Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on August 21, 2012

Meeting Date: October 02, 2012

Agenda Item: #3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on August 21, 2012

clip_image002

MEETING MINUTES

REGULAR CONCURRENT MEETING/LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY

OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON

AUGUST 21, 2012

A Regular Concurrent Meeting of the Livingston City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston was held on August 21, 2012, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza/Successor Agency Chair presiding.

CLOSED SESSION

CALL TO ORDER

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

ROLL CALL

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 Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Agency Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

OPEN SESSION

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

REGULAR MEETING

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:02 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

No announcements were made.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

Council Member Vierra pulled item 5 on the consent agenda.

Council Member Land pulled item 5 for a separate vote.

Mayor Espinoza pulled check numbers 75725 and 75786 for discussion.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to the 4th of July Committee and Livingston High School Hispanic Youth Leadership Club Members – 4th of July Committee and City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez.

City Manager Ramirez presented the item.

Julio Valadez presented certificates to the students and members of the 4th of July Committee.

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

2. California Department of Transportation Grant Award of $100,000 for the Livingston B and Main Street Gateway and Connectivity Plan.

City Manager Ramirez presented the item.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Supervisor Pedrozo commended the City for the 4th of July event; he thought it was a great festival. He thanked Jasmin Bains for her invitation to the memorial services held locally in memory of the victims of the tragedy in Wisconsin. He shared that today was the County’s final budget hearing and the budget was approved and passed. Also the County approved the “One Stop Shop” permitting counter so the County will be easier to visit. He gave an update on the high-speed rail.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Community Development Director Kenney reported that the final comments on the administrative draft were submitted to PMC for the General Plan Update and they are on track to release the public document for comments on August 31. Staff has been involved in the final inspections for Taco Bell; ribbon cutting will be Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. Update on Citywide yard sale. This is being planned for September 22 and 23 and an announcement will be included in the next water bill.

She publicly thanked Josh Meyer of the Local Government Commission for his assistance in helping her submit the successful $100,000 Caltrans grant.

Police Chief Chavez gave an update on the National Night Out. He thanked WestAmerica Bank, the sole sponsors of the event. He also thanked Howard Gentry and the Rhythm Blenders for the music. He attended the Boy Scouts of America Camp at which they held an Explorer Camp. Also, the Explorers were able to participate in the Pebble Beach event. Gave an update on burglary action plan, schools and crosswalks, illegal marijuana growth investigations, animal control and Operation Crystal Clear.

Mayor Espinoza shared that he was approached regarding cockroaches coming out of the Court Theater.

City Engineer Gottiparthy gave an update on the Phase II Waterline Project.

Council Member Vierra asked about Peach Avenue and noted there were parts of the streets that were rough.

City Engineer Gottiparthy responded that this was a temporary patch.

City Manager Announcements and Reports

City Manager Ramirez thanked Supervisor Pedrozo for the opportunity to meet with his staff and discuss the Tax Revenue Sharing Agreement. Yesterday was the Stakeholders Committee meeting. All members received the RFPs for providing solid waste service. Also he has been meeting with Mr. Gallo and addressing several issues for the Winton Parkway area.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Vierra reported that he received a memo regarding the truck parking on Joseph Gallo Drive. He stated the reason why we looked at that was because businesses were complaining that trucks were parking there and now they complain that trucks are not parking there. He asked for a solution, because they can’t have it both ways.

City Manager Ramirez responded there was a formal communication from one of the business owners. He responded back that the City definitely wanted to hear from them so he plans to meet with Chief Chavez and other staff members to get their input. The matter will then come back to Council as an agenda item.

Council Member Vierra thought the trucks were allowed one hour parking, but the Police Department doesn’t have time to go by and mark them every hour to make sure that they move.

Mayor Espinoza commented that the West side is very congested, and then on the East side there are businesses that don’t complain. He originally stated a 30 minute period for parking would be good.

Council Member Land thanked Chief Chavez and the Police Department for the two items that he discussed earlier regarding marijuana. She shared that Back to School Night is this Thursday at

6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. for the different grades.

Council Member Samra said he heard a surrounding city had assigned a fireworks booth to their 4th of July Committee. He thought this was a good idea and should be looked into for ours.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar thanked residents for attending the candlelight vigil. She stated that we cannot forget what occurred in Wisconsin and thanked Jasmin Bains for her efforts.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

None.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

3. Resolution Setting the City of Livingston’s Gann Appropriation Limit for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz presented the item.

Mayor Espinoza opened and subsequently closed the hearing at 7:56 p.m. as there were no public comments.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2012-59 Setting the City of Livingston’s Gann Appropriation Limit for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013. 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

4. Public Hearing – Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the City of Livingston Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz presented the item.

Senior Accountant Bains shared the process of capturing revenues through business licenses.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz gave an update on reserves.

City Manager Ramirez commented on the decisions that were made and stated that recommendations were reviewed again and this was not an easy decision. He stated that the City wanted to present a balanced budget and that we did not want to dip into the reserves. The City provided advance notice to the affected employees concerning layoffs and provided the information to the bargaining units. He and the Finance Director sat down and looked at all the positions within the City and evaluated not only from the cost down point, but also classified, bumping rights, etc. Looking at what would be less impact to all the operations and again reanalyzing over several months and also offered staff that are being affected an opportunity to respond either through written or verbal communication. Mrs. Kenney provided a letter to him and the Council and brought up a lot of key issues. He evaluated all of that information she provided and again the positions that were recommended for layoff still stand.

He explained the following process taken in selecting the two positions in the Police Department. He went to the Chief to ask for a recommendation. The Chief came back after making an evaluation within his Department and those positions were then forwarded to us. Again the decisions came from the Department Head then analyzed by the Finance Director and then the City Manager got involved collectively and then the recommendation was made. He also had the opportunity to meet and confer and talk about the impact of these layoffs with the bargaining units. They provided some good information. It then went back to the Chief and he was informed that these were still the positions being recommended. He reiterated that the decisions were difficult, but we need to move forward.

Chief Chavez relayed that his officers, dispatchers and administrative staff are doing a great job. He subsequently shared his thoughts on the layoffs.

RECESS

The Council took a break at 8:34 p.m. and resumed the meeting at 8:38 p.m.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 noted an old expression about being penny wise and being pound foolish. She pointed out one example that is penny wise, but again foolish. She noted that under the planning division personnel services in the budget document, you see two highlighted numbers and the difference between those two numbers is about $62,000 and if you look at the next page and go to professional services and contract services and slide your finger to the right you see that professional services and contract services have been increased an additional $75,000. She doesn’t understand how if we get rid of Donna Kenney for example, that is going to reduce the number in personnel services by $62,000 and then on the flip side you are going to have additional contract planning services and those numbers are going to jump to $75,000. In essence you are going to be spending $13,000 more. She hopes that someone can explain that to her.

Over the years the City has already lost Richard Warne and Vickie Lewis, the fiscal conservatives who kept revenues and expenses in line with each other year after year. We lost Kathryn Reyes who stepped into the Director of Public Works job duties title and then was denied the title and pay even though she worked her rear off and deserved it. Then we cheated Doug Dunford who was sent packing before anyone could say goodbye and then Donna Barnes who was let go even though she earned a Master’s Degree while working here and then her job was divided up between the office ladies. We lost Rahnni Le who was doing her job and part of Donna Barnes’ job and there was no room for advancement even though she earned a Master’s Degree while working here. She was not replaced and now her job has been divided up. We lost Davis Ruiz who worked for Nanda Gottiparthy and he provided us with maps, but he could not just get by on the three days a week he was working.

Now you want to lay off more people, you want to layoff Donna Kenney the Community Development Director then you are going to need to hire an expensive consultant to keep our development projects going. You are also getting rid of Jim Rightsell, John Mucci, and Nora Becerra. How are you planning on getting this work done and done right if you plan on letting all of these people go?

David Blevins, P.O. Box 76 shared that Jim Rightsell the Public Works Street Supervisor handled all the landscaping and irrigation projects. You will need to get someone with construction experience to run the crew on site. John Mucci takes care of the evidence and then you are going to have an untrained dispatcher cover for him. He got a 100% on his audit. Without Nora Becerra there will be no one to provide customer service for the Police Department except for dispatchers who are busy covering for John Mucci and dispatching.

Myra Bettencourt, 1584 Duke Drive shared that in 2009 the residents elected a new mayor Daniel Varela and a new Council Member Martha Nateras. Our citizens made an excellent choice, our City was blessed to have them, and they had the City heading in the right direction. After having the rate study done the water rates were raised which were extremely necessary. After they were raised our finances were in great shape. Then in August 2010 residents were urged to vote for a recall on Mayor Varela and Council Member Nateras. Residents were promised the water rates would be lowered and they were. Now the City is in financial dire straights. We lost a good Mayor, Councilwoman, City Manager, Police Chief and a good Public Works Director.

Ever since the recall the City has gone downhill, the budget was balanced when they were in. We have an election coming up in November and please know the people you are voting for. Our water rates will go up again, but it won’t be announced until after the elections. The Stakeholders Committee is dragging their feet on this issue to be prepared for higher utility rates. She prays for our City everyday. We need a decent and competitive grocery store in town and we have been promised one for one to two years and still do not have one. We lost Wal-Mart because of one of our Council Members. Council Members, she prayers for you too. She hopes God will guide you into making the right decisions for our City. May God bless you all.

Cindy Lashbrook, 1232 Livingston-Cressey Road stated she has been on the Planning Commission for the County for four years. Your goal was to bring projects and much needed development into Livingston, she doesn’t see a plan if you get rid of your Community Development Director. She didn’t hear from your City Manager on how you are going to take a key position like that and then fill it with blended jobs.

Planning and community development is one of those positions where you have to think long-term. It is just not a thought process and to her it is really important to have a good person to bring you through all those bumps and bruises. She is really having a hard time seeing what the City is going to be doing and if what Katherine Schell Rodriguez says is right about just substituting money on lines in the budget, she doesn’t feel this is a wise thing and hopes we rethink that. She asked if the City will be in a lot of trouble if Proposition 30 doesn’t get passed.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz shared that the City has made significant progress and if that passes it will be addressed at that time.

Debra Lopez, 1543 Monte Cristo Way stated that she asked this Council if they could give us a balanced budget and a solid enterprise fund. And this is not the case, you are a council that came in with the concept of wanting to get people laid off and fired and you have done that from the day you came on board. You talked about it way back in November before the recall, and that was a comment from Ms. Land about how Mr. Warne wasn’t going to be around for very long. He was the first person you took care of when you came on board. And you, Ms. Aguilar promised that maybe what we needed to do was to cut health benefits and you said that everyone needed to have lower benefits. So again this was before you even had problems with the budget you were already on board with how you were going to deal with this. We have you to thank for the mess we are in.

You fire the Chief and City Manager, you had to pay out their severance packages, and you had to have the recall and you had the City pay for it. All of you are responsible for this mess. We had an enterprise fund where the water rates were raised and it was not nice, but it had to be done and you didn’t want to be the bad guys so you rolled them back. As a result of that our enterprise funds are still bleeding, our wells are not fixed and you have done nothing except take care of a grant that was granted when Mr. Warne was here to take care of the pipes. You have continually driven this City down and you are not willing to make the tough decision like raise the water rates.

You have been on the Council many times in the past when it needed to be done and you wouldn’t do it then because you didn’t want to tick the public off. Well this public here is ticked off at every one of you because you got us here. You do not care about this City. You care about the 4th of July, but we have more pressing problems like wells, etc. And now you talk about getting rid of a development person who has been getting us grant monies and just move that job to someone else. She hopes the City Manager can handle grants, so let’s just see how you are going to do it with the staff that you are going to have. Because your staff is looking leaner and leaner and not near as qualified as what you have had in the past. Good Luck City Council.

Doug Gorman, Business Agent, Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 (OE3)commented that he watched this presentation tonight by Odi Ortiz and makes him think that two years ago he stood up there in 2010 and Mr. Warne had a budget that had 44% general fund reserves. And then a year and half later we are at 30%, then you have to look at the fact that back in 2000 the general fund reserve of 7%-13% was high. But you are at 30% and you are laying off people, how does that work. In FY 2011 you were with $1.4 million in unrestricted funds, those are funds for the general public, that means that you can do anything that you want to with it.

These layoffs will save the City $77,000 on the Police side, and one of those positions no one else knows how to do his job. So you are going to have to replace that position with someone or come bargain with me about the duties of our dispatchers and our officers when it comes to doing that. He is going to make us pay through the nose for it. What you are doing here is wrong and he sees no reason and he has seen this road show before in Firebaugh because he represents Firebaugh. Everything he has heard tonight he has heard in Firebaugh, just the locality is different. There is no reason for this. He cannot understand why we are doing any layoffs.

The only other thing that he can think of is that Mr. Mucci is your president for your police officers association and he has caught the City doing certain things with our contracts that we agreed on that do not look favorable for you. I can’t say that for sure but I can say that for 10 years in this shop things are things. He believes Nora Becerra is collateral damage. There is no reason for this and if you want morale back to your Police Department then you need to step up and say $77,000 – is that worth ruining two people’s lives?

Kristen Lucas stated that she doesn’t believe the decisions have been thought through as far as finding other alternatives to save jobs. She asked during their meeting about projects that are being done in the City and where other money is being spent.

We have a holding facility for animals that we are planning on putting in that has no hope of generating any revenue or bringing animals’ home to their owners any sooner. It is going to cost $5,000 for the trailer and $20,000 just to get it functional and she is being told these monies come from a different fund and no one will tell her what fund. Let’s say there are arbitrary funds to get it set-up, where is the money coming from to operate it? Who is going to maintain it? She has been told by her supervisor that it is not going to be her maintaining the shelter. So $20,000, that almost takes her job and for a building that is not going to raise any money and you are going to tell that girl right there she can’t have her job any more? And John Mucci, that job cannot be done by a dispatcher and no offense to our dispatchers, but he is POST certified to do this job. Everyone is talking about how safe they want this town to be and someone is going to mess up because they are not trained to do it. Really look at what you are doing. Maybe postpone this holding facility at least until the economy is better and so that you do not take away jobs that are crucial.

Robert Silva stated that he has worked in the Police Department for almost seven years and he is standing there tonight for evidence. You talk about the best interest for the City; this is not in the best interest of the City. The defense will tear us apart if one of us goes up on the stand and testifies about evidence collection. We do not have the experience; John Mucci has been doing this for a long time. It is going to cost you thousand of dollars of overtime in the training budget to put one of us through. You cannot do a 40 or 80 hour POST course in evidence and make up for years of experience, you cannot pull one of us from the street and expect to pay overtime to go and handle the evidence room. John has gone through many hours of training specifically to do this, and Patrolmen are looking to do other things.

You are going to have to pay an outside agency like DOJ to come down and do crime scenes and their response time is going to be hours to get out here. What about the victims do you expect them to sit around for hours to wait for DOJ to come and process the scene? No, we need to get the scene processed immediately that is why we need this technician to process the scene. Then the officers can start looking for suspects. The best interest of the City if that is what you are after is you need to safe money somewhere else.

Police Officer Daihn Villarreal commented that as far as saving time, and customer time has always been referenced to, that we have a dispatcher center and now that we are dispatching for two cities our dispatcher sits there and answers calls. She is relaying calls from officers, does paperwork, and when people come to the window they have to leave their station to talk to folks to find out what they want. As far as evidence with John, he is, for us, a surgeon. You are asking us to do surgery when you are taking away pretty much doing surgery with a machete when John does it with a scalpel.

Mike Sperry thanked everyone for coming to the meeting. He also thanked the City employees for making this town his home. He has been here a long time and has seen some of you come and go. He doesn’t support the cuts or appreciate the cuts. He asked Council how long they have had this budget. He believes that the Council has placed our community in harms way. He said he hasn’t heard from the two highest paid people in this room that they are willing to take a pay cut.

He commented that the Chief didn’t even look at the guys when he gave his speech. He says he knows that we have been 100% irresponsible with the duties that people like him ask them to do. Only a few months ago you were in DC and you had no clue where you were going with this. Rodrigo in November of 2010 you came to my home and met me in the street, offered me some peaches and we talked about things. I am going to say one thing that you said and you said the City needs businesses opening up as soon as possible or we are going to be in hot water. Please don’t make these cuts.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street stated it was brought up about Richard Warne, the Stakeholders Committee Members and if you remember those two law suits with Foster Farms that cost the City $3,300,000 and if we had that money we would be in good shape right now. And as for the Stakeholders Committee meetings the public is always invited to come, it is advertised when we have a meeting for wastewater, water, and solid waste. The City went out for bids, the companies came in and we interviewed them. He is on the committee, there are two people from the residents and then the business people. We all know the price has to go up on stuff, but it is going to be done the right way.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive stated that he was against the proposed budget cuts. He wanted to speak on behalf of Donna Kenney. She advocated for us as Commissioners for training so we know what we are looking at when we are making decisions. She is extremely knowledgeable and very approachable; she creates a safe place for open communication. These feelings also go towards Filomena Arredondo. They both do a lot of great work and he would encourage you to reconsider. He knows this is not a fun time, but we can be more creative.

John Mucci commented that he found it strange that we were denying a claim on a homicide that we had because it alluded that some staff at the Police Department wasn’t trained, but that is what the claim is. But tonight you are laying off someone that is certified by the state to do crime scenes, so he finds that strange.

He also does special projects for the Police Department. He does Red Ribbon, Toys for Tots, Neighborhood Visits, Bike Rodeo and things like that so he is not sure who will be taking that over. He and Nora Becerra are probably the two biggest people who handle these events for the Police Department. He was told by the City Manager in a meeting last week that the City would do the best that they can when it comes to evidence, he doesn’t feel that is appropriate. When he does evidence he does 100%. You can’t do the best that you can because one mistake and you are in trouble. He did complete a 100% audit last year and it was the first time in an auditor’s history that they found everything; 20,000 items, the first time in his career.

You talk about holiday pay outs and he knows you are talking about the Police Department. He knows that is a mid year review, but we just signed the contract two weeks ago so he doesn’t understand that. All he is asking is to postpone the vote tonight and take another look at the situation. He believes that it all has something to do with his union activities. He has been laid off twice in 20 years with the City and each time he has walked away okay. It is different this time. You have known him for 19 plus years and you have known these guys for less then a year, he doesn’t believe this is right.

Gary Pickner, 1543 Monte Cristo noted not to get discouraged because he thought that the meth bust that happened here the other day, one of the leading officers in fact was up on stage and they kind of ate him up and he started at this Police Department. All these people you want to lay off and I have been here for 16 years and I have seen these young guys come and go. He hasn’t had a real perfect rapport with police officers all his life. All these guys are different they are here a year or so. He asked if these people that got laid off were all white.

Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701 agreed with Mike Sperry. If something is done that we can change so that after Council makes their comments the public can come back up and there are times when that should be done. He wanted to back-up Gurpal Samra on helping us get a booth so the City doesn’t have to raise funds. Please reconsider postponing this decision. There are a lot of valid points that have been brought forward by the public. For Donna Kenney, we need a qualified person to bring in new businesses. Is this really going to be a savings with bringing in a contract person?

Donna Kenney stated that she trusted all Council members had read her memo that she submitted to them and to summarize, she thinks that we can agree that Council’s vision can change every two to four years depending on the elections. In 2004, former City Manager, Forde’s vision was to create a point of contact for development in the City that was a constant force to keep the City functioning through personnel changes on staff and council.

The Community Development Director position provides highly complex administrative support for the Development Review Committee, Minor Subdivision Committee, Planning Commission and City Council as well as shepherd projects through the entitlement process.

The main concern with losing this position is that it will create a bottleneck of projects rather than streamlining them and the associated fees that the City is counting on to bring it out of this tough economy. For those of you in the audience, building and planning bring in many of the fees that the other departments run on. Public comment in 2004 and 2005 from citizens such as Warren Urnberg and Mike Torres highlighted the financial sense of hiring a permanent Planner. As can be seen in her memo, a Contract Planner visiting Livingston once a week was costing the City an average of $20,000 a month. But when she was hired permanently, the cost including benefits dropped to less than $6,000 per month.

In addition developers now had someone who would answer a direct line 8-5 daily and would return calls within hours rather than days. She agrees with Mrs. Schell Rodriquez that there is a shell game going on in pages 89 and 90. Finally, please turn to page 33, a single page of employee benefits summary in the proposed budget. The 2011/2012 budget has seven pages of information where this budget only has one. This section that describes employee benefits is no longer in there. The section she is most concerned with is the missing sick leave section which states that sick leave is to be paid at 75% at time of layoff.

The City’s financial situation will not improve by replacing the permanent Community Development Director with a less educated or more costly contracted Planner. Her staff currently is not trained to interpret Code and would not be covered by the City’s insurance should they share incomplete or incorrect information with the public. The City Manager should look into furloughs and/or a reduction in the hours of non City staff, like outside grant consultants. or perhaps the Council should ask staff for a vote of confidence on the City Manager.

Mike Outten, no address given, commented that he has known everyone here for years; he is not here to throw stones. He stated in general let your egos go and think of your heart. I have known John Mucci for a long time, it is just not his position, it is about your youth and community. All that other stuff doesn’t matter, forget about ourselves and think about other people. Don’t let pride or ego get in your way, just do the right thing.

Nemesio Alcazar, 1450 Second Street added that this is a difficult decision. You have heard enough, don’t do it, figure something else out. You won’t cripple the City if you do something else, hold off. Just do it.

Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing at 9:25 p.m. as there were no further comments from the public.

Council Member Samra stated that he has heard all those comments for a long time, and John is correct , I have know him since 1998. And Nora, Donna, and Jim they are not a number on a budget book, they are people, but sometimes you have to think of everything and take that as a whole piece. You can’t blame the last two years for everything and like they said we had over 105% in the reserves a few years ago. We can blame everybody that we want, but aside from the employees they have very little power in this. If we had those $3 million dollars plus think about where you would be. Everyone skims over that part for whatever reasons and back to the budget, yes 2008 those years were better, but there was some accounting changes that were made, he was not sure how or why and one was in the RDA. Even in 2008 our budget was upside down like $400,000, now you can say this is personal or whatever, but all of us know someone who works for the cities or works for the schools. Merced went through a whole bunch of layoffs, the County went through the whole thing, Stockton is getting ready to file bankruptcy, look at all the cities up and down. They are not making it personal and so is Livingston so unique that we are not going to have those issues.

It is not that our expenditures have gone up, it is the revenues that have gone down, property taxes were changed. Then everyone says this is because of water and sewer rates, those are not the reasons, it has nothing to do with it, the General Fund does not support the Enterprise Funds. It is hard to say that this is personal or it is not, but people who look at it have to look at the greater good. You are looking at $1.5 million of reserves for three months. It does sound like a lot of money, but he has a feeling that there is something else that is going to be done too. They cannot say what the state is going to do 3-6 months from now. No one has said here is the alternative, it is easy to say don’t do it, but it is harder to say here’s how to do it. Unfortunately, Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Ramirez and others can’t just say let’s don’t do it. It is a terrible decision, but what are you going to do. Budgets are not concrete, they are a living breathing document. If anyone has a solution please bring it forward. He doesn’t think anyone would close the door they would listen to you. Come and bring a solution; you can say Council is passing the buck, but we are not. It would be much easier to say, you know what forget it. Sometimes you have to do what is right when you look at the numbers and it is a tough decision.

City Manager Ramirez added that in the meet and confer process Mr. Mucci did bring to his attention and recommended another position within the Police Department and that was the Records Manager and the information that was stated was that if that position was eliminated then that would save the two positions. His position and Nora’s position, and he knows he calculated that, it is not a wash. He stated that he went back to the Chief and Chief evaluated everything.

Council Member Land stated that she did not support opening public comments again, everyone had the opportunity to speak. She stated that she appreciated the time and effort the City Manager and Assistant City Manager and the Chief took to work on this budget. She knows that they worked long and hard on it. She also realizes that sometimes our previous budgets needed to be reallocated, and she understands the need for some layoffs; however, she does not agree with all the identified positions to be laid off.

Specifically the Community Development Director position. She does not believe that hiring a consultant to replace this position will be advantageous for the City particularly when we are trying to bring businesses into the City. She has listened to all the comments mentioned here tonight and this is a very tough decision and she would like everyone to know that she does not take it lightly.

Council Member Vierra asked if water, sewer, and garbage is balanced and are any of them in the negative each month.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz responded that the proposed budget reflects a balanced budget in water and solid waste. The sewer account is not balanced.

Council Member Vierra asked for clarification on fund balances.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz provided an explanation.

City Manager Ramirez added that right now the City is collecting enough money to pay the bare minimum.

Council Member Vierra asked if we are collecting enough.

City Manager Ramirez explained that the sewer is not collecting enough; therefore, we are addressing that so that all three funds are positive.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated she listened to the comments, it is a tough decision and their duty is to consider all the facts. Our City Manager and Assistant City Manager and Chief have gone back and have tried to find out where things went wrong. There are some individuals here who have had their side conversations and it is not called for, they should go outside. We are here to deal with something very serious and we are taking it to heart and with you sitting out there you should also do the same. She added that when you take a decision you base it on the majority of the public and we represent the citizens who are not here today, they are the ones watching at home. So please don’t say we don’t, if we didn’t take it to heart we wouldn’t have run for Council and she was speaking on her own behalf. She is leaving, this is her fourth year and due to health reasons she will not be running again. She will still be here though supporting the Council. Most of you that want to come on board will find it is easier sitting out there saying step up to the plate, etc. When you are up here you will feel the heat, and we cannot answer every person and all the concerns they have, and we are not picking on any one individual.

Did we look at all the facts, they sure did. When they sit in closed session, we go rounds with each other. They looked at the numbers and then the City Manager made the comment in regards to the ones being laid off picking on other staff from their own department and what the heck is that all about. It’s like all for myself, where is your heart there? Personally she was shocked to hear that. These are the times we have and we are not the only city doing this so we have to move forward. We need to try and work on the water rates, the rates do need to go up. She asked that they refrain from saying that they do not have a heart because they do.

Mayor Espinoza thanked everyone for coming. He knows everything seems personal, but it is not. This decision has to be made, there are a lot of people going through this and it is not easy. There is a lot of support here for the people being affected and who know hopefully things will get better. He mentioned that we have to pay back over $400,000 to the state because of a grant for the Court Theater. That has not been addressed in the budget and it is not looking good. Taco Bell is coming in and hopefully that will improve our sales tax. He shared that the County did go through this as well and it is a hard decision.

Council Member Vierra noted that it has been said that other cities have been laying off, but since 2003 we have not filled positions, we have not replaced people.

City Manager Ramirez stated that we have been constantly talking about the budget and we update Council constantly in pieces and as a whole. The public has been part of some budget decisions and all documents at City Hall are public except for some. He added that as far as a pay cut, he has been here for one year and he and other top leadership have not received any additional compensation for anything while others have. We make personal sacrifices too. A lot of my staff put in all kind of hours and do a lot for this community and they make probably less than minimum wage. We are doing more with less and we are doing our fair share.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Samra to approve Resolution No. 2012-60, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the City of Livingston Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013. The motion carried 3-2 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Aguilar, and Samra

NOES: Council Members: Land and Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

CITIZENS COMMENTS

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 stated that if we want to have a side conversation about what is going on that is our right. She has been watching Councils for quite a while and there are plenty of side conversations by other people, we don’t need nor deserve a lecture from the quorum. Others can do it and other Councils and we have the same amount of rights to do it here.

In 2008 she went to a couple of candidates events and she heard a lot of talk about how important the next four years would be. She heard the talk in 2008 about needing to clean up the water and heard the talk in 2008 about needing to bring in more businesses. She heard the talk about needing to do whatever it took and spending the hours to learn what a Council Member’s job really meant and to learn what this town really needed in 2008. But what did she hear at the last Council meeting when they talked about the budget, oh you were new, oh there was chaos, oh in other words it really wasn’t your fault that things were a mess.

She stated “bull”, some of you have been on this Council forever and some have been on this Council for years and the funny thing is that she is hearing excuses from some of you that have been on this Council the longest. It is 2012, things are even worse since you all took over in 2010 and if you didn’t know what you needed to do back then, you shouldn’t have run. And now we are about to go through hell to clean up this mess. Unless you are willing to eat, sleep, and breathe this town until it seeps out of your pours, all of you do not deserve to be on that side of the dais. She loves this town, it is her home and she is tired of excuses and that is why she is running for Treasurer.

Jim Soria, 2868 Franquette Court noted that he has been in public service; he is a retired police officer and worked for the City of Mendota. He lived there for 23 years, and there was 41% unemployment, it was really tough. He supports the Council. He is from Livingston and graduated in 1986 and has three children that go to school here. He was always told not to bring problems and to bring solutions so he agrees with that. He thanked the Police Chief and the officers that protect us. He had a car broken into and Officer Cadiente actually came up with two suspects that were arrested. He supports the City and if he can do any part for Livingston he would like to.

Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street stated that he can’t believe that the Mayor would think that the Police Department would have anything to do with cockroaches coming out of the Court Theater. A couple of works; manipulation and corruption, big nasty work and he wanted to touch on one thing. He asked Odi Ortiz didn’t you say that TA brings in a sizeable amount of taxes? If so, why are we robbing a lot of people who are dropping a lot of money. And you are preying on Taco Bell, economics is this, people are driving down the freeway and they see the sign and then they stop or they don’t. He has heard managers say that they are going to lose business because of Taco Bell, so do you understand that. No new revenue and he projects that and doesn’t need a degree. Foster Farms sued this City twice; they are the greatest employer, greatest community contributor. We do not know how to play fair, you do not want to give people a chance, and he came to them directly and said he wanted to put a business here.

CONSENT CALENDAR

5. Resolution to Award a Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services to GoodStanding Outreach, Reno, Nevada and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

Pulled for discussion.

6. Denial of Claim for Damages from Camilo Rodriguez and Rosario Torralba Hernandez.

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

8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 17, 2012.

9. Resolution No. 2012-61 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Acknowledging the Separate Legal Existence of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston.

Motion: M/S Land/Aguilar to approve consent agenda item 6, 7, and 8 minus the checks for discussion and 9. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

In regards to Item No. 9, Council Member Vierra questioned why we need to have a City Council if the Stakeholders Committee has made the decision that this is the company that we are going to go with. They have interviewed these three companies and we are making the decision. We are making a decision on a decision that was already made. He is not for consultants; he has two things he is not happy with in the resolution.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 stated that when the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee was first started they were told that their job would be to work with the consultants, engineers and the City and make suggestions. That role has changed over the months to where now the Committee has a more expanded role in choosing which consultants to hire, what kinds of water treatments to use and who is going to pick up the garbage. It may be given our history that we may need a public relations firm to help us through the next water rate hearings.

Her point is that she is hoping that if we employ this public relations firm that they will be able to teach the individual members of the Stakeholders Committee how to run the next water rate hearing and how to speak at the next water rate hearing about what is being proposed because if the members are wise enough to recommend which consultants to hire and what engineer should be hired and what suppliers a certain media should be purchased. They should be able to explain to the public at large why they made the decision they did and why the City would be doing what it is doing.

Council Member Land stated that she has been asking for the minutes from the Stakeholders Committee meetings and she just received them. She has not had a lot of updating prior to these meetings, so she wanted to read through the minutes that is why she is asking for a separate vote.

Council Member Samra agreed with Council Members Land and Vierra; what they should do is look at this as a recommendation from the Stakeholders Committee and if Council wishes to change the recommendation. He asked to move this to the next Council meeting so they could review it.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar agreed with Ms. Schell Rodriquez.

Mayor Espinoza stated that they should make the final decision.

Council Member Vierra stated he was glad everyone was seeing the same point and that they should be able to ask questions.

Council Member Samra stated that from here on out it will go this way.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Espinoza to move Item No. 5 to the next meeting. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Mayor Espinoza commented on Item No. 8, check #75725 for gas. This is for one month and is a lot. He knows that gas has gone up a little, but usage seems to be getting out of control.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz responded that the check was for two months.

Council Member Vierra stated that we need to have some monitoring on the gas pump.

Mayor Espinoza commented on check 75786, for SNG and Associates. His question is that the Stakeholders Committee meetings are dragging on and he has been looking at the bills.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve consent agenda Item No. 8, check numbers 75786 and 75725. 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

SUCCESSOR AGENCY CONSENT CALENDAR

10. Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Designating Officers and Adopting Administrative and Operating Procedures.

City Attorney Sanchez presented the agenda items.

11. Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Draft Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS III) for the Period of January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013, Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177.

Brief discussion followed.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2012-1 of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Designating Officers and Adopting Administrative and Operating Procedures, and Resolution No. 2012-2 of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Draft Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS III) for the Period of January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013, Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Agency Members: None

ABSENT: Agency Members: None

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

None.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:40 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.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s