MAY 01, 2012 Draft Minutes





MAY 1, 2012

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on May 1, 2012, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra (Excused)

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments. There were no comments from the public. The Council subsequently adjourned to Closed Session at 5:32 p.m. to discuss the following matters:

1. Public Employee Performance Evaluation

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Attorney

2. Public Employee Performance Evaluation

(Government Code Section 54957

Title: City Manager

3. Conference with Legal Counsel—Potential Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(b)(1)]

Number of Cases: 1

4. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Agency Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees


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



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:02 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


City Attorney Sanchez stated that the majority of the Council had decided to continue the two evaluations until the entire Council is present.


Council Member Vierra pulled Item 2 from the consent calendar for discussion.

Council Member Samra requested that Item 2 be pulled as well.


1. Presentation by Livingston Middle School Roadmap Team – Underage Alcohol Access in Livingston – Group Members Jacob Long, Samantha Henry, Ramandeep Kaur, Corey Nego, Faateh Mukhtar and Group Advisor Christopher Jensen, Alcohol and Drug Prevention Specialist, Merced County Department of Mental Health.

A Power Point and narration was presented by the students. Discussion followed.




Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.


City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Police Chief Chavez gave an update on the Police Department which included: Drug Take Back Day on Saturday where they collected about 100 prescriptions; abandoned vehicle abatement program getting started; Safety Fair May 12th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Bicycle Rodeo, May 19th from 8 a.m. to1 p.m.; Burglary Prevention Action Plan update. He shared information regarding 2012 statistics, education, prevention, proactive enforcement and proactive investigations.

They have received some complaints of large trucks parking on Joseph Gallo Drive, the only location with four hour truck parking signs.

Community Development Director Kenney commented that the Chief can add or remove signage for the general welfare and safety of the citizens; staff would like direction from the Council tonight as to whether or not to remove those signs and replace them with no parking signs.

Mayor Espinoza asked if it would be better to move the time to one or two hours for those that stop and eat.

Chief Chavez said that if you put it for one hour, you would have to monitor it and come back and continue to monitor it. The adjacent properties are being impacted by the trucks parking on the streets. He doesn’t know if they are impacted by the public.

Council Member Vierra commented that on B Street when you get to O’Reilly’s there are three or four trucks there and sometimes parking close to the edge of the street. He thought it was posted as No Parking on B Street.

Chief Chavez responded that even if there were no signs, there are some ordinances supporting no parking.

Mayor Espinoza commented that if there are safety issues the Chief could come back later and make a recommendation.

Council Member Samra asked if staff could find out if the trucks are local or just traveling through.

Director Kenney stated that she has called on trucks parking illegally and they have had out of state plates.

Mayor Espinoza thought that TA has a lot of customers, some maybe just taking a nap, and that

TA could expand and accommodate more drivers. He stated that they will go with staff’s recommendations.

Council Member Land asked that if truck parking is affecting the adjacent properties, we should take down the signs.

Chief Chavez commented that he is trying to analyze why trucks park there rather than the parking lot. He believes it is a convenience to park there and that is why it is occurring.

Director Kenney announced that Taco Bell is close to getting their grading permit. Staff recently completed an estoppel with Livingston Commons for the Development Agreement; completed and signed the last of the tax credit financing papers for the Livingston Family Apartments and completed the pre-application review for a small church at one of the suites at Liberty Market. Stated that two antenna site plan design review projects are going before the Planning Commission.

Announced that all Planning Commissioners will have training in mid-May. Staff is working on a mailing list and a letter is drafted to notify the property owners that the name change is coming soon for Livingston-Cressey Road / North Main Street.

Mayor Espinoza asked if the signs were ordered.

City Manager Ramirez responded that he didn’t know and would check with staff.

City Engineer Gottiparthy reported that the picnic shelter is almost complete and at the last Council meeting a tentative ribbon cutting date was set for May 12th.

City Manager Announcements and Reports

City Manager Ramirez announced that he made contact with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department to have prisoners come out and do weed abatement one day during the week and possibly weekends. There is a small cost.

Gave an update on the July 4th festivities and Sweet Potato Festival. He met with growers and got some input; he appreciated their time. The festivities are planned for July 6th – 8th and July 7th is the fireworks display. He relayed that AV Thomas Produce is going to donate some funding for the 4th of July.

He and the Mayor attended Legislative Action Days in Sacramento. It was a busy schedule and there was a lot of impact to us, so there was a lot of representation from different city managers. He announced that there was a $50 early registration discount to attend the September 5th – 7th League of California Cities Conference in San Diego. We need to know who can go before May 25th in order to register. He asked the Council to please let Betty Cota know.

He also gave an update on animal control addressing the issues in the community. He said we had training for our staff and they have identified a location where we are going to have a temporary animal housing facility. Also Chief Chavez is working on the manual on how to handle animals and on clinics for spaying, neutering and vaccinations.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Vierra commented to Chief Chavez that he has received some responses back at the high school about the Explorer Program; the students are talking a lot so the program is generating interest. He asked in the County between Robin and the street that goes into Parkside, a gentleman on the north side of the street has had two big truck trailers in his front yard for about the last three months on the dirt side and they haven’t moved. This is becoming a truck parking lot and when it rains the water goes clear out to the middle of the road so with the trucks and water there is trouble getting through. He thinks it is a County problem, but asked if we can suggest that the County look at that area.

Council Member Samra stated that Monday through Thursday of last week he was in Washington, DC on the One Voice Program trip. He gave a brief overview of his trip.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar thanked the residents that attended the Relay for Life. She was very proud that Campus Park School earned a little over $5,000. On Friday Campus Park is having a Cinco de Mayo celebration; the annual carnival is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and volunteers are needed.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza shared that next Tuesday he will be presenting the Anna Fuentes scholarship award to Gurgit Kaur who will be attending Stanford University.

Council Member Vierra stated that Merced Union High School District has laid off 19 people. Next year there will be no bus service for a five mile radius. The union is still getting the word out to parents who he doesn’t think have a clue. They are busing a few in the Buchach area and then the Golden Valley area because they have to cross Highway 99.

Council Member Samra commented that one of the people on the One Voice trip was a board of trustee’s member and he gave her a copy of the letter from our little citizen Lovejo and voiced his concern about the five mile radius situation.

Council Member Vierra added that the board was not listening to the people.

Council Member Samra noted that he did voice his opinion.

Council Member Land asked that Mr. Vierra’s report about the school bus layoffs be translated into Spanish.

City Attorney Sanchez (in Spanish) said that Council Member Vierra just reported that many of the school bus drivers will be laid off so students will no longer have bus transportation to school for a 5-mile radius. All the students that live far away will have to rely on parents, relatives, or friends to take them to school.

Mayor Espinoza knows one student that lives on Pepper Street close to East Avenue. That is almost considered Turlock, but since it is still Ballico, she has to come to school in Livingston.

Mayor Espinoza (in Spanish) said he knows a Livingston High student that lives on Pepper Street close to East Avenue almost in Turlock, which is about seven miles from Livingston. It’s going to be difficult for these families to bring their children to school.




Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. 163 stated she has been looking through the 2010 water permit amendment and had a couple of questions.

From page 9 Wells #7 and #10 are abandoned and according to this report neither one has been properly destroyed so what do you plan to do with them?

From page 10, what happens if the state finds out that this conversion program is not being enforced and has been discontinued?

From page 15, what are we going to do about Well #16 without a person with a treatment II license? She further asked if we are going to shut down the well and what are we going to do without Kathryn Reyes?

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street stated that he got a shock this evening at his door. It was the Police Chief and they had a short talk. He was glad to see him out and about and distributing handouts on crime prevention tips. He asked about the parking on Joseph Gallo Drive.

Frank Borges called Monday and wanted to meet with him. His concern is that there are businesses looking at those areas and there are tractor trailers located there. His concerns with the vehicles are the dropping of diesel and oil. He thanked Public Works for their quick response the other day. He talked to Kathryn Reyes regarding a pothole on Joseph and Park Streets and within 24 hours it was fixed. He thanked Public Works; they all do a good job. And the Police Department for having the event dealing with the disposal of prescription drugs. He had a big bag and was glad to see this happen in Livingston.

Joylynn Peterson, 2858 Evergreen Court gave an update on the May 12th golf tournament at Rancho Del Rey in Atwater. This Saturday “Fill the Boot” will take place on Main Street to raise funds for Parks and Recreation. McSports Night at McDonalds on May 15th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a basketball fundraiser is planned with a grand prize of $1,000 for the winner.

Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street noted that there is a Fire Department pancake breakfast this Saturday from 6 a.m. to 12 noon. He announced a long time ago that he was running for a position on the Council. We have four seats up and asked if anyone has thrown their hat in.

Council Member Land responded yes.

Mayor Espinoza said maybe, but it was still too early.

Mike Sperry announced he was running for Mayor.

Alex McCabe, 641 Main Street gave an update on the Chamber of Commerce and commented that the Chamber had an air conditioning unit donated and Best Choice Heating and Air is donating the labor and installation. He thanked Jim Gordon for setting up a meeting with the aviations department and they are hoping to hold the first workshop in early June.

Director Kenney announced that May 19th and 20th will be the third annual City-wide yard sale. Maps will be available the Friday before the event.


2. Resolution Awarding a Construction Contract to California Trenchless, Inc., Dublin, CA for the Phase 2 Water Line Improvements Project, Approving Expenditure of Funds and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and any Change Orders thereto with California Trenchless, Inc.

Pulled for discussion.

3. Resolution No. 2012-34 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Acting in the Capacity as Successor Agency to the Former Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Adopting an Amended Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 (1) for the Period Ending June 30, 2012.

4. Resolution No. 2012-35 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Acting in the Capacity as Successor Agency to the Former Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Adopting a Draft Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS) for the Period of July 2012 – December 2012 Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 (1).

5. Resolution No. 2012-36 Opposing Governor Brown’s Proposed Reductions to Early Care and Education Child Development Programs.

6 Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 20, 2012.

7. Approval of Warrant Register Dated April 26, 2012.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Espinoza to approve consent agenda Items 3 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

City Engineer Gottiparthy presented Item 2.

Council Member Vierra stated that bids ranged from $1 million up to $2 million and asked what they saw that was worth $2 million. He asked are we going to get the same type of job with a low bid.

City Engineer Gottiparthy gave an explanation.

Council Member Vierra asked that due to the fact that Merced County has the highest unemployment rate, are they using any local employees.

City Engineer Gottiparthy responded that they did not make that a requirement as part of the bid and they will discuss that when putting together the contract. He also mentioned that he will check into its legality.

Brief discussion followed.

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2012-37 Awarding a Construction Contract to California Trenchless, Inc., Dublin, CA for the Phase 2 Water Line Improvements Project, Approving Expenditure of Funds and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and any Change Orders thereto with California Trenchless, Inc.

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


8. Review Sections of the Livingston Municipal Code for a Future Workshop.

Community Development Director Kenney presented the item.

Mayor Espinoza asked if this was going to cost the City Attorney more time since we are in a deficit.

Director Kenney responded that at this point she is not interested in bringing in the City Attorney; we shouldn’t need to access him until workshop time. She would like Council to review sections and, provide comments directly to her. She will list the proposed changes on an Excel sheet and we can go over them in the workshop.

City Attorney Sanchez stated that this is a good point. Just those five sections provided have first amendment issues and are addressed in some recent case law. Then you have your news racks, first amendment issues there as well. He stated that he knew Director Kenney is just bringing these forward for input from the Council and will then schedule a workshop to discuss them. He will be able to give staff input on how much legal work would be required to address all the workshop issues.

Mayor Espinoza stated he was just bringing this forward because it seems we spend a lot of time on those issues.

Council Member Vierra stated that these chapters were reviewed in 2006 and brought to us, but they were reviewed by the former Police Chief. He asked that maybe Chief Chavez could look at these and the City Attorney could deal more with the legal aspects.

Mayor Espinoza stated that that there have been some law changes.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated that she spoke to the City Manager about one of the ordinances and she is not sure if it is on here and it was one of her main concerns. Director Kenney provided the Council Members with a hand-out of that section.

City Manager Ramirez commented that there are other sections as well. This section is weapons sales and is on the code enforcement side. We want to work with the City Attorney’s office to put together something that will work for the City of Livingston.

Director Kenney responded that if the Council thinks these sections are adequate for our needs, then let’s not mess with them. But if you have specific sections we should edit, then please let her know.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez P.O.163 stated she was interested in hearing input from the people who were on the Council in 2000 when most of the items were first revised. She also commented on Chapter 3, sales of weapons, and wanted to go on record that she is a supporter of the second amendment and she grew up in a hunting family and her father is a licensed firearm dealer in Turlock. The sale of firearms through the State Department of Justice is one of the most highly regulated industries. She is curious as to why we are looking at that section.

Mike Sperry commented that he was sure that was aimed at him. He asked about the other codes and were they regulated by the Police Department. He further asked if we were trying to take that away from the Police Department and has anyone come forward with these things you want to target. He agreed with the Mayor that we didn’t need to spend any money.

City Attorney Sanchez stated that the Police Department is involved in a lot of uses which he mentioned, but it was never the idea to take away from the Police Department.

9. Approval of Independent Contract with Gillroad Associates

City Manager Ramirez presented the item.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 stated she would like to know more about Gillroad Associates.

Jim Gordon shared information regarding Gillroad Associates. He submitted an extensive list of clients to the City Manager. He is currently working with the Merced County Planning Department on an application that is fairly complex. They have asked him to prepare this document for them because they do not have anyone with the same background abilities as himself to do the work.

City Manager Ramirez asked Mr. Gordon to add what he has done at the state and federal level.

Mr. Gordon detailed more of his background.

Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street asked if the City Manager could elaborate on his personal experience with Mr. Gordon. He was wondering because Frank Vierra had brought up the fact about employing locals and he heard Ms. Dossetti is from Merced. So she is from Merced, Merced County where we are and her fee is cheaper. He believes that we owe it to Merced County to look further at Ms. Dossetti and she qualifies as a grant writer and he felt we should get her in here.

City Manager Ramirez stated that his relationship with Jim Gordon extends back to 2000. He knows him very well and they have written numerous grants. Mr. Gordon worked with two different cities where he was employed. He stated this has nothing to do with Ms. Dossetti, she is great and local. There are a lot of different criteria that he looks at. The current contract does not permit Ms. Dossetti from doing any work for the City; this is a professional services agreement. He feels that Mr. Gordon is a better fit for the City and he added that Mr. Gordon does not charge for his travel time.

Mike Sperry asked if Ms. Dossetti charges for travel time.

City Manager Ramirez responded no, but he is just making us aware of it because it is relevant.

Mr. Sperry noticed that Mr. Gordon is a doer, but he believes that Ms. Dossetti should have the opportunity.

Mayor Espinoza noted that she is qualified.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street stated he thought we had a capable grant writer and that the City Manager was a qualified grant writer too so why do we need a third person.

City Manager Ramirez explained there are different types of grants and there are different specialty grants and we had Paul Ashby from Ashby and Andrews Group help us put together a CDBG grant. And then we had the HCD and housing – those are grants that neither Mr. Gordon nor City Engineer Gottiparthy can put together and be competitive. He added that Mr. Gottiparthy has been going after CMAQ and Safe Routes to Schools grants and has been very successful. He wouldn’t put Mr. Gordon on that or any other staff member. And then there are some grants where we have to work together as a team because there are different criteria.

Council Member Land asked if Ms. Dossetti was invited to come this evening.

City Manager Ramirez responded no, because he was recommending Gillroad and Associates to the Council.

Council Member Land agreed with Mr. Sperry that earlier this evening we had a few talks about hiring locals and discussed a few things about money and the Mayor also mentioned that we do not want to exhaust too much attorney time. So we mentioned that one person is less expensive than the other so she wanted to make that point. She stated, “And with all due respect, Mr. Ramirez when you talk about team work, if you worked with some of these people in the past then maybe they are a part of your team already.” She wants to make sure that when we put an RFP out there that everyone is getting a fair chance.

Mayor Espinoza stated that he appreciated the suggestions for the contract and maybe Ms. Dossetti had something else to do today and this is an important job. He didn’t know if she had other jobs. He asked if she had worked at MCAG.

Council Member Samra said yes and also with Livingston in the past.

Mayor Espinoza stated that it was too bad she wasn’t here to tell us a little bit about herself.

Council Member Land stated that she agreed with the audience, she wasn’t invited.

Mayor Espinoza stated the item was on the agenda.

Council Member Land stated she was sure Mr. Gordon was invited.

Council Member Samra asked to table this item so that everyone who applied could give their presentation.

Council Member Vierra commented on the fiscal impact and the staff report says an estimated monthly average of between $2,500-$3,900. He stated that we are talking about a city that has financial problems and then we have employees with no raises for the last 5-6 years and when they leave, we do not replace them. The presumption in the community is that we are hiring consultants and he gets these questions and he didn’t even know some of these people were working for us. Maybe it is because the names don’t jive. He added that he has a concern about adding more people when we are telling staff there are no raises and that we have to watch our pennies. Also, we do have Jasmin Bains and Nanda Gottiparthy and stated he is not in favor of this.

City Manager Ramirez commented that he would like to do everything he can to bring in resources that we currently do not have in this city and if we don’t spend some money to go out there and bring the money in, he really can’t do too much. The amount that he is talking about is coming out of his administrative budget so he isn’t asking too much. He is sacrificing money within his own budget to employ someone that will work with him along with the other members of our team to put together strategic grants.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar thanked City Manager Ramirez for bringing the matter forward. They have talked about being transparent and one of things that happened with the other City Manager was that RFP’s weren’t sent out the way they should have been and we didn’t have much to say about that. She knows that Mr. Ramirez has taken the time to take their two cents into account, and she agrees that it would have been nice to invite the people that turned in proposals regardless. The way that she sees it is that when anyone comes into a new city you have your own team. The only thing she sees wrong here is that the others were not invited and there is money out there that we need to find.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve the Independent Contract with Gillroad Associates.

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

AYES: Council Members: Espinoza and Aguilar

NOES: Council Members: Samra, Vierra and Land

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Council Member Samra stated he would like to invite all the applicants and bring other grant writers here for a discussion and consider taking action after that.

Mayor Espinoza suggested that other grant writers besides the people that applied be invited.

City Attorney Sanchez commented that the motion failed, but the discussion could still continue and there could be another motion.

Council Member Samra stated that he would like to bring this issue back up at another meeting and invite all applicants and then we could reconsider the vote at that time.

Motion: M/S Samra/Land to continue the item to the next meeting inviting the other two applicants. The motion was approved 3-2 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Land, Samra and Aguilar

NOES: Council Members: Espinoza and Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

10. City Council Discuss and Provide Staff Direction on the Implementation of the Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF).

Mayor Espinoza presented the item.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163 stated that every time she goes to fill up, the price of gasoline goes up, and her understanding is that there is a hefty amount of state and federal gasoline taxes that are supposed to go for roads and such. She is wondering what is happening to all that money that is not available to cities and counties to do the necessary road upkeep, expansion and maintenance. She also read for the record from a proposed ordinance, the regional transportation impact fee schedule and its categories which would add $3,115 to a single-family residence, $1,892 per unit to a multi-family residence, about $4,000 for every 1,000 square feet, a high turn over commercial $12,000; retail commercial low turn over close to $3,000; retail commercial over 50,000 square feet would be $7,000 for each 1,000 square feet. She continued to read from the ordinance. She just can’t help but be curious as to why with all the gas taxes that we pay and all these things that are supposed to go to transportation and upkeep additional taxes are being tacked on.

Mayor Espinoza responded that the state is keeping more of that money and we do have some of that money in the City funds.

Council Member Samra stated that yes the state is collecting money with state projects and grants and then you have to have the local match. Every city in Merced County participates in this, and one of the highest priorities is the Winton Parkway Interchange. We have been talking about this area and expanding it and to this day we have collected zero dollars. He added if we are zero dollars down and if we don’t collect any money now, we will still be zero dollars down. So we will be collecting those dollars and sending those dollars to those that are participating in this. We have to think beyond the thought. Highway 152 in Los Banos has been working towards a bypass since 1964. We are still applying and others seem to have money.

Brief discussion followed.

Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street stated that we do not like the idea of fees as business owners. He would like to see someone come in with a million bucks in their bank account so hit them, not us little guys. He is tired of hearing about Los Banos. Want to talk about tolls, as a truck driver he didn’t pay fuel tax in most of those states, here we pay toll bridge road taxes, Let’s talk about a ½ cent fee if it went to Main Street or F Street, but not Merced County, let them deal with their enchilada.

City Attorney Sanchez stated that staff is requesting direction. He gave an explanation of that direction.

Mayor Espinoza stated that he has been reminded by the MCAG Board that Livingston isn’t going to get any projects if we try and do it by ourselves and then the citizens will complain to us about not doing anything.

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to provide staff direction to move forward on the Implementation of the Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF).

The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:53 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: June 19, 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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