement Polices and Procedures.  The motion carried 5-0.


15.                        City Manager Announcements and Reports.





The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:38 p.m.



                                                                    City Clerk of the City of Livingston



APPROVED:  April 7, 2009





 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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