FEBRUARY 1, 2011 Draft Minutes

MEETING MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

FEBRUARY 1, 2011

A Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held in the City Council Chambers on February 1, 2011, with Mayor Espinoza presiding.

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

There was no Closed Session held.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

None.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation to Livingston High School Woodshop Students and Instructor for Making Hand Carved Additions for the City of Livingston Welcome Signs in Spanish, Punjabi and Japanese Languages.

Mayor Espinoza presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Angelo Naldi, instructor, and students Brandon Acuna and Epifanio Villalobos and thanked them for their efforts.

2. Presentation of Five-Year Service Pin to Jesus Chavez, Public Works Maintenance Mechanic.

Mayor Espinoza presented a five-year service pin to Jesus Chavez in recognition of his service with the City as a Public Works Maintenance Mechanic.

3. Presentation of Five-Year Service Pin to Nora Becerra, Police Public Assistant.

Nora Becerra was not present at the meeting.

DEVIATION FROM AGENDA

Eric Vargas, president of the Student Body at Livingston High School invited everyone to this year’s homecoming basketball game in the new gymnasium. He thanked the Council and the community for their dedication and support of the new gym and their patience during construction. Mr. Vargas said tickets could be purchased presale for $5.00 or at the door for $8.00. Mayor Espinoza added that the homecoming game was on Friday, February 4.

4. Departmental Presentation by Acting Police Chief Chris Soria.

Acting Police Chief Chris Soria provided a detailed and informative Power Point presentation on Police Department activities, including, but not limited, to crime statistics and other relevant issues.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Supervisor Pedrozo was absent.

Acting City Manager Announcements and Reports.

Acting City Manger Vickie Lewis

· Stated that the City had entered into an internship with Livingston High School for Christie Granada, a student, to start assisting the City with video taping of City Council meetings.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Frank Vierra

· Noted that the high school district was going through a mid-year budget update and had a freeze on everything. He wondered about the status of the City’s mid-year budget. He asked if the mid-year budget had been updated since the utility rates were rolled back and if so, would the Council receive a copy.

Acting City Manager Lewis commented that the City was not in a financial situation where it had to freeze anything. She stated the City was financially solvent, but there was a need to work on reviewing utility rates. The City had solicited Requests for Proposals and they were expected back by February 11. Ms. Lewis said if the Council wanted a budget brought back to them showing just those areas that were changed she would do so.

Council Member Theresa Land

· Reported that she attended the League of California Cities Conference which was very informative. She brought back lots of reference materials. She met a lot of people and did a lot of networking. Ms. Land commented that when she started her Council position she was in an untrained state, but was able to gain more knowledge from the workshop and City staff. She appreciated Vickie Lewis and City department heads for their patience. She suggested that anyone new coming in an elected or advisory position should have AB 1234 training.

· Announced the following upcoming events: February 3, blood drive, 3- 7 p.m., Veterans’ Memorial Hall; February 4, barbecue chicken dinner, Livingston Middle School cafeteria; February 6, chicken dinner, 9-12 noon, St. Jude Catholic Church; February 7, Sober Grad Night meeting, 6 p.m., Geneo’s Pizza; and February 12, Court Theater Committee bunko tournament fundraiser, 1 p.m., Veterans’ Memorial Hall – $20 includes luncheon and prizes.

Council Member Gurpal Samra

· Commented the League of California Conference which he attended was very good and informative. He met with the new Governor and Senator. The only concern he wanted to bring back was the proposed elimination of the cities’ redevelopment agencies. He thanked the citizens for allowing him to attend the conference.

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

· Reported she also attended the League of California Cities Conference which was a positive experience. One workshop she attended was very important to her. The workshop was in regards to the relationship between the City Council and the City Manager and staff. She has always tried to respect the roles of the City Council and City Manager and staff. The workshop addressed being accountable for one’s actions and that the relationship worked both ways because they were working as a team. That included the citizens as well.

· Welcomed the youths that were present for the agenda item on the skate park.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

· Commented that he also attended the League of California Cities Conference in Sacramento with other Council Members. They met with the Governor who came and talked to the mayors and council members regarding redevelopment. He commented that the Governor was talking about doing away with the cities’ redevelopment agencies, but as a State the cities needed to work together to bring the State back into solvency. One workshop was in regards to mayors and their role in having more conferences with the Council and the community and Council and staff to work together for the betterment of the community and to reach out to the citizens and hold meetings in different parts of the community to try to get more people to come to meetings.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

None.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

Jennifer West, 1640 N Street, Merced introduced herself and said she works with Senator Anthony Canella. His office is in Merced and the telephone number is (209) 726-5495 if

anyone needed or wanted to talk to the Senator. Ms. West said Senator Canella was working on redevelopment. The Senator is a former mayor and fully understands what the impact of redevelopment was and he is focusing on that. She will report back to the Senator with comments made tonight.

Lesa Sanchez, no address given, thanked the Council for settling a recent claim she had filed against the City for water damage to her personal property. She added that the claim was not about money, but the principle of the situation.

Myra Bettencourt, 1584 Duke Drive stated she was confused on what was going on with the City Council. She read articles in the newspaper, but never saw Mayor Espinoza’s name, only Gurpal Samra’s name. She asked the Mayor if Mr. Samra was representing him. She added that she was upset with all of the Council for not speaking up.

Mayor Espinoza commented that the newspaper had always been negative about the City and had attacked the Council and if they were attacking the Council then they were attacking the community. He didn’t feel the media was supportive of the community.

Ms. Bettencourt said she never read anything negative that Mr. Samra stated. He was the only one who knew what was going on. She was very disappointed with the people who fought with her about the recall, but they never come to meetings anymore.

Mayor Espinoza stated that if anyone in the community needed a question answered regarding City or Council issues to please come and see him.

Council Member Land commented that she had spoken with newspaper reporter Mike North and did not have a good rapport with him and had asked him not to call her anymore.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said she had also spoken to Mr. North and even had him follow her to her truck after a meeting. She noted the Council participated in Toys-for-Tots, but he never thanked the Council for being there and he also always twisted things around. Ms. Aguilar stated the Council was here to serve the community and she was happy to get involved in the community.

Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701, Livingston said he had also been called by Mr. North about the 4th of July celebration, but he had nothing against him. Mr. Valadez noted that this week the Knights of Columbus held a contest at Livingston High School that involved a lot of youths.

He had pictures of the free throw event and wanted to forward them to the newspaper. He thanked Ramon Avila and the Knights of Columbus for putting the event together and the youths for their assistance.

Mayor Espinoza commented the second round of the basketball competition was on February 13 at Livingston High School.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, reported the Livingston Community Garden Committee would meet on February 3 at 3:30 p.m. at Yamato Colony School. He said the meeting would focus on the committee’s continued efforts to promote healthy food and not fast or junk food.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Mayor Espinoza presented the Consent Calendar items for the Council’s consideration.

Council Member Samra said he would abstain from voting on Item #5 as he was not a member of the City Council at that time.

5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 5, 2010.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Land to approve the Minutes of October 5, 2010. The motion carried 4-1, with Council Member Samra abstaining.

6. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 18, 2011.

7. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 26, 2011.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Land to approve Items #6 and #7. The motion carried 4-1, with Council Member Vierra voting no.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

8. Resolution Assigning New Planning Commissioners to Specific Terms.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez made minor amendments to the resolution. He said the resolution should read, Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Appointing and Assigning New Planning Commissioners to Specific Terms, and in the body of the Resolution, the language should read, Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the City Council of the City of Livingston Does Hereby Appoint and Assign New Planning Commissioners to the Specific Terms Below.

The agenda item was presented by Community Development Director Donna Kenney.

Motion: M/S Samra/Land to adopt Resolution No. 2011-6, Appointing and Assigning New Planning Commissioners to the following Specific Terms: Harpreet Bains, 2 year term, and Mario Mendoza, 4 year term. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra

NOES: Council Members: Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

9. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Opposing the Administration’s Proposal to Abolish Redevelopment Agencies in California.

The agenda item was presented by Community Development Director Donna Kenney.

Mayor Espinoza noted that he had asked the City Attorney if he would be in conflict with this item as he was not a member of the Livingston Redevelopment Agency. Mr. Sanchez said no, it just showed Mayor Espinoza’s support for redevelopment.

Lesa Sanchez, no address given, asked were the jobs provided by redevelopment agency monies in Livingston. Ms. Kenney said that when she mentioned jobs it was statewide. She noted that the City sets monies aside for downtown revitalization and affordable housing projects. She gave a further explanation of the Livingston Redevelopment Agency.

Mayor Espinoza commented that the cities get redevelopment monies from the State and now the State wants to do away the redevelopment agencies.

Council Member Vierra stated that the City has had housing redevelopment money for individual families and there were jobs here for those workers, but the City had to save its money. He commented that Livingston is small and doesn’t receive as much as a big city so it had to save money and then disburse all at one time. Mr. Vierra added that if the Governor passes this, the City will never see any money.

Council Member Samra publicly thanked Senator Canella for attending the town hall meeting and giving his support to the City regarding the redevelopment agency. He stated it was unfair of the Governor for taking redevelopment away from the local jurisdictions. Mr. Samra said we work hard for that money and to take it away is very unfair. He said the Council opposed this and didn’t want this to happen in Livingston. He said this money could also be used for downtown improvements around the Court Theater.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated the League of California Cities was supporting Livingston too and this was a statewide effort.

Mayor Espinoza added that this is why cities in the State are passing resolutions to stop the Governor from taking monies from the cities. He said sending a resolution to the State would show the City’s support for opposing the Governor’s proposal.

Motion: M/S Vierra/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2011-7, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Opposing the Administration’s Proposal to Abolish Redevelopment Agencies in California. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

9. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2010-14, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Defining the Role, Duties and Responsibilities of the City Attorney.

Mayor Espinoza presented the agenda item.

Council Member Samra commented that when this item came before the previous Council he totally opposed it. To him this was the responsibility of the City Council, not particularly any person that could benefit from it like the City Attorney. He noted that to file lawsuits or appeals was the responsibility of the Council and it should not have been used as a political ploy. Mr. Samra thought this was wrong and he asked the current City Attorney that by repealing this resolution would it interfere with his duties.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez said no and further explained.

Council Member Samra stated that if the Council decided to rescind the resolution this would put the Council in line with the Livingston Municipal Code. He added that the Council needed to repeal this resolution and take its authority back.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said she was one of the Council Members who opposed passing the original resolution and agreed with Council Member Samra that as Council Members they should be responsible to have the say in what the contracted individuals do with City money. She noted that the Council Members could not lose the control that they had to be able to direct the City Manager and contract individuals.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2011-8, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2010-14, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Defining the Role, Duties and Responsibilities of the City Attorney. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra

NOES: Council Members: Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

10. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2010-15, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Providing for Warrant Payment Procedures.

Mayor Espinoza presented the agenda item.

Council Member Samra said that once again this resolution was a political ploy. Paying warrants was the responsibility of the Council. He asked why would the Council need to vote on it if it’s already been paid by staff. Again, it needs to realign with the Livingston Municipal Code. He asked for a unanimous vote to rescind the previous resolution.

Mayor Espinoza agreed. He stated that to be on the Warrant Review Committee for eight years and then to be told that there was no need for him to review the warrants was wrong. He disagreed with the passage of the current resolution and that was why it was being brought back to the Council.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston said she read the resolution and one of the sub sections stated that each Council Member was responsible for reviewing the warrants and could pull a warrant and hold it until such time as the Council met as a whole body. She said this arose after a series of Council meetings that were cancelled and at least twice when the entire warrant register was held and no one got paid. Ms. Schell Rodriguez asked does that mean that from now on the Council will not cancel meetings since there are two warrant registers per month. And if the Council did intend cancelling meetings in the future, what happened to people who were owed money during those weeks the Council did not meet. Were they going to have to wait for their money?

Mayor Espinoza said the warrants still go out and are authorized by the Acting City Manager.

Acting City Manager Lewis said she didn’t think the warrants were ever held twice. They had been held on occasion because staff didn’t have the proper authorizations to pay the warrants, but normally what staff would do was call the Council and have them come in and review the warrants. Ms. Lewis said if there were costs that were charged against the City and did not get paid, then the Council would review them and authorize the payments.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez said a practical solution to this was that staff should be anticipating when bills need to be paid to make sure the warrants were presented at a Council meeting, or another solution was to call a special meeting to get authorization to pay.

Council Member Vierra asked if the entire resolution had to be repealed or could just parts of the resolution be rescinded. He noted this matter came about because checks were not paid to anyone, and that month there were children that didn’t get their money from employees for child support and there were also late payments. He asked who would be responsible for those late payments.

Mr. Vierra added that this says the Council could stop payments for anything. As far as for cancelling meetings, he was not available for every special meeting that other Council Members wanted. He did other things besides serving on the Council. He had to cancel commitments just to attend a special meeting. He asked how many times was the Council going to have special meetings. They had already had two since the last election. Mr. Vierra commented that the Council was going back to the same old thing where they could pull things and people were not going to get paid.

Mayor Espinoza said he thought this came about not because of the children, but because the previous Council didn’t want to have meetings about the water rate issues. They didn’t want to confront the community with those issues, so they would just cancel the meeting and that was the reason people weren’t being paid. He didn’t think there was a problem in the past with vendors not getting paid, they did get paid.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commented that some of the warrants that she pulled were because she questioned the amount of money that was being paid to the city attorney when it came to the water rates. She said this resolution allowed him to do pretty much what he needed to do to get the job done. Ms. Aguilar commented that as Council Members they needed to be accountable. There was a need for the Council to take back control. She added that when she learned about a late payment she retracted from holding the warrants. All she would do was pull the warrant to make a comment on it.

Council Member Land asked if the current resolution was repealed and a meeting was cancelled, would be the warrants be paid. Would the Council have to hold a special meeting or would the warrants be held over for the next meeting?

Interim City Attorney Sanchez explained that some of them would be paid by the current practice of the City. He said if a special meeting needed to be called to approve warrants, staff should know about anticipating payments and keeping track of what was coming up and what needed to be paid. If an emergency resulted then a special meeting was an option, but in case of an emergency three Council Members would be contacted.

Council Member Samra stated that prior to this resolution being passed, the City paid its bills on time. He said the failure of the Council to work things out or come to a consensus, was the fault of the Council because some people raised questions instead of working out the differences.

Council Member Land said she made a point every time to go in and check the warrants because she believed that the vendors should be paid in a timely manner.

Council Member Vierra commented to Ms. Aguilar that there was one invoice with 29 items on the attorney’s bill and why wasn’t this told to the community.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2011-9, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Rescinding Resolution No. 2010-15, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Providing for Warrant Payment Procedures.

The motion carried 3-2 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Samra

NOES: Council Members: Land, Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Acting City Manager Lewis noted that the 29 items listed for the attorney were posted to different funds and she felt that needed to be clarified.

11. Resolution Selecting a Skate Park Location and a Conceptual Design.

Council Member Samra stated he had a conflict of interest with this item as he lived within 500 feet of the proposed skate park location. He excused himself and stepped out of the Council Chambers at 8:39 p.m.

Community Development Director Donna Kenney presented the agenda item. She thanked the community for coming to the workshops, to all the youths for coming out tonight and to the consultants for their hard work.

Ms. Kenney said there was a lot of public noticing on this project and everyone got a flier in their water bill. She had one comment called in from Lupe Garcia. He did not have a choice on what skate park concept plan he wanted, but he preferred the sports complex as the location. She received no written responses.

Lesa Sanchez, no address given, said she roller skated and said it would be nice if there was an allowance for inline skates. She felt there should be a safety factor in there. Ms. Sanchez asked was there a part of the skate park where she could skate.

Jamie Martinez, no address given, said the preferred location is now Arakelian Park and asked how long would it take to get the project completed.

Mayor Espinoza commented that the City was trying to get to that part. He said maybe a generous donor would come forward to make the project a reality. Mr. Espinoza suggested going out to the major businesses and soliciting donations to get the project underway.

Carmen Fuentes Gutierrez, 2924 Trigger Lane, thanked the Council for thinking of our youth and for having workshops where the kids got involved. She asked how the City got youth from different parts of town to participate. Mayor Espinoza said through fliers.

Ms. Gutierrez said she was aware of the workshops, but was unable to attend. She said they chose a design and it was recommended. She suggested that maybe if there was sufficient time the Council and citizens would be able to get more ideas of what the youths want, the age group and the location. Ms. Gutierrez suggested sending out a flier.

Mayor Espinoza asked her which location she would prefer.

Ms. Gutierrez said the sports complex was appropriate because it was in an open area

The kids feel safe there and her family lives close to the sports complex.

David Blevins, 1019 Fourth Street asked if the skate park would be gated.

Brian Moore said typically parks were fenced and they would make a recommendation to that effect.

Mr. Blevins asked what hours the skate park would be in operation.

Brian Moore said usually from sunup to sun down. He had heard that a city has more liability when supervised.

Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701, Livingston felt the skate park should be centrally located so that many kids could use it. He said as long as the skate park is built; just let the kids use it. He asked if the police department had a preference on the location.

Acting Police Chief Chris Soria replied somewhere that was centrally located so that police and fire could access the location right away.

Mr. Valadez asked if it was possible to put in a camera system at the skate park or was this also a liability.

Mayor Espinoza said this was a good idea.

Mr. Valadez asked what would happen if there was an accident.

Acting City Manager Lewis said youths would skate at their own risk.

Mr. Valadez asked if the site would be lighted.

Brian Moore said lights were requested, but that was an extra expense.

Donna Kenney said these designs were very flexible and further explained.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston asked that given the fact that the State was trying to get its hands on the City’s redevelopment monies could that money be used for the skate park. She said with Livingston’s population, size and income levels what would be the chance of applying for any particular grants to get the skate park built.

Acting City Manager Lewis said staff was continually looking for grants. She and Senior Accountant Jasmin Bains had talked about a potential grant for the skate park. She said redevelopment agency funds currently on hand were obligated to get what already existed. If the State pulls the City’s future money, the monies that the City had in its funds are committed to debt because the general fund had loaned money to the redevelopment agency.

Council Member Vierra asked had any of the citizens been to the high school from 4 p.m. on to see the kids in action. He could see why the kids like Arakelian Park because it was situated half way between the high school and the junior high school. Mr. Vierra said he would side with Arakelian looking at the population it was more this way than north. He asked if the consultants had looked at Arakelian from across the bowl or the top. Mr. Vierra further asked does it put them out of commission during the winter months.

John Courtney explained that water will be able to drain from the bowl so it doesn’t turn into a pool all winter.

Council Member Vierra said the City did have an appraisal for the adjacent two lots if it received a big donation to purchase them.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar felt Arakelian Park was the right location. As Mr. Vierra said the population was there. She said that being that the project would be done in phases perhaps some fundraisers could be held. Ms. Aguilar said the distance going over the overpass to get to the sports complex was a liability because of safety issues.

Council Member Land told Mike North that the second workshop that was held was an opportunity that he missed. She brought her paper work to school and showed the kids and talked to them and asked them which location they favored and the choice was split. Many of the kids wanted the location to be on Walnut and others Arakelian which was her preference.

Mayor Espinoza commented that the choice between Walnut and Arakelian was difficult.

He said the sports complex on Walnut was already heavily used on the weekends and if everyone was to go there it would be even busier. With Arakelian with the design, he thought in the middle of the park would be a better design instead of going down the basin side.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Vierra to adopt Resolution No. 2011-10, selecting Arakelian Park for the skate park location and Design A for the concept design of the skate park. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

ABSTAIN: Council Members: Samra

Council Member Samra returned to the dais at 9:37 p.m. for the remainder of the meeting.

12. Discuss City Council Commitment, Support and Participation in Court Theater Committee.

Mayor Espinoza presented the agenda item.

Senior Accountant Jasmin Bains presented an overview and history of the project.

Mayor Espinoza said he had attended the last meeting of the Court Theater Committee and they discussed what the City’s position was on supporting the Committee and moving forward with the renovation of the Court Theater. He told the group that he was a supporter of the Court Theater project. He noted that as reported by Jasmin Bains, the City had received grants in the past for the project and had used some of the funding for the design. Mr. Espinoza noted that now, because of a lack of action, the City lost one of the grants and would also lose a second grant. He said the City would have to reapply for grant funds. He said he realized that the economy and the current state of the City would hinder moving forward with the project. Mr. Espinoza commented that the Committee was established by the City and Council Member Vierra had served as a liaison for some time. He said there was mention made that the Committee was not established by the Council in the past.

Council Member Vierra recalled that in the year 2000 when he was elected to the Council, he along with Everardo Arroyo, Richard Van Guilder, Gurpal Samra and Roy Soria voted to establish the original committee and appoint members. He couldn’t understand why there was nothing in the Minutes to support this. He thought perhaps the action was in the form of a resolution, but staff would have to do more research.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said she would like to hear from committee members.

Diann Benafield, 1330 Queen Way stated that this matter went back to 2002. She made reference to a book on the Court Theater Committee and said the City should have a copy.

Ms. Benafield said her late husband was the Chairman of the Committee and she was not formally involved. She thanked the Council for allowing her to address them tonight and said she was here to ask the Council what their intentions were in regards to supporting the Committee. Ms. Benafield said Committee members had been functioning and raising funds for the last nine years, but the City had to move forward to get grants. Committee members would do whatever was necessary to help. Ms. Benafield noted the Committee had met with the City Engineer and he presented a cost estimate of approximately $3.8 million to reduce the scope of the building down to just a building leaving off the wings. Further discussion followed.

Ms. Benafield asked about possibly using the building for a recreation facility or a community center type building and have it available for community events. She said the Committee had two 26 foot trailers where they kept all the theater seating, curtains and other items in storage. Ms. Benafield commented that the Committee had done a lot in the past and would appreciate a Council Member attending Committee meetings and reporting back to the Council. She again asked what the Council’s intentions and commitments were in supporting the Committee.

Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701, Livingston asked if Committee members had talked to people in the Merced community.

Ms. Benafield commented that at the time the Merced Theater was renovated it was a safe building whereas the Court Theater building was a safety hazard.

Council Member Vierra agreed with Ms. Benafield that if the Council wasn’t in 100 percent agreement in supporting their efforts he didn’t see the project moving forward.

Council Member Land asked what time meetings were held. Ms. Benafield said at

5:00 p.m. on the third Monday of the month.

Council Member Land asked if members were appointed or were they volunteers. Ms. Benafield said they were volunteers.

Council Member Land asked if the members were appointed by the Council and if so how many were appointed. Ms. Benafield read a list of the people that were appointed.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said she had asked Acting City Manager Lewis about the make-up of the Committee and Ms. Lewis had requested information from the members.

Ms. Lewis noted that she had asked for information, but no one came forward.

Ms. Benafield said that she had just found the information tonight.

Council Member Vierra asked if the City had a copy of the book referenced earlier by Ms. Benafield. Ms. Benafield said the City should have a copy.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said the Council needed to find documentation to determine if the members were actually appointed by the Council. She stated that the City had Ordinances in the Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) that listed individual boards and commissions and certain criterion for each group, but the Court Theater Committee was not a part of the LMC.

Ms. Benafield read a letter from former City Manager Mark Melville congratulating various individuals for being appointed to the Committee.

Mayor Espinoza clarified that from what Ms. Benafield said, the Committee was organized as a 501(c)3, non-profit organization.

Ms. Benafield said it was decided that the committee be non-profit, and not a part of the City.

Mayor Espinoza asked if the City could legally regulate a committee that was non-profit.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez explained.

Mayor Espinoza noted that he had already voiced his support for the theater project, but he felt the Council needed to do some research on the Committee’s non-profit status.

He asked if the Committee wanted to continue with its current status. He noted that if the Council voted in favor of supporting the project and the Committee and the City continued to apply for grants the project could move forward. Further discussion followed.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commented that regarding the funding, the City had been supporting the project, but the way it was stated it sounded like the City was not in support. She noted that CDBG funds were also used to assist low-income residents to remodel their homes. Ms. Aguilar said she was not happy about the funds that were lost as these funds could have been used for low-income housing rehabilitation. She said she wanted to be sure that this was a City committee and if she had to make a final judgment, she would have to say no.

Ms. Benafield stated that at no time had the Committee said it did not request that those funds be used towards the theater. She said we are going to have to look at future funds through personal funds and fundraisers.

Lengthy discussion followed.

Council Member Vierra asked Jasmin Bains if she remembered if that block grant was a specific grant to be used for housing.

Jasmin Bains gave an explanation.

Council Member Vierra asked if it was requested as a Court Theater grant.

Ms. Bains said yes.

Mayor Espinoza asked if any Council Member wanted to volunteer to be the liaison.

Council Member Land asked who used to be the liaison.

Ms. Benafield said Council Member Samra for a meeting or two and also Council Member Vierra although he had not attended meetings in a long time.

Lengthy discussion followed.

Council Member Samra commented that he was on the Council originally when the Court Theater was purchased. He said it was a work in process and the Council had to thank the Committee for their commitment. Mr. Samra stated that if we need to bring this into the realm of the City we can clarify that, but we need to make some kind of commitment to the Committee. He said he was aware that state funding was in a deficit, but the Council had to rely on the Committee to write a letter or whatever was needed. Mr. Samra said that appointing a Council liaison would go a long ways. The liaison could then come back to the Council and report on what was discussed. He said the Council should start by appointing a liaison and then determine if the Committee should stay as is currently or brought into the fold of the City.

Discussion was held on the selection of a Council liaison. Council Member Samra said he would like to serve as the liaison.

Mayor Espinoza subsequently appointed Council Member Samra as the liaison to the Court Theater Committee.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:20 p.m.

________________________________

City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: March 1, 2011

_________________________________

Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

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

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