JULY 6, 2010 Draft Minutes

REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

JULY 6, 2010

A Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on July 6, 2010, in the City Council

Chambers with Mayor Varela presiding.

CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Varela opened the meeting.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Martha Nateras

Also in attendance were City Manager Richard Warne, Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis, and City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs.

The Council went into Closed Session to discuss the following matters:

1. Conference with Labor Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiators: City Manager Richard N. Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis.

Employee Organization: Clerical Employees Association.

2. Conference with Labor Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiators: City Manager Richard N. Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis.

Employee Organization: Management/Confidential Employees Association.

3. Conference with Labor Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiator: City Manager Richard N. Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis.

Employee Organization: Livingston Police Officers’ Association

4. Conference with Labor Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiators: City Manager Richard N. Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis.

Employee Organization: Public Works/Parks Employees Unit.

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiators: City Manager Richard N. Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis.

Employee Organization: Supervisory Employees Association.

6. Conference with Labor Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54957.6.

Agency Negotiators: City Manager Richard N. Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis.

Employee Organization: Unrepresented Employees.

7. Conference with Real Property Negotiator.

Government Code Section 54956.8.

Property: Assessor’s Parcel Numbers: 047-617-009, 047-617-010, 047-617-011,

047-617-012, and 047-617-013, also known as Lots 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35.

Negotiating Parties: Richard N. Warne, City Manager and Roy Val Dorst, Legacy Homes.

Under Negotiation: Price, Terms of Payment.

OPEN SESSION

The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session.

REGULAR MEETING

CALL TO ORDER

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

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Martha Nateras

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

There were no reports from Closed Session.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

Council Member Espinoza requested that Consent Calendar Items #5, #12 and Warrant Number 70662 from item #16 be pulled for separate discussion.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

There were no awards, presentations, appointments or proclamations scheduled for this meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Juan Corona, on behalf of Supervisor John Pedrozo, made the following comments:

· Reminded the City Council and public that there would be a high-speed rail meeting on July 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Merced Senior Citizens Center. There will be information and maps in English and Spanish available for public review.

· Reported that Merced County was working on its FY 2010-2011 budget. The Board of Supervisors has received a proposed budget and the supervisors are in the process of reviewing it.

· Commented that California High-Speed Rail board members and the executive director will be taking a tour of all the affected areas. Included in the Merced tour will be a visit to the proposed heavy maintenance facility site at Castle.

Council Member Nateras said that she attended the recent City-County dinner and told Juan Corona that the County did a nice job with the dinner.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

· Commended the City of Atwater for their July 4 event. She said that the City had a great turnout and she would like to work with residents in the community to have a July 4 event in Livingston. She asked residents to call her if they wanted to be on the July 4 Committee.

Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

· Stated he was disappointed that Wal-Mart is not coming to town. He thought more could have been done to keep Wal-Mart here. He said that he had asked the City Manager for a draft development agreement, but had not yet received it.

· Asked about the increased water meter fee in the new water rates. He said that the City was collecting $25,000 a month in this fee, but he had not seen the City spend more than $5,000 per month on the purchase of water meters. Council Member Espinoza also stated that the City Council said that they would review the water rates before going to the next step in the rate increase.

City Manager Warne stated that the flat water meter charge includes the cost of the water meter amortized over time as well as other direct overhead costs including meter reading costs, billing costs, postage costs and other similar items. Water customers were being charged for these items under the old rate structure, but it was not separately broken out as it is in the new water rate structure. The water rate consultant decided to break these costs out separately when he proposed the new water rate structure. All money collected for the meter charge is placed into the Water Enterprise Fund.

City Manager Warne said that Council Member Espinoza was not correct when he said that there was no water rate review. There was a water rate review prior to going to the next rate increase step last February. This was done at a City Council meeting at the request of Council Member Martha Nateras.

Council Member Martha Nateras

· Said she hoped that everyone had a nice, safe and restful 4th of July.

· Thanked Police Chief Dunford for continuing the neighborhood visits. She said that she attended the last one and it was excellent.

· Reported that she attended the City-County dinner meeting on June 22. The dinner was excellent and she had the opportunity to talk to other city and county representatives about issues.

· Attended the Livingston Community Network meeting on June 24. The committee worked on plans for the multi-cultural festival.

· Stated that for Council Member Espinoza’s information the City Council did conduct a rate review at a City Council meeting prior the February 2010 step increase in the rates.

Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

· Commented that the new basketball courts at the Livingston Sports Complex were being heavily used. The basketball courts are being used late into the evening. It shows that Livingston needs these kinds of recreation facilities for youth and adults.

· Reported that the park construction in the Parkside Subdivision is progressing. The weeds have been removed and the irrigation system has been installed.

· Commented that the permits have been pulled on the 10 roofs that need to be changed from asphalt shingles to tile in the Parkside Subdivision. The City is waiting for the developer to pay the fees.

· Pointed out that there was a bill for $57,218.75 for the replacement of the motor and the rehabilitation of a water well. In addition, Well #15 near Starbucks had to be shut down for repairs. This caused Starbucks to close. He said that the City must have the financial resources to pay to maintain the water system and to provide continuous service to businesses in the community. Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said that the City must be fiscally responsible.

Mayor Varela said that the water rates are for capital projects.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports

Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

· Thanked Chief Dunford for the excellent job he is doing as police chief. Mayor Varela said that the Police Department is doing an excellent job in protecting the community and he appreciated the great things that were happening in the Police Department under Chief Dunford’s leadership.

· Stated that he would like to be a part of Council Member Aguilar’s July 4 Committee and be a part of planning the July 4 celebration next year.

· Reported he attended a National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Conference, at no cost to the City. The conference provided information on the fight against diabetes and youth obesity. He cited a recent newspaper article in the Merced Sun-Star on health care for minorities. He said that many parents do not seek health care because of the cost. Mayor Varela said that the Livingston Medical Group is doing an excellent job in providing health care to the community. Education is the key to good health.

· Stated that he appreciated the efforts of City Manager Warne is obtaining grants for the community. Mayor Varela asked him to give a report on the grants received by the City in the last year.

City Manager Warne stated that the City staff works very well as a team to obtain state and federal grants to provide improvements to parks, housing, sidewalks and streets and roads. He said that the FY2011 budget contains 21 major capital projects. Most of these capital projects are funded by state and federal grants. These grants include a federal Land and Water Conservation grant to fund the construction of basketball courts at the Livingston Sports Complex. There were only about three federal Land and Water Conservation Grants that were given out in this part of northern California this year. Livingston was fortunate to be one of the recipients of the grants.

City Manager Warne said that the City also received a second federal Land and Water Conservation grant to construct restrooms and a picnic shelter at the Livingston Sports Complex. The City Council has hired an architect and the design is underway and the City hopes to go to construction in the spring. The required City match to this grant is coming from development impact fees paid by developers and not from the general taxpayers of Livingston.

City Manager Warne said that the City has two grant-funded sidewalk projects that will be constructed this year. Both grants will provide approximately $1.6 million for approximately 16,000 feet of new sidewalks in Livingston. Construction has already begun using $871,000 in federal sidewalk funds. The City also received an $800,000 housing grant and another federal grant for bullet-proof vests.

City Manager Warne said that the City also received approximately $580,000 in federal stimulus funds to pave City streets. In the last four years, the City has paved over 10.43 miles of streets in Livingston—most of it paid for by grants. No city of our size can match Livingston in road improvements during this period of time. A Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) study recently rated Livingston as having the best roads in Merced County.

Mayor Varela suggested installing horseshoe pits and volleyball courts somewhere in the City parks and suggested seeking grant funding for these projects. He thanked City Manager Warne and the staff for their efforts in securing state and federal grants for Livingston.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. 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, Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2010/2011.

Jim Alderman from Willdan Financial Services gave an overview of the special assessments for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape and Maintenance Assessment District No.1. He said that the City levies and collects assessments for 26 zones in the Assessment District for services provided to residents in these areas. He said the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to take public comment and approve the engineering report and the assessments outlined in the report. He was available to answer questions.

Mayor Varela opened the hearing for public comments at 7:29 p.m. and subsequently closed the hearing at 7:29 p.m. as there were no public comments.

Motion: M/S Vierra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2010-30, approving a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the Engineer’s Report for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District No. 1 and the Levy and Collection of Annual Assessments within such District for Fiscal Year 2010/2011 and Confirming Diagrams and Assessments Pursuant to the Provisions of Part 2 of Division 15 of the California Streets and Highways Code and as Provided by Article XIIID of the California Constitution. The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

2. Proceeding 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 Districts, Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2010/2011.

Jim Alderman from Willdan Financial Services gave an overview of the special assessments for the Benefit Assessment Districts. He said that the City levies and collects assessments for 18 Benefit Assessment Districts for services provided to residents in these areas. He said the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to take public comment and approve the engineering report and the assessments outlined in the report. He was available to answer questions.

Mayor Varela opened the hearing at 7:31 p.m. for public comments and subsequently closed the hearing at 7:31 p.m. as there were no comments from the public.

Motion: M/S Nateras/Vierra to adopt Resolution No. 2010-31, approving a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston 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 2010/2011 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 5-0 by the following vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

CITIZEN COMMENTS

Colette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255, Livingston stated she felt that the City Council was passing the buck. The water and sewer rates are high. People do not have a lot of money. She said that she wrote a paper on the City wells, including the problem with the Manganese in Well #15, prior to the City adopting its General Plan. The wells need to be fixed prior to any increase in the City’s population. She is glad that the town was not expanded to 100,000 people. She urged the City Council to adopt water conservation programs including a program to give low-interest loans to residents that installed artificial turf. She wants the City to be lawful, legal and constitutional. She thought lawsuits could have been settled at any time. The City Council said, when they adopted the water rates, they would come back for a vote at a later time and not just a review. She felt that things were done that were questionable. She said that the proceeds from the sale of the dirt from the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant should have gone back into wastewater and not recreation. The Council was just passing the buck. These things happened in the past. She concluded by saying that her son has just graduated with an engineering degree from Cal-Poly in San Luis Obispo.

Ralph Mull, 1445 First Street, stated that he had been missing the meetings because his children had been involved in youth activities and sporting events. He was not happy about the newspaper article calling citizens “cry babies.” He thinks that there should be an apology to the citizens in the community. All we are doing is standing up for our rights. He commended the City Council for the grants that the City had received and all of the good things happening in the community. He also said that he knew someone that might be interested in joining the July 4 Committee. He does not like the name-calling and bickering by City Council members. He does not have a problem with disagreements because opportunities come from disagreements. Mr. Mull was disappointed that Wal-Mart was not coming to Livingston. He did not think that the two members of the City Council should have been the ones meeting with Wal-Mart. Everyone on the City Council should have been meeting with Wal-Mart. He said that he wanted to see businesses come to the community so that they can generate revenue to complete things. Next year citizens will organize the July 4 celebration and not “drag their feet.”

Myra Bettencourt, 1584 Duke Drive, stated that she supported this City Council and the City. It irritates her and breaks her heart to see former City Council members attacking the City. This is her town and she graduated from high school in Livingston. No matter what anyone says, she is with the City Council.

Barbara Ratzlaff, 1458 Main Street, stated that these three Council Members (pointing to Varela, Nateras and Vierra) have not broken the law. She stated that Rodrigo Espinoza had broken the law and he should have to pay for it. It is a public record. All of this was in the grand jury report. She stated that Mr. Espinoza should step down tonight and go home. It is not fair that a person that has broken the law should serve on the City Council. She said that Council Member Aguilar is a fifth grade teacher. We are not fifth graders and we should not be treated like fifth graders. We are here to be adults. You are supposed to be setting policy, but you have voted against everything that is important for the City of Livingston. Ms. Ratzlaff said that Council Member Espinoza and Council Member Aguilar should be setting policy and voting intelligently. She felt that these two Council members did not have common sense.

Council Member Espinoza thanked Ms. Ratzlaff for her comments and said that if the people thought he had broken the law, they could recall him. He told Ms. Ratzlaff that she was welcome to run for Mayor or City Council member. He said the people could vote for him or not vote for him.

Council Member Aguilar thanked Ms. Ratzlaff for her comments and said that servicemen are fighting for her right to make her comments.

Mario Mendoza, no address given, commented that everyone was entitled to their personal opinion. He said that he was sorry that three people on the City Council ran off Wal-Mart and the 300 jobs that the City of Livingston would have gained. Mr. Mendoza said that property taxes were increased one percent in 2009 to hire a landscape company. He said he wanted to know if the City hired the company and where the money went. He said that he would be circulating a petition to investigate the City’s finances. He said that San Jose just increased their water rates 3.75 percent. Why are the City of Livingston’s utility rates higher than the Bay Area?

Theresa Land, 995 Hilltop Avenue, reported the Livingston Union School District is serving free breakfast, Monday through Friday, for people 18 years and younger at Yamato Colony School, Selma Herndon School and Livingston Middle School. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. at Yamato Colony School and Selma Herndon School and 7:45 a.m. at Livingston Middle School. Free lunch is also served at these schools from 11:00-12:00 p.m. at Yamato Colony and Livingston Middle School. Ms. Land stated that a bike safety rodeo sponsored by the Livingston Police Department would be held on July 17 for children ages 5-14. Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. The first 100 kids will receive bike helmets and each kid will receive a ticket for a chance to win a bike. She said that she is excited about the skate park and wants to help with this project. She said that the City website needs to be updated with the current minutes. The last set of City Council minutes posted on the website were from March 15. She said that she would like to be part of the July 4 Committee. Ms. Land said that there will be a recall election on August 31 for Mayor Varela and Council Member Nateras. She said that she is running for City Council in the event Council Member Nateras is recalled.

Earlene Elam, 1459 Second Street, stated she supported the current City Council and was voting against the recall. She felt the recall is dividing the City and hoped that the community can come together after the election. Ms. Elam stated that Wal-Mart moved to Atwater because there was free land for the building. This was the reason Wal-Mart did not locate in Livingston. She said she was happy to learn that Theresa Land would be running for office in the event of a recall. She asked who would run for the other spot on the City Council in the event of a recall.

Mayor Varela said that Council Member Espinoza was running for Mayor. Ms. Elam asked who would take the place of Council Member Espinoza if he won the recall election. City Attorney Hobbs said that the City Council could call for an election or appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the November 2010 election.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, stated there were 56 days left until the recall election which will be held August 31. He asked how many people applied for the Citizens’ Service Committee. He said that City Manager Warne said that Wal-Mart was coming to town at the meeting held at the Portuguese Hall last year. He said their decision not to come was a failed promise by the City Manager.

Council Member Nateras said that representatives from Wal-Mart were at the meeting at the Portuguese Hall. She said that they saw the whole meeting fiasco. She asked Mr. Flores if he were Wal-Mart, would he want to come to Livingston after seeing how people behaved at the City Council meeting.

Gurpal Samra, 1034 J Street, stated that the split on the Council was nothing new. When Ms. Ratzlaff was on the City Council, the City Council was split. The prior City Council was split and this split has been going on a long time. He said that no one thanked him for bringing forward information regarding the July 4 fireworks. Instead, Council Members attacked him and called the community “cry babies.” Mr. Samra asked that all of the City Council members look in the mirror before attacking the community. He said that the voice of the minority on the City Council should be respected. He stated that Vickie Lewis is an under recognized employee and he goes to her if he needs information.

Gerri Martin, 16181 W. Vinewood Avenue, commented that Foster Farms filed a lawsuit against the City over the water rates. She stated that Foster Farms asked to be involved during the study, but she did not think any meetings took place. They did not question whether the rates needed to be raised. They questioned some of the figures that were being used in the rate study. She encouraged citizens to look at both sides of the rate issue. She said that there were questions about the costs that went into the rate study.

Frank Santos, 1620 First Street, said he had two rental houses that were vacant. He said that the water bill was higher than when he had renters in the homes. City Manager Warne said that the City will test any meter where the owner feels that it is not reading correctly. In addition, Public Works Department employees assist property owners in looking for the cause of their high water bills.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, commented that the 2007 City Council minutes and a link to the 2009-2010 grand jury report could be viewed on her blog. She said that sometime ago she wrote a post entitled “So You Think You Can Govern?” She wrote it because she saw people running for City Council that had not attended a City Council meeting, Planning Commission meeting or Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting. She also saw sitting members of the City Council that did not read the agenda packet, did not understand the long-term significance of what they were voting on or were there for reasons of their own. She was concerned that some people running for office did not have a clue regarding what they were getting into. Livingston was undergoing changes including a recently settled lawsuit with Foster Farms, a General Plan challenge and at least one water rate study. The election came and went. Some left the City Council and others joined it. Like before, today, we have sitting City Council Members that do not read their agenda packets, do not understand the long-term significance of what they are voting on, question the competence and intelligence of the City’s part-time workforce, do not know the difference between a committee and a department, do not know what a City auditor is for, are becoming increasingly hostile towards staff members and are present at City Council meetings for a reason that God only knows. An ethical and competent City Council member must comprehend, analyze and distinguish among a multitude of competing interests, knowing that all decisions will have implications for the future. They must understand present needs and long-term consequences of their votes and the directions given to staff. They must understand the time value of money and the money value of time. Spending both well. Some of the terms that an ethical and competent City Council member needs to understand include restricted funds, revenue bonds, Safe Drinking Act, secondary treatment standards and zoning text amendments. She encouraged City Council members to read her blog and to look up these words so that they do not look like a fool every time they open their mouth.

CONSENT CALENDAR

The following consent calendar items were presented for City Council consideration by Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra. Council Member Espinoza requested that Agenda Item #5, Agenda Item #12 and Warrant Number 70662 from Agenda Item #16 be pulled for further discussion.

3. Resolution No. 2010-32, Awarding Construction Contract to Teichert Construction, Turlock, California, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the “B” Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project, and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and any Change Orders Thereto with Teichert Construction.

4. Resolution No. 2010-33, Authorizing the City Manager to File Regional Surface

Transportation Program (RSTP) Funds for Fiscal Year 2009/2010.

5. Resolution No. 2010-34, Requesting that the County of Merced Consolidate the City’s

Municipal Election with the Statewide General Election.

6. Resolution No. 2010-35, Approving an Extension of the Current Memorandum of

Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Clerical Employees Association.

7. Resolution No. 2010-36, Approving an Extension of the Current Memorandum of

Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Management and Confidential Employees Association.

8. Resolution No. 2010-37, Approving an Extension of the Current Memorandum of

Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Police Officers’ Association.

9. Resolution No. 2910-38, Approving an Extension of the Current Memorandum of

Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Public Works and Parks Employees Unit.

10. Resolution No. 2010-39, Approving an Extension of the Current Memorandum of

Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Supervisory Employees Association.

11. Resolution No. 2010-40, Approving an Extension of the Current Understandings

Between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Unrepresented Employees

not Associated with any City Bargaining Union.

12. Designate City Equipment/Property as Surplus and Authorize Staff to Dispose of

Property Appropriately.

13. Authorize Staff to Use Public Memorandum of Understanding for Contractual

Agreements with Other Public Entities for Police Department Firing Range Use.

14. Agreement for Professional Services Between City of Livingston and the Merced County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDCO).

15. Agreement Between the City of Livingston and RJM Design Group, Inc. for Site

Selection and Design of a Skateboard Park in the City of Livingston. (Resolution No. 2010-41).

16. Approval of Warrant Register Dated June 30, 2010.

Motion: M/S Vierra/Varela to approve Consent Calendar Agenda Items Numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16 with the exception of Warrant No. 70662. The motion passed 5-0.

Mayor Varela asked Council Member Espinoza to proceed with his concerns about Agenda Item #5. Council Member Espinoza said that he wanted the public to know that this agenda item has nothing to do with the recall election which is August 31. This is a request to Merced County to consolidate the City’s municipal election with the statewide general election.

Council Member Espinosa said that he wanted to make sure that City employees did not purchase any surplus property. City Attorney Hobbs said that he thought that the Municipal Code already prohibits employees from purchasing surplus property from the City. He said that he would check on this for the City Council. Police Chief Dunford said that the City is using Property Room.Com to dispose of its surplus property. They are located in the City of Industry and sell the property on-line similar to e-Bay. Any property that cannot be disposed of on Property Room.Com will be disposed of through non-profit organizations or other appropriate means by the Police Department.

Council Member Espinoza said that he wanted to make sure that employees did not purchase the surplus property. City Manager Warne said that is one of the reasons why the City is going to dispose of its surplus property through Property Room.Com. When a person goes to the website to bid on an item, they have no idea who owns the property. The staff does not want to be in the position where they are accused of doing something wrong or inappropriate. City Manager Warne said that he had no problem including a statement, in the motion approving Agenda Item #12, prohibiting employees from purchasing any City surplus equipment. There are always people ready to criticize the City and to find fault with something the City is doing. He wants such a statement in the motion.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said that the City Council voted on this several years ago to prohibit City employees from purchasing City surplus property.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve Consent Agenda Item No. 5. The motion carried by a vote of 5-0.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve Consent Agenda Item No. 12 with the provision that no employee or family member of an employee may purchase the surplus property. The motion carried by a vote of 5-0.

Council Member Espinoza said that Warrant No. 70662 was for attorney’s fees for $62,697.52. City Manager Warne said that a portion of this bill was for a lawsuit against the City over the water and sewer rates that the judge threw out. The City had to spend money defending itself in a lawsuit that the City ultimately won.

Council Member Espinoza said these bills are still attorney’s fees. He felt that the City Attorney was illegally hired.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said that several items on the attorney bills do not cost the City any money and are reimbursed by developers and others. There are also many general items including costs associated with City Council members calling for legal opinions.

Colette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255, stated that if the service has been rendered it must be paid. If the issue is whether you want to keep the City Attorney, this should be discussed by the City Council in a closed session. If you contract for the service, the bills should be paid. The honor of the City is at stake. The Bible states to pay your debts.

Council Member Espinoza said he felt that the City Council had illegally hired the City Attorney. Ms. Alvernaz said that this did not matter. If the service has been rendered, you still have to pay the money. Pay your debts.

Gurpal Samra, 1034 J Street, commented that the case won the lawsuit on a technicality and not on the merits of the case. The City won the case when the judge ruled that the lawsuit was not filed in a timely manner. If the lawsuit would have been filed 15 days earlier, there might have been a different decision from the judge.

City Manager Warne said that this only makes the lawsuit against the City a bigger waste of taxpayer money. The people that filed the lawsuit knew that the statue of limitations had passed and that they were barred from challenging the City’s decision. Even knowing this, they filed the lawsuit anyway and it cost the City a lot of money to defend itself. Once the statute of limitations has passed, people are barred by law from challenging the City’s decision. The judge ruled in favor of the City, citing the filing of the complaint after the statute of limitations had passed. The City did nothing but defend itself.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, said that the California Legislative Analysts Office states on their website that there are some issues relating to Proposition 218 that have yet to be litigated or resolved at a later date. The lawsuit at the Court of Appeal will settle a number of issues that the California Legislative Analysts Office states need to be decided and resolved. Everything that she has read in her research states that the City Council could adopt the water, wastewater, and sanitation rate increases by a majority vote. It is clear that the 401 protest letters submitted to the City Council did not meet the 1,500 Proposition 218 protest letter requirement to prevent the City Council from raising the rates. The only question is whether the City Council can raise the rates with a majority vote (3 votes) or a supermajority vote (4 votes). Livingston’s case before the Court of Appeal is important because the Court of Appeal’s decision will apply to every other city in the State of California. She is willing to wait for the Court of Appeal to make its decision. Ms. Schell Rodriguez said that all of this could have been avoided had the City Council not voted 5-0 last year to begin the Proposition 218 hearing process. At that point, the entire City Council thought the numbers were good; they agreed with the presentation by the rate consultant that was hand-picked by the previous City Attorney and everyone on the City Council was ready to go. Now if it was 5-0 to go to hearing, the entire City Council was comfortable with the numbers or they did not understand what they were reading.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar not to pay Warrant No. 70662. The motion failed to carry by a vote of 3-2, with Mayor Varela, Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra and Council Member Nateras voting no.

Council Member Nateras said that she wanted to clarify something once and for all. She stated that Council Member Espinoza had said that City Attorney Hobbs was hired illegally. She then asked City Attorney Hobbs who had hired him to be the City Attorney. City Attorney Hobbs responded that he had been hired by the City Council. Council Member Nateras stated that City Attorney Hobbs was hired by former Mayor Samra and the previous City Council. City Attorney Hobbs stated that this was correct. He had been hired by the previous City Council as special counsel on City legal matters. The City Council later appointed him as the City Attorney.

Council Member Espinoza said that City Attorney Hobbs was hired to represent the City on the General Plan. The City began using him for other items. He said that he did not agree with the termination of the previous City Attorney. Council Member Nateras stated that Council Member Espinoza has admitted that the City Council hired City Attorney Hobbs. She feels that Council Member Espinoza should stop making false statements that the City Attorney was hired illegally. She asked Council Member Espinoza if it was not true that he did not like the previous City Attorney and wanted to fire her.

Motion: M/S Varela/Vierra to approve the payment of Warrant No. 70662. The motion carried 3-2, with Council Members Aguilar and Espinoza voting no.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

17. Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant Evaporation Pond Layout and Capacity Study.

City Manager Warne presented the information from the staff report. He said that the City of Livingston has several evaporation ponds near the Merced River at its Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. The City has had two pond levee breaks. On July 24, 2001, the levee at Pond G failed and approximately 538,000 gallons of treated wastewater was discharged into the Merced River. Another 3.2 million gallons of treated wastewater was discharged into the Merced River on May 15, 2008, when Pond 2 failed. Every time there is a levee break, the City receives a Notice-of-Violation from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The engineer’s estimate to repair the current levee break is $440,000. A visual inspection of the site by Kathryn Reyes, City Manager Richard Warne, Mayor Daniel Varela and representatives of Carollo Engineers showed that there might be some opportunities to move the ponds away from the Merced River, increase the efficiency of the operations at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant, provide for additional future recreation opportunities along the Merced River, and avoid the need to purchase land outside for the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant to accommodate future expansion. The soil at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant permits rapid percolation.

City Manager Warne stated that staff proposes to complete an evaporation pond layout and capacity study to determine the most cost-effective and efficient way to use the current property at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. The study will look at ways to avoid the need to purchase property outside the current property boundaries for future expansion of the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. It will also study a potential change to the evaporation depth and configuration to move the ponds away from the Merced River. The City has already had two pond levee failures and they have been very expensive to repair. The study could cut the cost of the levee repair, avoid future purchases of property and provide more recreation opportunities along the Merced River. The tasks to be completed by Carollo Engineers are included with this staff report. Why not take the money that would be spent to repair the levee break and use it to move the evaporation ponds away from the river, thereby avoiding future levee breaks into the Merced River and addressing some of the other issues mentioned. Staff proposes that the City Council approve the engineering services agreement with Carollo Engineers.

Council Member Espinoza said that he did not receive the staff report in his binder. He said that he did get a copy of the staff report from Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis earlier in the day. He would like to postpone a decision on this item to the next meeting. City Manager Warne stated that the staff report is only one page and recommended that the City Council move forward.

Mayor Varela stated that this is a common sense move and something that the City has been looking at for a long time. He has been to the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant with Public Works Superintendent Kathryn Reyes, City Manager Warne and engineers from Carollo Engineer’s.

The meeting was opened for public comment at 8:35 p.m.

Gerri Martin, 16181 W. Vinewood Avenue, was in favor of the evaporation pond study. She said that the City recently hired a consultant to fix the flaws in its General Plan. She asked if the reconfiguration of the evaporation ponds will change the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant Master Plan. City Manager Warne stated that a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document might need to be done. It could be a CEQA Notice-of-Exemption. The staff and attorneys will need to look at this issue. Ms. Martin cautioned the City about making decisions that would impact the General Plan. She stated that the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were still not approved by the City Council. City Manager Warne stated that he felt that there was plenty of property at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant and the percolation rates on the property were excellent. He did not think that the City would need to acquire more property for future expansion of its wastewater operations.

Gerri Martin asked if the study would include looking at the Horta property, purchased several years ago for expansion of the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. City Manager Warne stated that the study will look at all the property. The engineers are going to have to look at the most efficient use of all the properties owned by the City. Task number one is to do a feasibility study to determine if a reconfiguration of the ponds is feasible. The City is not going to move to the next phase if it is not feasible. There is no point on spending money on engineering if the feasibility study shows that the project will not work. All of the issues Ms. Martin is talking about are going to be addressed.

Colette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 225, asked if the cost for the engineering services would be $100,000 for the project. City Manager Warne said that there are several phases to the project. If the project goes beyond the feasibility study and on to construction, the engineering services will be approximately $100,000. He said that the levee break repair will cost $440,000. The City can redeploy the financial resources more efficiently and prevent future breaks by using the funds to move the ponds away from the Merced River. Ms. Alvernaz thought that the City Council should only approve the funds for the feasibility study. She said that there are Indian artifacts in the area. She said that in 2008 the City applied for bonds for the expansion of the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. She asked if the City is still trying to get bonds to expand the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. City Manager Warne said that the City is not going to pursue any bonds for expansion at this time because there is not a revenue stream to pay for the plant expansion or make principal and interest on any bonds. No expansion will be done at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant unless there is a revenue stream to pay for it.

Ms. Alvernaz asked if there was an intention to renew the bond application with the State of California. City Manager Warne stated that an application was submitted several years ago, but it is not being pursued at this time because there is no way to pay for the plant expansion. Ms. Alvernaz said that the City still has $9 million in outstanding bonds. City Warne said that the reason why the bonds were issued was because the City needed to upgrade the plant in order to meet State wastewater standards. The State had placed a building moratorium on the City until the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant was upgraded. Current residents are paying for the plant upgrade to meet these standards. Ms Alvernaz said that the City should not ask citizens to bear the burden of future expansion. City Manager Warne agreed with Ms. Alvernaz.

Gurpal Samra, 1034 J Street, stated that the City Manager said that there would be a reimbursement to the Domestic Wastewater Enterprise Fund for any property used for recreation. City Manager Warne said that he did not make that statement. Mayor Samra asked if this would be the case. City Manager Warne said the City is only doing a feasibility study at this time and he did not know what the future would be and what is ultimately going to be done. He would not allow words to be put in his mouth or would not make any statements at this time about how the properties would be ultimately used and funded.

Mayor Varela said that any use of property for recreation would require a long approval process. The City is looking at the potential of using solar power to operate the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. The City is trying to save money.

Gurpal Samra asked if the engineering services for this project had been put out to bid.

Mayor Varela said that Carollo Engineers are already under contract with the City for work at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. Mr. Samra said that this project is outside the scope of their contract.

City Manager Warne said that Carollo Engineers was hired by the City Council many years ago as the City’s Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant engineers. There is an on-going contract with Carollo Engineers and the City for work at the plant.

Council Member Espinoza said that the City is proposing to spend $100,000 for engineering services for this project. He thought that the engineering services for this project should go out to bid. City Manager Warne explained that proposals and not bids are taken for professional services for attorneys, engineers, financial consultants and other professionals where there are on-going projects or on-going tasks. It is not like buying asphalt. City Councils evaluate who they think will provide the highest value to the City. It is not a bid situation. In this case, Carollo Engineers are the current engineers for the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. They were selected by the City Council several years ago after proposals were solicited from a number of engineering firms. They have been involved in the previous construction at the plant and were the engineers that designed the current expansion. They were also the engineers that evaluated the most recent levee break. It only makes sense and is more cost-effective to use the same engineers the City Council had previously selected.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, stated that she is not a lawyer, but she tries to use common sense. She stated that the Municipal Code allows the City Council to obtain professional services or specialty without going through the bid process because the City is already doing business with them City Attorney Hobbs stated the Ms. Schell Rodriguez was correct. Professional services does not require a bid process. Even if you take proposals, the low bid is not necessarily the best value.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez thought it is disingenuous for people to be attacking the current City Council on issues that were voted on and approved when they were in office.

City Manager Warne said the contract the City has with Carollo Engineers is the same arrangement the City has with the City Engineer and City Attorney. The City does not solicit separate proposals every time it needs a legal opinion by the City Attorney or an engineering task, opinion or project by the City Engineer.

The meeting was closed for public comment at 9:07 p.m.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra stated that he has been on the City Council since 2000. The first issue that he had to deal with was the first levee break at the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant. He said that the City had to pay the environmentalists in addition to paying for the cost of fixing the levee. We need to get away from the river and not wait for the next levee break and the need to pay the environmentalists and another $400,000 to fix the problem. He felt that this was an opportunity to fix a problem and does not understand why there is opposition to it.

Motion: M/S Varela/Nateras to approve the engineering services agreement with Carollo Engineers and complete the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant Evaporation Pond Layout and Capacity Study. The motion carried 4-1 by the following vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: Espinoza

ABSENT: Council Members: None

MEETING RECESS

The meeting resumed at 9:18 p.m.

18. Distribution and Presentation of Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2010-2011.

City Manager Warne stated that the City will have the budget available on its website, on CD and in a written format at City Hall, library and Senior Citizens Center. He reviewed the executive summary and provided an overview of the Fiscal Year 2010/2011 budget. He said that the executive summary contains all of the capital projects and policy issues in the budget document. City Manager Warne said the FY2011 budget is prepared within the broad context of the community’s Strategic Planning, Implementation and Evaluation Decision-Making Process. This decision-making process provides a framework for planning, implementing and evaluating City operations, budgets, programs, service levels and capital improvements. This process outlined in Section 2 of the budget document provides a framework for strategic planning, implementing and evaluating City operations, organizational structure, budgets, programs, service levels and capital projects. Successful businesses achieved their success by constantly planning, implementing and evaluating their operations. Livingston is a multi-million dollar corporation and implements modern corporate planning, execution and evaluation principles into its operations to serve the people effectively and efficiently.

The Mayor and City Council recognize the importance of using modern principals of corporate governance and the important role that proper strategic planning plays in setting the future course of our community.

Livingston’s FY2011 budget is a financial plan, operations guide, policy document and a communications device. It conforms to the highest budget standards published by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada. Its pages contain 343 goals for City departments, 611 footnotes with detailed explanations of the City’s past, present and future financial transactions and activities for review by the public and the City Council.

This budget is prepared in the context of the most difficult financial and political environment since the Great Depression. The housing industry collapsed in 2007 and the local economy is still in recession. City revenues in most areas are either flat or declining, while operating costs have increased. The Governor and the State Legislature are continually trying to raid City funds to close their own $20 billion budget gap. For three years, the City has monitored the situation and has responded positively and proactively to this challenging environment by downsizing staff through attrition, reducing operating costs and delaying capital projects.

Despite these financial and political difficulties, this budget will provide approximately the same level of municipal services while still holding down operating costs within projected revenues. Anticipated raids of City funds by the Governor and the State Legislature have been factored into this budget. The FY2011 budget year will be challenging and difficult, but manageable if the utility rate increases are kept in place and the City Council and staff exercise caution, good judgment and prudence in their spending.

General Fund revenues and expenses will be $4,518,371. Expenditures include $3,218,676 (71 percent) in personnel costs, $1,273,045 (28 percent) in maintenance and operations costs and $26,650 (less than 1 percent) in capital expenditures. The General Fund Unrestricted Fund Balance at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2011, is projected to be unchanged at $1,993,707 or 44 percent of General Fund expenses.

Total City revenues across all 29 accounting funds are projected to be $18,242,034 during FY2011. This includes $3,584,820 (20 percent) in taxes, $225,450 (1 percent) in licenses and permits, $4,919,967 (27 percent) in intergovernmental revenues, $7,353,735 (40 percent) in charges for service, $475,522 (less than 3 percent) in development impact fees, $1,284,611 (7 percent) in miscellaneous revenues and $397,929 (2 percent) from fund balances.

Citywide expenditures across all accounting funds are projected to be $16,941,373. This includes $5,805,238 (34 percent) for personnel services, $6,015,943 (35 percent) for maintenance and operations expenses, $4,164,472 (25 percent) for capital equipment and capital improvements and $955,720 (6 percent) for debt service expenses.

There will be no major changes in the City’s current organizational structure and no new positions are added to the City staff during FY2011. Code enforcement activities will continue to be provided to the City through a contract amendment with Bureau Veritas recently approved by the City Council. This agreement requires the company to provide a code enforcement officer at no cost as part of its building inspection contract.

The FY2011 budget contains no cost-of-living or benefit increases. It does contain merit increases provided for in the City’s personnel policies, employment contracts and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with employee bargaining units. The total number of authorized elected officials and employees will not increase during FY2011. However, six full-time positions and four part-time positions previously authorized by the City Council will not be funded and will remain unfilled during the budget year. The City plans no employee layoffs, furloughs or salary reductions or benefit cuts during FY2011. Livingston is one of the few government entities in California that has not been forced to take these severe personnel actions due to the prudent and conservative manner in which the City has managed its money. However, all employees are going to have to do more with fewer resources. The public and the City Council will need to understand that the City’s response to issues, complaints and requests may take longer in FY2011.

The City will continue to augment its work force at no cost to the City by getting eight student workers through the Merced County Office of Education Regional Occupation Program (ROP) and six public works workers from the Merced County CalWorks Program. These programs benefit the City while providing valuable work experience and training to program participants.

Personnel costs for each employee will rise in FY2011. Workers’ Compensation rates are projected to rise from $3.85 to $4.27 per $100 of payroll in FY2011. On January 1, 2011, unemployment insurance premiums paid to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) will increase from 4.4 percent of the employee’s first $7,000 in pay to 6.2 percent of the first $7,000 of an employee’s pay. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS) has increased its employer contribution costs for miscellaneous employees from 10.22 percent in FY2010 to 10.839 percent in FY2011. Employer contribution costs for public safety employees will rise from 12.138 percent in FY2010 to 12.759 percent in FY2011. Employee retirement contributions and Medicare contribution rates will remain the same as last year. The City is not part of the Social Security system. Health insurance premiums will increase 10.2 percent during FY2011. Total personnel costs across all accounting funds during FY2011 will be $5,805,238.

The City will spend $4,164,472 across all 29 accounting funds for capital equipment and capital improvements. Revenues for these capital expenditures will come primarily from State and Federal grants, development impact fees and Capital Project Fund appropriations.

The City will continue its aggressive effort to construct sidewalks throughout the City of Livingston. The Federal Highways Administration has awarded the City of Livingston a $871,000 federal grant for sidewalk construction. This federal grant comes from federal gasoline tax revenues and is administered through the California Department of Transportation. During FY2010, the City designed the project, completed an environmental study under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and awarded the construction contract. The City will spend $793,950 of the grant during FY2011 to build approximately 8,642 lineal feet of new sidewalk in Livingston to make school routes safer for Livingston’s children.

In addition to the Federal sidewalk grant, the City of Livingston has also been awarded an $807,243 grant by the California Department of Transportation to construct 7,404 lineal feet of sidewalk. Grant funds were spent during FY2010 on engineering and environmental work. The City will spend $768,280 of the grant and $89,280 in matching funds from the City’s Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) Special Revenue Fund to construct the project. Total funds committed for this project during FY2011 are $858,037. These two projects will result in a total of 16,046 lineal feet or 3.03 miles of new sidewalk during FY2011. Total new sidewalk constructed in the City since 2006 is 25,471 lineal feet or 4.82 miles.

Sidewalk maintenance will continue to be a priority for the City during FY2011. The FY2011 budget also contains $20,517 in gasoline taxes to repair existing sidewalks in the community.

In addition to sidewalks, the City will use $97,015 in Proposition 42 Special Revenue funds and $82,985 in Gasoline Tax Special Revenue funds to complete the paving and sidewalk construction on B Street from Briarwood Drive to Robin Avenue. This will bring the total amount of street rehabilitation work since FY2006 to 53,501 lineal feet or 10.13 miles. Design and engineering for a skateboard park will also begin in FY2011 as a result of a $100,000 contribution from a developer as part of an amendment to his development agreement. The City Council has already interviewed and selected a consultant and approved the contract on July 6, 2010.

Development of recreation amenities at the Livingston Sports Complex will continue to be a priority for Livingston. The City will spend $321,000 to construct restrooms and a picnic shelter at the Livingston Sports Complex. The National Parks Service through the Land and Water Conservation Fund will provide $160,500. The City of Livingston will provide $160,500 in local matching funds from the Municipal Facilities Development Impact Fees Capital Projects Fund. The National Parks Service administers a Land and Water Conservation Parks and Recreation Grant Program through the California Department of Parks and Recreation. These funds are awarded competitively and come from the sale of federal oil and gas leases under Public Law 88-578.

Public safety will be enhanced in the Police Department with a $107,440 U.S. Department of Justice COPS Secure Our Schools grant to install 37 exterior lights at Livingston High School and 28 exterior lights and 31 cameras at Livingston’s three elementary schools. These lights and cameras will transmit real-time video from school campuses to video screens in the City’s Police Department Dispatch Center and to Mobile Digital Terminals (MDT) in police vehicles. The Merced Union High School District and Livingston Union School District will provide matching funds of $107,440 for this project. Total funding for this project from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the school districts is $214,880.

The Police Department will spend $112,000 from a state law enforcement COPS grant for police vehicles and equipment. This includes $102,000 to replace three police vehicles, $7,000 to upgrade the Police Department Dispatch Center and $3,000 to acquire its own 800 megahertz police radio frequency. Once the City acquires its own radio 800 megahertz frequency, it will no longer need to pay the County $8,100 to use their radio frequency. City police radios and radio frequencies are and will continue to be fully compatible and able to communicate with Merced County Sheriff’s Department radios.

A street crack sealing machine will be purchased for $45,000 using street and bridge development impact fees. This machine will allow City crews to seal street cracks to prevent water from undermining the integrity of roads, increasing the street life and avoid more costly contracting out for this work. A new street sweeper will be acquired using a lease-purchase financing system. The current street sweeper is nearing the end of its useful life and will need to undergo expensive improvements to meet new California air quality standards. The City is budgeting $60,973 during FY2011 for principal and interest payments for a new street sweeper.

In addition to a street crack sealing machine and a street sweeper, the City will replace the Public Works Department camera system that monitors activities at the public works facility. City computer network servers will be moved from City Hall to the Police Department 911 computer room behind the Police Dispatch Center. This relocation will place the City’s computer network servers in a more physically secure environment. The room is also air conditioned and has a Womald Sapphire fire suppression system that uses a chemical to extinguish a fire rather than water. This fire suppression will provide additional protection to the City’s software and hardware systems. The building also has an emergency power backup system that will permit the servers to operate when the City power is out.

Water system capital improvements include $376,000 for repair, replacement and refurbishment of the City’s water system during FY2011. These projects include doing the engineering, environmental work, obtaining Department of Health Services (DHS) approval and developing the financing plan for manganese well-head protection for Well #15; relocating the fence to the perimeter of the property at the water tank site; completing environmental document for the Water Distribution System Master Plan, purchasing of water meters; and rebuilding of Well #13 ($50,000).

The City will also use a $77,464 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus money to replace motors on Well Numbers 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13. These new motors will reduce electrical costs by 12 percent.

The City will continue its aggressive efforts to install water meters. There are only approximately 130 connections out of about 3,134 accounts that are not currently metered. This means that Livingston has installed water meters at approximately 96 percent of its customer locations. The goal is to have all customers metered by the end of FY2011.

The City will also continue its program to retrofit its old water meters with radio-read meters. Radio-read meters can be automatically read via a signal from a water meter transmitter. This saves time and money by allowing the meter to be read from a vehicle rather than opening the box and manually reading the meter. Approximately 75 percent of the water connections currently have radio-read meters.

In addition to the water system improvements, the City will reduce vandalism, combat break-ins, protect expensive equipment and reduce liability at the domestic wastewater treatment plant by spending $25,000 for additional security fencing and $50,000 to install a video camera system connected to the Police Department Dispatch Center. Livingston will also spend $40,000 to complete an evaporation pond layout and capacity study to determine the most cost-effective and efficient way to use the current property at the domestic wastewater treatment plant. The study will look at ways to avoid the need to purchase property outside the current plant property boundaries as the plant capacity expands in the future. It will also study a potential change to the evaporation pond depth and configuration to move the ponds away from the Merced River. The City has already had two pond levee failures that have been very expensive to repair and have resulted in discharge of treated wastewater into the river. The study could cut the cost of the levee repair, avoid future purchases of property and provide more recreation opportunities near the Merced River.

Other FY2011 Domestic Wastewater Capital Projects Fund projects include spending $50,000 for designing and engineering to repair the levee break at Pond #2 at the domestic wastewater treatment plant. The estimated cost to repair the levee is $440,000, which will need to be funded in future years.

The FY2011 budget also contains $50,000 from development impact fees in the Domestic Wastewater Enterprise Capital Projects Fund to obtain final engineering approvals from the State and complete the environmental impact report (EIR) for the 2-million gallon per day (mgd) expansion of the domestic wastewater treatment plant. Construction will not commence until the City has either grants or development agreements in place from developers to pay for the construction costs. However, it is cheaper and less time consuming for the City to complete this process now rather than have to start all over again from the beginning in future years when more development makes the expansion more critical.

The total City long-term debt across all accounting funds will decrease $263,082 from $10,241,818 to $9,978,736 by June 30, 2011. The Livingston Redevelopment Agency will make a $202,580 debt service payment to the General Fund, reducing the principal of a 1985 loan to $977,029 on June 30, 2011.

The decision by the majority of the City Council to raise water, domestic wastewater and solid waste rates in 2009 has reversed the financial downward spiral of these enterprise funds. Water rates had not been raised since 1995. This action took leadership and political courage absent in the majority of previous City Council members that either did not want to face the issue or wanted to “play politics” with this critical public safety issue. It will insure that these services are provided in a fiscally sound and responsible manner.

The Water Enterprise Operating Fund will have revenues of $2,315,713 and expenditures of $2,224,885, reducing its negative cash and investment fund balance by $90,828 to a negative $1,306,988. The Domestic Wastewater Enterprise Operating Fund is projected to end the fiscal year on June 30, 2011, with a positive cash and investment fund balance of $23,339 on revenues of $2,626,633 and expenditures of $2,053,174.

The City will spend $35,000 (as required by law) to update its Urban Water Management Plan during FY2011. $45,000 will be spent to inspect and video tape approximately 50 percent of the sewer lines in the domestic wastewater system as required by the Livingston Sewer System Management Plan and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). This will be the first comprehensive inspection of the City’s wastewater system ever conducted.

The Sanitation Enterprise Fund will continue to heal during FY2011. Total revenues are expected to increase to $1,499,343 due to a rate increase approved by the City Council on April 21, 2009. Total expenditures are projected to be $1,245,389 during the fiscal year, resulting in a positive cash flow of $253,954 by June 30, 2011. The negative cash and investment fund balance is projected to be reduced to $238,517 by the end of the fiscal year. The Sanitation Enterprise Fund is projected to have a positive cash and investment fund balance in FY2012 or FY2013.

City Manager Warne said that the preparation of the budget is a monumental task requiring the efforts of numerous staff members. He expressed appreciation to Vickie Lewis, Jasmin Bains, department heads and everyone that had a hand in the budget preparation. He said that he was submitting it now to the City Council to make whatever appropriate changes they deemed necessary prior to passage. He said that staff appreciated the opportunity to serve. He invited anyone with questions or concerns to come to the City to visit with staff. The City’s finances are being handled in accordance with the highest professional standards.

Mayor Varela expressed appreciation for the efforts of City Manager Warne and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis for their efforts. He sees both of them working late at night and early in the morning and he expressed appreciation for their commitment to keeping the City financially solvent.

19. City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Warne said that he wanted to correct something that was said earlier in the evening. He said that someone suggested that the City had raised property taxes and had considered contracting out the maintenance of the City’s landscaped areas. He said that the City had not raised property taxes during the last four years since he had been in Livingston. Proposition 13 does not permit the City to raise property taxes. If the City Council wanted to raise property taxes, it could not do it. He also clarified that the City had never considered contracting out the maintenance of its landscaped areas.

Mayor Varela said that if the public had any questions, they should contact City Hall.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra stated that he opened his mail and found an article stating that Wal-Mart had cancelled 45 super Wal-Mart projects without notice. The article states that Wal-Mart also cancelled numerous projects in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. These projects were cancelled without notice or explanation, often after months or years of lobbying and negotiations.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:40 p.m.

_______________________________

City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: October 5, 2010

_____________________________

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.

2 thoughts on “JULY 6, 2010 Draft Minutes

  1. Pingback: A Few Announcements, News Items and a City Council Agenda (With Just a Little Commentary) « Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock…)

  2. Pingback: Missing MOU’s, Budgets in Process, and a City Council Agenda « Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock…)

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