Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on August 7, 2012

Meeting Date: October 02, 2012

Agenda Item: #2. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on August 07, 2012





AUGUST o7, 2012

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on August 7, 2012, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.


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 comments. There were no comments from the public. The Council subsequently adjourned to Closed Session at 6:04 p.m. to discuss the following matters:

1. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(b)(2)]

Number of Cases: 2

2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(a)] – Michael Sperry vs. City of Livingston, et al,

Merced County Superior Court Case No. CV002762


The Council came out of Closed Session to begin the Regular Meeting.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:11 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


No announcements were made.


Council Member Vierra pulled agenda Item No. 7 for discussion.

Council Member Samra requested that Check No. 75677 be pulled for a separate vote.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar requested that Check No.75606 be pulled for discussion.






Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.


City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Community Development Director Kenney stated that Taco Bell was moving along and their grand opening was scheduled for August 22. Also staff is moving forward with the revised General Plan update for public comments. She gave an update on Livingston Commons and two antenna modifications were recently approved so residents will be seeing some work going on at the Walnut tower. The China Garden Café will be moving into the Waffle Palace location.

Police Chief Chavez announced that tonight was National Night Out and the event was currently in progress on Main Street. WestAmerica Bank sponsored the event.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Ramirez commented that in response to Mrs. Alvernaz’s requests from the last meeting, the City Engineer is out on leave, but is currently working on her requests. Also Recreation Superintendent Benoit is working on the fireworks ordinance. He noted that for next year’s celebration, the 4th of July Committee will be using Max Foster Park. He reported that for the sweet potato festival, total expenses were $21,600 and revenue was $17,100, with a loss of $4,500. The 4th of July Committee profited $9,000 from the event.

Council Member Vierra asked if the Committee was going to be covering the City’s loss.

City Manager Ramirez responded no, that was not the agreement. He relayed that the City is now taking utility payments via the website and currently has taken in $14,000 in transactions. Also there was a mandatory pre-bidders conference for a sidewalks project. Seven bidders were present and he is hoping to receive all bids by the 15th of August.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Vierra stated that he has received comments from residents regarding the landscaping on Emerald Avenue, Peach Avenue and Winton Parkway. They wanted to know if the water has been turned off because it is so dry. He noted that he has a terrible rotten egg smell in his home off Peach Avenue as do his neighbors – is there a connection?

He stated that we pay for everything at the Child Care Center on Walnut and the City doesn’t even get to use that building. He understood that they closed down the facility and felt that we shouldn’t be picking up that entire bill. He reported that a pack of four large dogs were running down the alley between Prusso and First Street. He mentioned there are a lot of students out and ladies walking in this area. He asked who do we call about this problem.

City Manager Ramirez said to please call the Police Department and they will send out Public Works if it is a weekend, or if the animal control officer is on duty she would then handle the problem.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz reported that he had a meeting last week with Public Works and they went over the special districts and addressed the landscaping and watering issues; they will be targeting those areas this week.

Mayor Espinoza asked that Olive and Hammatt be added to the list as well.

Council Member Land added that on the baseball field fence line the weeds needed attention.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz responded that chemicals were ordered and those weeds would be taken care of.

Council Member Land thanked Police Chief Chavez. She went on a ride along with Officer Kirk and stated that there was nothing like it at all in her experience. She has respect for the officers; she witnessed a lot going on that night. The young people today are making poor choices with their lives. She also noted that Officers Radke, Vieira, and Ramirez all did an awesome job. She added that school is starting up again on Tuesday, August 14th and to please be careful and remember there are no buses to transport the students.

Council Member Samra thanked Chief Chavez for the concerns and assigning patrol in the Sikh Temples; it will put a lot of people’s minds at ease. He agreed with Mr. Vierra regarding the dog problem.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar noted that her absences have been accountable; she was out on medical leave from the first of July. Everyone has her number if they have concerns with her not being in attendance. She shared that school was starting and it is very important for parents to make those complete stops when dropping off their children. She asked Chief Chavez for more information on the boxing ring.

Chief Chavez responded that the boxing program is run through the Sheriff’s Department. It is a really nice ring, and there is a trainer there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3:00 p.m. He noted that participants must keep their grades up. It is a really good program to keep kids off the streets.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza stated that his heart went out to the Sikh community and the City will try and do as much as it can to protect the community.




Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 commented that she has been walking around town regularly and her normal route takes her down Hammatt over the overpass around the Catholic Church then back up Main Street and then up Park and back home. She has noticed the dry weeds disappearing from the side of the road near the Hammatt overpass. Yesterday she noticed a gentleman from Public Works out early in the morning with a rake and hoe and there he was raking away without a complaint. She wanted to publicly acknowledge that it was nice to see someone from Public Works out there doing some hard physical labor and making our town look a bit nicer. She wanted to say thank you!

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street commented that the individual working on Campbell and Hammatt takes pride in what he does. He takes the extra step and he would like to see all employees get an “atta boy” for that. He asked if the watering days were being worked on and getting set-up.

Collette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255 stated that she came here tonight to get her answers and she was told she would have those answers. She stated that the City of Livingston is working on releasing their General Plan, her questions are simple and every single person should be able to answer her questions. It shouldn’t be because the City Engineer is not here.

The question is have the Master Plans been corrected? They had inaccurate information they are using as a support document to the General Plan. What happens to the wells of the citizens in the County if they get in the City of Livingston General Plan boundaries, will they be allowed to exist? For how long will they be able to exist, and if it goes out will it be able to be replaced? These answers should be at the top of everyone’s head; it should be that she shouldn’t have to come to another meeting to get her answers.

Also the 42” proposed illegal trunk line, it’s in the Master Plan and costs multi millions of dollars. A huge expensive and whose going to pay for its future growth. It needs over 100,000 people to work properly so the citizens of Livingston will be on the hook for millions of dollars. This growth is not going to happen. The rates will sky rocket and it could even bankrupt the City. These things need to be addressed and they are crucial to the City’s financial health.

Also your roads, there was a bridge planned over the Merced River with no funding, but for the roads to work in the Master Plan the bridge was there and as a federal navigated waterway. How is the circulation system? The traffic system how will it work? You need to get emergency personnel, ambulances, fire trucks and police service. This is a major route of evacuation if something bad happens to our City.

City Manager Ramirez responded that he appreciated her comments. He stated that we have a lot of things going on and we did promise to have her answers and he was disappointed in himself for not having them. Once the property is annexed into the City the property owner must seek City services which include water, sewer and garbage. That triggers everything else and there could be special circumstances and because he doesn’t know he would like to rattle off the answers, but it requires further attention.

Mayor Espinoza commented on the wells and stated that if anyone wants to come into the City limits they can negotiate with the City. They have to sign to come into the City, they cannot be forced.

Community Development Director Kenney commented that only properties that are adjacent to the existing City limits that desire to come into the City and pay for an application and a CEQA report can be brought into the City. That is the City’s normal process. It must then go to LAFC for their approval. Annexation with development triggers the removal of wells.

Council Member Samra noted that within the Sphere of Influence the property owner would have to initiate an application process to annex in.

Mayor Espinoza stated that the only exception would be a public use for that property.

Community Development Director Kenney stated that eminent domain can only occur within the City limits; the City does not have the authority to use eminent domain outside the City limits.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street stated that he was here again to ask about the high school and the crossing at Peach Avenue. The stop light for the crossing is in the wrong place and there aren’t any signs saying student crossing and to slow down. He added that the kids are always jay walking and that something is going to happen there.

Mayor Espinoza noted that the school district put the walkway in front of the school.

Mr. Torres noted that it is a public street and the stop light is in the wrong spot.

City Manager Ramirez stated the he would present this to the school administrators.

Mr. Torres commented that the tarp on top of the Court Theater doesn’t look very good; it is always flopping around.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated that she did recall Mr. Torres speaking on the crosswalk before and she believed the City Engineer was going to look into it.

Council Member Land added that with no buses we are going to have a higher traffic flow of students.

Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701 stated that he agreed about the dog situation. He thanked the Council again for the 4th of July Festival and the City Manager. They had their differences, but they met face to face and then agreed that they were putting on this event for the community. He commented on the bill and asked if the City could do an intercity transfer among funds instead of sending out a bill.

City Manager Ramirez stated that the City needed to invoice.

Mr. Valadez added that Joylynn Peterson did a great audit and he trusted her 100%. They check each other and he wants to make sure it goes the right way.

City Manager Ramirez noted that he will make sure the right protocol is done.

Mr. Valadez reiterated his thanks again to Mr. Ramirez for holding to what he said. He also stated that he knew a warrant was pulled for discussion on the consent calendar and if anyone had questions on what was spent for them to call him.

Mayor Espinoza added that there were no receipts attached to the warrant.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commented on the need for receipts. When they review the warrants and it says receipts will follow is unacceptable, plus being part of this committee she knows that all receipts must be accounted for.


1. Resolution No. 2012-57 Approving Authorized Staff Signatories to the Awarded Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Grant CML-5256(012).

2. Resolution No. 2012-58 Approving Submittal of a Grant Application to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for HOME Investment Partnerships Program Funds.

3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 7, 2012.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 12, 2012.

5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 19, 2012.

6. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on July 26, 2012.

7. Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 3, 2012.

Motion: M/S Land/Aguilar to approve consent agenda items 1 through 6. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Council Member Vierra pulled item 7 for discussion. He noticed there were six more bills for the festival and he asked if they were included. He also asked if the County had raised their animal control fees.

City Manager Ramirez confirmed that the Police Chief did mention the County had raised their fees.

Council Member Vierra asked don’t they normally notify us as a Council.

Council Member Land added that she believed it was mentioned at the last meeting.

Motion: M/S Land/Vierra to approve consent agenda item 7 excluding check numbers 75606 and 75677. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve consent agenda item 7, check number 75677. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to continue payment of check number 75606. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None


8. Designate Voting Delegate for Annual League of California Cities Conference

City Manager Ramirez presented the item.

Collette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255 stated that a lot of times when you go to a conference there is a lot of pressure to vote the way they want you to vote, so whoever goes, stand firm and strong. Do not be pressured into a certain way of thinking.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to designate Mayor Espinoza as the voting delegate for the Annual League of California Cities Conference. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

9. Update/Discussion on Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget: General Fund.

City Manager Ramirez presents the item.

Collette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255 commented that she likes the idea of saving the money and not getting into the reserves. She mentioned that in November they are voting for a tax increase; people are tired of tax increases, tired of their services going down and tired of reading things in the paper and they are getting angry. Businesses are not coming to California because our state has many things that are difficult for businesses to offer them. She believed that it is wise for the Council to count on the tax credit failing. She stated that every single penny is precious.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 stated that as we get ready to start talking about cuts and layoffs, she wanted to make a point. If you back up and go to 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006 and look at those points you would find that those budgets were almost as perfectly balanced as you can get. If you back it up to 2005 you would have found that under the former administration there was a wide gap between 18-20% difference between the revenues and expenses. She knows because she has looked at the numbers from old budgets.

Her point is that this Council and Councils before from 2006 until 2010 have had budgets as nearly balanced as could be for Livingston. In 2010 just after November they start going to hell; and she holds responsible the members of the Council who allowed it to get that way. And you did not listen to us who came before you and said pay attention, look where you are going, things are getting out of control, we are heading for bad times. Now you are actually looking at laying off people. She questioned which one of you up there is going to help pick up the slack and do the work for the people that you are going to let go. She asked how is the work going to get done, or do you have someone in your own back pocket that you think you are going to bring in at a lower price?

Community Development Director Kenney stated that City staff does not support reorganization or layoffs.

City Manager Ramirez noted that we have all the information available for anyone who is interested in seeing the data regarding the decline in the reserves.

Council Member Land commented that it states here that possible reductions in work force layoffs. She asked for staff to explore the possibility of furloughs as well.

City Manager Ramirez gave an explanation on furloughs – they take too long to negotiate and are a big financial burden on people.

Council Member Samra stated that as far as revenue and expenditures, Livingston is not alone. Just go six miles to Atwater and then on to Merced and the County and look at the number of people that had to do this. He added that we could have acted on this last year, but we held up against hope. And dipping into the reserves, it was those foolish lawsuits we were dealing with a couple of years back, we spent almost $4 million, if we had that money right now, just think about it. There are a lot of things, and it is easy to blame Councils that are not here, but are you going to blame them for the downsizing of the economy. It is easy to sit there and say you shouldn’t have done this or that. We are taking our actions and I don’t think the City Manager or this administration has that many things they haven’t looked into. It is realty.

Mayor Espinoza added that the last five years we spent $30 million fighting Foster Farms and just threw that money away. A lot of cities are going through bankruptcy and laying off a lot of officers.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated that we have been trying to make cuts without affecting staff. We have to think about a lot of this had to happen when we were changing new management, Finance Director, Council. Things are not as bad as they look and we are here as Council Members and each one of us has to step up to the plate. We are not going to keep everyone happy and the majority of those people that wanted us to make those calls are out there. She respects all of you who come and give your opinion, that is great, but she thinks there is a bigger percent that is out there that is expecting them to do the right thing.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:39 p.m.


Deputy City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: October 2, 2012


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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