MAY 19, 2009

REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

MAY 19, 2009

 

 

A Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held in the Livingston Veterans’ Memorial Hall on May 19, 2009, with Mayor Varela presiding.

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

Mayor Varela called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

 

ROLL CALL

 

   Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.                      

   Mayor Pro-Tem Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Frank Vierra

   Council Member Margarita Aguilar

   Council Member Martha Nateras (Excused:  She is out of the country)

 

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

 

There were no changes to the agenda.

 

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

 

1.     Presentation:  Allan Inman, Manager, Merced County Mosquito Abatement District.

 

          Mr. Inman gave an overview of the status of the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District.  He said that the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District is not conducting aerial spraying in Livingston for adult mosquitoes due to some pending legal court cases. He gave a detailed report on the pending legal court cases.  He stated that the District is still doing larvacide for larvae and increasing their efforts to reduce standing water.  He said that there have been standing water problems at Foster Farms.  The District trapped 650 mosquitoes on one night at Foster Farms.  He stated that through their efforts they have had a 92% reduction in the number of mosquitoes at Foster Farms.

 

          Mr. Inman noted that the District is focused on the prevention of mosquito problems, and urged the community to report standing water that may be a source of mosquitoes.  He said that there are problems with swimming pools on foreclosed homes.  He provided phone numbers to make reports 1-800-622-3242 or 209-722-1527.  Additionally, Mr. Inman noted that dead birds should be reported to 1-877-968-2743 as they are monitoring for bird flu which is also related to West Nile Virus.

 

          Council Member Espinoza stated there are problems near his home near Foster Farms and Yamato Colony Elementary School.  He also asked Mr. Inman to monitor the drainage ponds.  Mr. Inman said he would do so along with swimming pools.  Council Member Espinoza said that he would be calling Mr. Inman with a list of problem areas.

 

          Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that there was a swimming pool area in the area of Prusso Street that had been a problem in the past.  Mayor Varela noted that Marge McFadden is Livingston’s Mosquito Abatement District Board Member, so questions and concerns can be directed to her.

    

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

 

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

 

·        Mr. Pedrozo commended the Mosquito Abatement District for their hard work and thanked Mr. Inman for his presentation.

 

·        Supervisor Pedrozo reported on the UC graduation event.  He noted the event went well and felt that having First Lady Michelle Obama present put the entire county on the map.

 

·        Supervisor Pedrozo reported that the recent Relay for Life event raised $26,000 and commended the organization for the event.

 

·        Supervisor Pedrozo talked about high speed rail and said they are conducting a review of two companies being considered for a feasibility study.

 

·         Merced County CEO Dee Tatum is planning retirement at the end of December 2009.  The Board of Supervisors is working with a recruiting company to find his replacement.  They anticipate the appointment of a new CEO by September 2009.   The new CEO will shadow Mr. Tatum from October to December.

 

·        Le Grand will be holding their annual community day on Memorial Day.

 

 

 

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

 

          Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

 

·        Mr. Espinoza noted that he attended the UC Merced graduation event and felt it was great exposure for the valley and California.  He said that he saw it broadcast on CNN.

 

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

 

·        Ms. Aguilar reported attending scholarship night at Livingston High School. Seven students received $700 each from the Livingston Community Network. There was a total of approximately $240,000 in scholarship money awarded from all donations.

 

·        Ms. Aguilar noted that she attended the neighborhood visit and it was a good event.  She said the Fire Department was there “blasting out” water.

 

·        Attended the relay for life event. She thanked all the participants. She wished everyone a happy Memorial Day.

 

 Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

 

·        Mr. Vierra reported he worked with the Key Club and Sober Graduation at a yard sale and car wash to raise funds for both organizations.

 

·        Court Theater recently held a successful event.

 

·        Mr. Vierra said a local student who will attend Lewis and Clark University had received a $30,000 scholarship.  Livingston ranked #1 in the district for the last three years on State testing.

 

·        Mr. Vierra thanked everyone for participating in the Relay for Life event.  The total contributions were in excess of $26,000 and funds are still being collected. He thanked Martha Nateras for her efforts.  In addition, Mr. Vierra thanked the fire department for spraying and keeping dust down and commended the youth of the community for the large numbers of participants in the Relay for Life event.

         

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

 

Mayor Daniel Varela

 

·        Mayor Varela reported on the Youth Conference that was held on May 9.  He noted there was good participation.  He thanked the Chief of Police, Supervisor Pedrozo, Superintendent Escobar, Foster Farms, the Local Masons, Jaime Fuentes and many others in the community for donation of prizes, cash and participation. The young kids were touched by the talks by Henry Escobar and Jaime Fuentes.

 

·        Mayor Varela reported he was also involved in the Relay for Life and commended all those who participated.  It was touching to participate in the event and see the people in Livingston get involved in such an important cause.

 

·        Mr. Varela noted that on June 4, 2009, Livingston will have a skate board demonstration by a company from Joplin, Missouri.  The demonstration will be held near Memorial Park and Pentecost Hall.  The street will be closed in order to accommodate the event.  There will be a show and prizes.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

2.      Proceedings under the 1972 Landscape and Lighting Act, California Streets and Highways Code 22500 Et. Seq., for the Approval to Levy Annual Assessments for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District No 1 and Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

 

City Manager Richard Warne stated that representatives from Willdan Financial Services are present tonight to give a presentation.

 

The City currently levies an annual assessment in the Citywide Landscape Maintenance District No.1 to maintain landscape improvements in designated areas in the City.  The Resolution in the attached staff report approves the Engineer’s Report, orders the levy and the assessments, confirms the diagrams for the zones and district for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

 

Mayor Daniel Varela opened the Public Hearing at 7:41 p.m.  There was no public comment.  The Public Hearing was closed at 7:42 p.m.

 

Council Member Espinoza said that this is a regular annual assessment for the landscape areas in the City and anyone with a question can come to City Hall to discuss their assessments.  He said that the landscaped areas are looking good.  City Manager Warne said that there are 26 landscape zones throughout the City and anyone wishing to discuss their assessments (and how they are levied) is welcome to come to City Hall.

 

Council Member Aguilar asked why some areas are not included in the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance District No. 1 map.  City Manager Warne explained that not all properties in the City belong to the landscape and lighting district.  All new development in the City is required to belong to the district as a condition of approval for their development with annual assessments.  The assessments are determined by an annual Engineer’s Report.  Most of the assessments in the 26 zones are adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

 

Mayor Varela concurred that the landscaped areas are well maintained.  He noted that May 17-23 is National Public Works Week, and noted what a good job they do in the community.  City Manager Warne commended Kathryn Reyes for her leadership in Public Works and the great job all the staff are doing with parks and community areas.
Motion: M/S Vierra/Espinoza to approve Resolution 2009-17 for approval to Levy Annual Assessments for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District No. 1 and Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.  Motion carried 4-0 by the following votes:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Vierra, Espinoza, Varela

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Nateras

 

3.      Proceedings under the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982, Government Code Section 54717, Et. Seq., for the Approval to Levy Annual Assessments for the Livingston Benefit Assessment District and Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.         

 

City Manager Richard Warne stated that representatives from Willdan Financial Services are present tonight to give a presentation.

 

The City currently levies and collects annual assessments for the Benefit Assessment Districts for the maintenance and improvement of drainage areas in designated areas of the City.  This Resolution in the attached staff report approves the Engineer’s Report, orders the levy and the assessments, confirms the diagrams for the Livingston Benefit Assessment Districts for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.  Most of the assessments in the 18 Benefit Assessment District zones are adjusted by the Consumer Prince Index (CPI), which was 1.16% last year.

 

Mayor Daniel Varela opened the Public Hearing at 7:52 p.m.


Angelina Torres, 1620 Jantz Avenue, asked if the annual assessments would be added to their property tax bill.  City Manager Warne responded that if the property is located within one of the 18 zones identified, the owners will see the assessment on their property tax bill.  This is in addition to any property tax levied or any special assessment levied in conjunction with a landscape and lighting district.  The City staff is happy to meet with Ms. Torres and talk about her specific assessments.

 

Ms. Torres asked where the Benefit Assessment Districts were located.  City Manager Warne gave her a map from the agenda binder.  Ms. Torres asked if the assessment districts are part of the 2025 General Plan.  City Manager Warne stated that the General Plan has nothing to do with the assessments.

 

Mayor Varela closed the Public Hearing at 7:55 p.m.

 

Mayor Varela stated that a couple of citizens contacted him sometime ago and had a number of questions regarding the special assessments.  He invited them to City Hall and he met with them and staff and answered all of their questions.  The City is available to answer your questions.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said that there are 26 landscape and lighting zones and 19 benefit assessment zones.  Council Member Espinoza said that the City has eliminated the small drainage basins at the Little Guys and Gals Park at the corner of Peach Avenue and Amaretto Way.


Motion M/S Vierra/Aguilar to approve Resolution 2009-18 approving the Engineer’s Report for the Livingston Benefit Assessment Districts and the Levy and Collection of Annual Assessments within such Districts for Fiscal Year 2009/2010 and Confirming Diagrams and Assessments Pursuant to the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982 as provided by Article XIIID of the California Constitution.  The motion carried 4-0 by the following votes:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Espinoza, Varela, Vierra

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Nateras

 

CITIZEN COMMENTS

 

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez gave an analogy of the old children’s cartoon “Super Chicken.”  Ms. Schell-Rodriguez pointed out that often decisions need to be made although difficult.  Some jobs are not for “chickens.”  She noted that there is no magic solution to difficult decisions and sometimes one must simply be brave and not be a “chicken.”

 

Martin Mendoza commented that he didn’t feel there was a lot of money being spent on the Fire Department. In addition Mr. Mendoza asked why City Inspectors were called out when the Fire Department staff were working on the building.

Ricardo Soria expressed concern about the gofer problem at the Soccer Fields at the Sports Complex.  Mr. Soria noted without maintenance the fields will be destroyed.  Mr. Soria asked for direction from the City Council to resolve the problem.

 

City Manager Warne asked Kathryn Reyes, Public Works Supervisor, to address this concern.  Ms. Reyes stated that the City is concerned about the gophers at the Livingston Sports Complex.  The law requires posting a notice before using poison because of the proximity of the child care center.  She said that it is a very long process.  Ms. Reyes also noted that the poison then has to be applied manually.  Additionally, Mr. Soria reported that he had information on alternative methods.  Ms. Reyes invited him to submit the information to Public Works for the City Council to consider.

 

Council Member Espinoza stated that he is concerned about the gophers at the Livingston Sports Complex.  He asked that the problem be addressed.

 

CONSENT CALENDAR

City Manager Warne presented the following consent calendar items for the City Council’s consideration:

 

     4.  Authorize Livingston Police Department to Apply for Grant Funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.

5.     Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on April 21, 2009.

 

6.     Approval of Warrant Register Dated May 13, 2009.

 

Motion: M/S Vierra/Aguilar to approve the consent calendar.  Motion carried 4-0 by the following votes:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Varela, Vierra, Espinoza

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Nateras

 

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS         

 

7.  Introduce and Waive the First Reading of One of the Three Ordinances Relating to Establishing Rates for Water Service Fees.

 

Subitem A–An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Water Service Fees–Scenario 1.

 

Subitem B–An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Water Service Fees–Scenario 2.

 

Subitem C–An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Water Service Fees–Scenario 3.

 

Mayor Daniel Varela turned this portion of the meeting over to the Assistant City Attorney Melanie Donnelly.  She stated, “At the noticed Public Hearings held on the proposed water rate increase on April 21 and May 5, 2009, the City Council heard and considered all written and oral protests to the proposed rate increase. The Council closed the public comment portion of the public hearing on the item, after hearing all speakers present at the May 5th meeting.  Once the public comment portion of a public hearing is closed, no additional written protests or oral comments may be considered by the City Council.  After the close of the public hearing, it was determined that the City did not receive written protests against the proposed water rate increase from a majority of property owners or customers of the identified parcels upon which the rate increases are proposed to be imposed.  The City Council continued the item to today’s meeting for a determination of whether to adopt the proposed water rate increase. Please note that the Council closed the public hearing on this item at its May 5th meeting, no additional public comments may be made on this item tonight.  The City’s inclusion of this item on the agenda tonight is only for the purpose of the consideration and discussion to impose the proposed rate increases to the water service fees.  Please also note that it is not appropriate for the public to speak on this agenda item during public comment, as public comment is only for items not on the City agenda.”

 

Mayor Daniel Varela stated that Council Member Espinoza and a number of citizens had asked that this item be continued to the next meeting due to the state special election being held today.  He also stated that Council Member Nateras is absent this evening and would like to participate in this decision.  He asked for a motion to continue this item due to the absent Council Member.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra asked if the City Council could talk about this issue after they voted to continue this item.  Assistant City Attorney Donnelly said that they could.

 

Council Member Espinoza asked if there could be any more public comment.  Assistant City Attorney Donnelly said that the public hearing was closed by the City Council.

 

Motion: M/S Vierra/Varela to continue this item to the June 2, 2009, meeting.  Motion carried 4-0 by the following votes:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Vierra, Espinoza, Varela

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Nateras

 

Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra said that he would like to clarify issues raised by Mr. Mendoza in his public comments.  He said that if the water rates were not increased in the near future, the City would have to cut the General Fund which includes police, fire and recreation services.  He wishes Mr. Mendoza was here to hear his comments.

 

Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza recommended a public workshop to look at a different scenario for a rate for the economic times.  He says if the City Council does not want to have a workshop, this issue will go on and on.  It is going to seem like we are going to waste more money.  It is the full Council to decide this item together, and include the citizens.  The City Council is not listening to the citizens.  He said that he made it clear that none of the three scenarios presented so far are too hard for him.

Mayor Pro Tem Vierra asked that the Attorney clarify what is required if the City Council wishes to consider another scenario.  It is his understanding that the City would have to start all over if one of these three scenarios is not chosen.  This is State law.  She agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Vierra.  Assistant City Attorney Melanie Donnelly stated that the City Council could not consider another scenario unless they started the process all over again.  The City would have to have a consultant conduct another rate study, and begin the process again.  Notices would have to be sent out for another public hearing and conduct a public hearing.  The public hearing is closed on these three scenarios.  It is not proper now to have a workshop.  This is State law.

 

Council Member Espinoza asked how much money had been spent on the last three meetings for nothing where a decision has not been made.  He said that the City Council is not trying to work together.  Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that the City had to choose one of these scenarios or, according to the law, begin the process again.

 

Council Member Espinoza said that if there are not four votes, the City should send it back and start again.  We could have saved money if we had discussed this item three meetings ago.  He said that the City Council should not spend more money, and start again.  Why not go back and try something else?

 

Mayor Pro Tem Vierra stated that this has already cost $100,000 and you want to spend more money.  Council Member Espinoza we would have saved money if we had discussed this three meetings ago.

 

Mayor Varela said that this item was discussed three meetings ago.  He said that there is a process that must be followed.  The process has got us to this point, and we must make a decision on which option is best for the community and the City.  We have made several attempts to pass one of the options.  But there is a stalemate and to go back and do this all over again will cost us more money that we can imagine.  He felt that the City Council will be in the same spot in the future that they are today, if they have to start all over again.  The options are there and we have had them for four months.  We have received protest letters, but they are insufficient to stop the process.  He said that the City Council needs to make a decision, because if no decision is made, the City Council has failed to do its job.

 

The Assistant City Attorney recommended making a new motion because there had been so much discussion after the last motion.

 

Motion: M/S Varela/Vierra to continue this item to the June 2, 2009, meeting. Motion carried 4-0 by the following votes:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Vierra, Espinoza, Varela

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Nateras

 

8.  Introduce and Waive the First Reading of One of the Three Ordinances Relating to Establishing Rates for Domestic Wastewater Service Fees.

             

Subitem A–Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Domestic Wastewater Service Fees–Scenario 1.

 

Subitem B–Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Domestic Wastewater Service Fees–Scenario 2.

 

Subitem C–Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Domestic Wastewater Service Fees–Scenario 3.

 

Melanie Donnelly stated “At the noticed Public Hearings held on the proposed wastewater rate increase on April 21 and May 5, 2009, the City Council heard and considered all written and oral protests to the proposed rate increase. The Council closed the public comment portion of the public hearing on the item, after hearing all speakers present at the May 5th meeting.  Once the public comment portion of a public hearing is closed, no additional written protests or oral comments may be considered by the City Council.  After the close of the public hearing, it was determined that the City did not receive written protests against the proposed wastewater rate increase from a majority of property owners or customers of the identified parcels upon which the rate increases are proposed to be imposed. The City Council continued the item to today’s meeting for a determination of whether to adopt the proposed wastewater rate increase.  Please note that the Council closed the public hearing on this item at its May 5th meeting, no additional public comments may be made on this item tonight.  The City’s inclusion of this item on the agenda tonight is only for the purpose of the consideration and discussion to impose the proposed rate increases to the wastewater service fees.  Please also note that it is not appropriate for the public to speak on this agenda item during public comment, as public comment is only for items not on the City agenda. We appreciate your cooperation.”

 

Mayor Varela asked if there were comments from the City Council.  None were made.

 

Motion: M/S Vierra/Espinoza to continue this item to the June 2, 2009, meeting. Motion carried 4-0 by the following votes:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Vierra, Espinoza, Varela

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          Nateras

 

9.     City Manager Announcements and Reports.

 

City Manager Richard Warne reported the City has received a grant in the amount of $871,000 from the Federal Highway Administration for sidewalks.  Mr. Warne reported that the City is working through the process and has received the approval to move forward with the engineer’s report.  The project will cover approximately 11,000 lineal feet of sidewalk and anticipate by the fall that the City will be about to go out for bid on the project.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:42 p.m.

 

 

 

                                                                   ______________________________

                                                                    City Clerk of the City of Livingston

 

APPROVED:  July 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.

4 thoughts on “MAY 19, 2009

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