JANUARY 18, 2011 Draft Minutes




JANUARY 18, 2011

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on January 18, 2011, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comment at 5:35 p.m. There was no public comment and the City Council adjourned to the City Hall Conference Room for Closed Session at 5:38 p.m. to discuss the following matters:

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation.

Government Code Section 54956.9(a).

a. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, et al, California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CV000752.

3. Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation

(Government Code Section 54956.9) – (1) Case).


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

The City Council returned to the City Council Chambers for the regularly scheduled meeting.



Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting at 7:07 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra


Mayor Espinoza announced that there was no reportable action.






Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Supervisor Pedrozo was absent.

Acting City Manager Announcements and Reports.

Acting City Manager Vickie Lewis

· Commented she had received a number of complaints regarding Channel 2 and the airing of City Council meetings. She apologized for the inconvenience and said staff was working on getting this situation resolved.

Mayor Espinoza said the City Council was also sorry for the inconvenience.

Council Member Samra suggested the City Council look into purchasing a soft touch keyboard for the Minute Recorder. Assistant City Manager Vickie Lewis said she was investigating such a purchase.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Gurpal Samra

· Commented that it appeared that the rebroadcasting of City Council meetings was not a big issue and suggested re-airing the meetings for 2-3 days.

Assistant City Manager Lewis asked how long Council Member Samra would like this meeting to be broadcast. Mr. Samra said until the weekend. He knew the City’s IT group was working on the issues with Channel 2.

· Noted that last summer the past City Council passed Resolutions 2010-14, relating to the responsibilities and duties of the City Attorney and Resolution No. 2010-15, regarding City warrant procedures. He wanted to revisit these issues and bring back the resolutions for consideration. He asked if the resolutions had to be rescinded.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez suggested placing the resolutions on the next meeting agenda for discussion.

· Noted that he knew the City was working on the 2011/2012 fiscal year budget and that the current budget document was 800-1000 pages. He wanted to have a more condensed budget that was understandable. Mr. Samra said the budget needed to be understandable; the old budget process was easier to understand. He knew the Acting City Manager was working on the budget and before the budget was presented to the Council for adoption he felt the Council needed to have workshops and have staff explain their requests.

· Commented that he would like to have the City department heads come before the Council and inform them on what activities were happening in their respective departments. He requested that the Acting City Manager arrange to have a department head present a report starting with the next Council meeting.

Council Member Frank Vierra

· Reported the Merced Union High School District received a program improvement list of schools from the Department of Education. This is a yearly process where they rate proficiency, English, language arts, academic performance, and examine the graduation rate. Livingston High School met the 90% graduation target rate and was the only school in the school district that was not on the program improvement list. The statement that was sent to the high school said, “We would like to congratulate the Livingston High School community on being the only district school not MPI and we encourage you to continue the work of using data to drive the instruction which will result in continued students’ success.”

Council Member Theresa Land

· No reports.

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

· Announced that there would be a 4th of July Committee meeting on January 24, at 7:00 p.m. and she hoped the attendance would be good.

· Thanked Kathryn Reyes for taking Council Members for a walk-through at the domestic sewer plant on Saturday along with Pete Gallegos from EMS. She appreciated the time they took on their day off to inform the Council about sewer plant matters.

Council Member Samra said he believed Ms. Reyes had received a new certificate which was beneficial for the City. He asked her to comment on the certification.

Ms. Reyes reported that she was informed on December 31 that she passed and received a State of California Grade III water treatment certification which was something useful for the City.

In another matter, Ms. Reyes asked if anyone had a chance to drive by the Vintage West Park on the corner of Peach and Amaretto. She said the City added about 12-15 trees at the park.

Mayor Espinoza also thanked Ms. Reyes for the tour of the domestic wastewater treatment plant. He said they also took a tour in the area of the Merced River where the City owns 60 acres of land. There was a beautiful picnic area which he thought would be great for the City and the community. Mayor Espinoza asked if they were also taking down the fence at the Parkside Park.

Ms. Reyes said the fence fell down. She will give the developer a call and ask him to either remove the fence or put it back up. Ms. Reyes felt the fence should be removed because the park was now owned by the City.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar asked when there would be a dedication ceremony for the Parkside Park.

Ms. Reyes said she envisioned having a grand opening at the park; however, the City was waiting to name the park and she also wanted to have a sign installed.

Acting City Manager Lewis noted the Council had asked for this item to come back to them to rename the park.

Mayor Espinoza asked if naming the park could be placed on the next meeting agenda.

Council Member Samra suggested the Livingston Historical Society provide some names of those within the City that could be considered.

Mayor Espinoza asked the City Engineer to provide an update on the Peach Avenue construction project.

City Engineer Gottiparthy reported the project was progressing; however the contractor encountered problems with the underground utilities and had decided to replace some of them. Mr. Gottiparthy said the contractor was working with Pacific Gas and Electric and Merced Irrigation District for the undergrounding. He added that work was back in gear and the contractor was trying to catch up.

Mayor Espinoza asked Recreation Superintendent Jacquie Benoit if the age limit for basketball sign-ups was dropped. Ms. Benoit said the age limit was 14. Mayor Espinoza noted that someone had told him the age limit was 12. Ms. Benoit said it was up to 12 and then more kids wanted to play so they changed it to 14.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

· Commented there was a regular meeting of the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Governing Board on Thursday, but he would be unable to attend.

He wanted the public to know that he would not have a report on this meeting.

· Noted that he wanted to discuss a potential downtown farmers’ market. He would like to have a few vendors, but not necessarily a certified farmers’ market. Mr. Espinoza said he would bring this up later and felt this would be a good topic for the Parks and Recreation Commission to discuss once the Commission was reactivated.




Donna Kenney, 6530 East Avenue, Turlock wanted to get information out to all Livingston High School seniors that the Annual Rotary North-South Football Game was being organized for this summer. Livingston High School had the possibility of three players playing on the team this year as well as Coach Lacey volunteering to help coach. The focus of the game was to provide scholarships to high school seniors. The scholarship applicants did not have to be football players. They could be any senior in any of the high schools that were participating. Rotary was going to be giving away eight or nine $1,000 scholarships and she encouraged all seniors to meet with their counselor and apply.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston commented that she liked having the stop sign at Park and Main; it made the intersection safer. She wished that more people would attend Planning Commission meetings. Ms. Schell Rodriguez noted that a representative who drove two hours to attend a meeting learned that their item was continued for at least two more meetings. She asked what did it matter who was related to who when it came to who owned property. When had the family tree come into play with items on the agenda?


Mayor Espinoza presented the consent calendar items.

Council Member Vierra asked that item #1 be pulled for discussion.

1. Resolution for the Acceptance of the Federal Safe Routes to Schools Cycle 2 SRTSL- 5256 (008) Project, Authorizing the City Clerk to Record a Notice of Completion with Merced County and Authorizing the Acting City Manager to Release Performance and Materials Bonds and Make Final Payment of Retention Monies to JJR Construction, Inc.

City Engineer Gottiparthy said this was a Federal grant project that was in progress and about 60% complete. There had been some drainage issues that were incorporated into the design.

Council Member Vierra said the reason he asked was because a complaint had been made to him that there were still some open trenches.

City Engineer Gottiparthy gave an explanation for the open trenches. He said staff had been in discussions with the contractor. A Public Works crew was taking care of the problem.

2. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on November 16, 2010.

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

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to approve the consent calendar items. The motion carried 5-0.


4. City Council Provide Staff Direction on Appointments to Livingston Parks and Recreation Commission.

The agenda item was presented by Acting City Manager Lewis.

Mayor Espinoza noted staff had not provided an option in case the Council wanted to make appointments tonight. He noted the Council might want to appoint all six applicants, whom he favored. They had earned their spot on the Commission.

Council Member Vierra asked if the Council could take action tonight.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez said he thought that what Mayor Espinoza was asking, was could they vote on Commissioners when that option was not included in those recommendations from staff. He said the Council could choose that direction and have it brought back with a very clear title.

Council Member Samra said the City had advertised and had six applicants and they did represent the community. He felt the Council should move forward and appoint the six applicants and advertise for the one remaining vacancy.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commented the City had spent plenty of time waiting for individuals to come forward to apply. She felt the Council should appoint the six individuals that did apply and then advertise for one more spot on the Commission.

Council Member Vierra agreed. He thought that two years had been long enough to reactivate the Commission. Mr. Vierra said he noticed one of the applicants was a City employee and asked if this was a problem?

Interim City Attorney Sanchez felt there would not be a problem since this was not a paid position.

Motion: M/S Vierra/Espinoza to appoint David Blevins, Hector Becerra, Manuel Cota, Joylynn Peterson, Ricardo Soria and Julio Valadez to the Parks and Recreation Commission and authorize staff to advertise for the remaining vacancy. The motion carried 5-0.

5. City Council Provide Staff Direction on Appointments to Livingston Planning Commission.

The agenda item was presented by Acting City Manager Lewis.

Council Member Vierra asked if the Council could vote individually on this item. Mayor Espinoza said yes.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar noted this was just a recommendation. She added that interviews were a great way of getting to know a person, but she also favored both of these gentlemen being appointed.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to appoint Harpreet Bains to the Planning Commission. 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

Motion: M/S Land/Aguilar to appoint Mario Mendoza to the Planning Commission. 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

6. City Council Review and Consideration of a Motion to Amend the Minutes for the City Council Meeting Held on August 17, 2010.

Mayor Espinoza presented the agenda item.

Discussion was held on the two options given of whether to remove or leave in the text suggested by the previous City Attorney and added after the Closed Session items at the August 17, 2010, meeting.

Council Member Vierra also noted an error on page 3 of the Minutes of the same meeting. He believed that Ms. Aguilar had not made the statement as shown.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez said a motion should be made to approve the amended Minutes and then list the amendments individually.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to:

1. Select Option #1 and remove the text after the Closed Session items of August 17, 2010, added at the request of the former City Attorney.

2. Correct Ms. Aguilar’s comments under Council Members’ Reports of the August 17, 2010, meeting, to read: “She said since she has been on the Council we haven’t had applicants, so she has asked the City Manager to open up a recruitment for applications.”

The motion carried 4-1, with Council Member Vierra voting no on #1 of the motion.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:54 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: February 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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s