CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING
LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
OCTOBER 2, 2012
A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on October 2, 2012, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar (Excused)
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 6:02 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
The Council came out of Closed Session to begin the Regular Meeting.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar
Council Member Theresa Land
Council Member Gurpal Samra
CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS
No announcements were made.
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA
Mayor Pro-Tem. Aguilar moved items 9 and 10 before items 6, 7, and 8 under Discussion and Potential Action Items.
Council Member Vierra pulled check numbers 75894 and 75895 for discussion.
Council Member Land pulled item 1 under Consent Calendar for a separate vote.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
City Staff Announcements and Reports.
Community Development Director Kenney reported the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (RDEIR) for the City of Livingston 2025 General Plan Update is out for public comments for 45 days. The document is available for review at City Hall or on the City website. All comments must be submitted in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 22, 2012.
Recreation Superintendent Benoit reported the following:
· The first youth basketball registration for the 2013 season is Saturday, October 6, 2012.
· The Recreation Department is having a “Livingston Tell Your Story” writer’s open house on Thursday, October 11, 2012, at 7:00 p.m., in the City Council Chambers. Livingston graduate Cynthia Pinto has volunteered to teach a creative writing class. Everyone is invited.
· New sod has been planted at the Little Guys and Gals field thanks to the assistance of Public Works Director Molina and his crew.
Public Works Director Molina launched a PowerPoint presentation to give Council an overview of the various projects his staff of thirteen public works employees has been working on.
Clean up of storm drain basins, weed abatement, trash pick up, and cutting down overgrowth of vegetation in preparation for this year’s rainy season.
· Street sign maintenance including the “Welcome to Livingston” sign on “B” Street.
· Repairing cracks on sidewalks to remove trip hazards.
· Staff training on proper use of Public Works tools and equipment. This will improve their operation and make it easier and more effective.
· Maintenance shop employees are attempting vehicle part repairs in‑house that would normally get sent out to the dealer; thereby, saving the City time and money.
· The Department acquired a new service line slicer/puller tool that allows them to pull an entire service line through a street section without having to tear out the street. They will now be able to do at least 70% of their service lines with the use of this tool. They will save time and money and avoid damage and aggravation to citizens.
· Doing line repairs on Walnut Avenue in collaboration with contractors and Public Works staff.
· Working on the wastewater treatment plant ponds and codifiers.
· Clean up improvements in front of City Hall and Council Chambers.
· Repaired tile on the City Hall monument sign that had broken off and fallen.
Council Member Vierra said a couple of people had expressed concerns about Walnut and Peach Avenues where trenches were dug, they had put asphalt there, but the asphalt is already gone.
Public Works Director Molina said he would look into that issue.
Council Member Land thanked the Public Works Department for all the work they do. Her parents-in-law live on Citrus Court and they are very pleased with the work Public Works did in that area.
She expressed concern about huge tumble weeds on Barcelona Drive (close to the Middle School) blocking the walkway for kids walking to school.
City Manager Ramirez stated City staff has been working with the City Attorney’s office to try to come up with language for the Code that would create more authority to address some of these problems that become health and safety issues. In the meantime, staff has been directed to remove the tumble weeds that are very close to the sidewalks and then keep track of the cost and equipment so the City can recover that money. In addition, Council Member Land brought up that there are a few signs around town that are a little faded, so the Public Works Department is going to go around town and address this issue as time and money permits.
Mayor Espinoza reported signs on Montcliff Way and Dallas Drive being faded. He also reported a tree overhanging into the sidewalk and street at the Corner of N. Main Street and Harvest Avenue. He asked that Public Works trim the tree back to clear the sidewalk.
Public Works Director Molina said they will tackle every complaint one at a time.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commended Public Works Director Molina and his crew for doing a great job. She said the main key to success is good leadership and communication. She urged City staff to keep communication lines open and encourage an open door policy.
Mayor Espinoza stated the City is going back to the old system where City residents take their tree trimmings to the City Wastewater Treatment Plant for disposal.
Mayor Espinoza said (in Spanish) that this year the City is going back to the old system where City residents have to take their tree trimmings to the Waste Water Treatment Plant for disposal. He wants residents to know they are not to place the tree branches in front of their house.
Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz reported they are moving forward with the upgrades for the City’s billing program. The system will be down on Thursday and Friday for the transition. Finance staff will make every effort to process payment transactions daily. Staff has had extensive training on the new program. He added that the Finance Department has two student interns assisting the Department.
City Engineer Gottiparthy provided a brief update on the Phase II water project. He will bring a more detailed update and pictures to the next Council meeting. The project is making very good progress. They have about 4-6 weeks of work left. The majority of the work on the south side of the freeway has been completed.
City Engineer Gottiparthy also gave an update on the street overlay project awarded at the last City Council meeting. He met with the contractor and the contract has been signed and the notice to proceed will be awarded. They are trying to get the project completed before the rainy season begins.
On the pedestrian lighted crosswalk on Hilltop Avenue and “F” Street, they received one quotation and he met with the supplier for a particular manufacturer. It looks like a very good light with good functionality and brightness. He is planning to arrange for a demonstration at the Public Works yard so the crew can observe and see if they can do the insulation in-house. Also on the effectiveness of the lighted crosswalk before they decide on the provider for that. He will present more details at the next meeting.
Council Member Vierra said he saw the map and it shows Second Street and Peach Avenue, but it doesn’t go all the way to Peach. He asked if paving is going to go all the way down to Peach.
City Engineer Gottiparthy said the north section of Peach and a little bit onto Second Street was completed with the last project, so this is going to be continuous new paving all the way to Peach Avenue.
City Manager Announcements and Reports.
· He and Public Works Director Molina met with the State Water Quality Control Board to make sure they have all the proper permits and are heading in the right direction for the transition from a private company (Environmental Management Services – EMS) to City operation of the Domestic Sewer.
· He has been working with Leslie McGowan from Livingston Medical Group, Livingston High School, and some other organizations to bring a bi-national health fair to Livingston; therefore on October 11, 2012, LMG will be set-up at the high school quad area for people to go there for health screenings.
· There is going to be a public hearing on October 17, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the City Council Chambers. This is a call for projects. A group of individuals from the City of Livingston, Merced County, City of Merced, and other entities will meet to discuss the projects they would like to get grant funding for.
· New lettering was ordered for Gallo Park. He asked all citizens to take care of the signage and not pull the letters off because it costs extra money to replace them.
· The City Stakeholders Committee met on October 1, 2012. The Committee is looking at forwarding the names of two (2) sanitation haulers to the City Council for consideration. They will be making a presentation before the City Council in the near future for possible selection. They are looking at starting the Proposition 218 hearing process.
Mayor Espinoza asked City Manager Ramirez to explain what the Stakeholders Committee is.
City Manager Ramirez explained the Stakeholders Committee is a group of individuals from different sectors of the community, like residents, business individuals, and current and former elected officials. Currently the Committee is meeting periodically because there are various items to discuss, but typically it meets only once a month. The meetings are open to the public.
City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.
Council Member Vierra
· A couple of neighbors contacted him about the big house on Main Street (near Livingston Medical Clinic). The grass is dead and the paint is coming off. The weeds in the alley are very tall. The house is occupied, but it looks like nobody lives there. The appearance is very bad and it is a fire hazard.
· He was at the Livingston High School homecoming parade on September 28th and just before the parade approached the judging stand in front of the Livingston Medical Clinic, he saw five dogs running in the street and two of them almost got killed. This was at about 4:00 p.m. He constantly sees dogs everywhere and they are not on a leash.
Council Member Land
· She thanked Community Development Director Donna Kenney for her service to the City of Livingston. She believes Ms. Kenney was both professional and dedicated while employed by the City. She wished Ms. Kenney all the best in her future endeavors.
Council Member Samra
· He appreciated all these years working with Community Development Kenney and he thanked her for everything she did for the City.
Mayor Pro-Tem. Aguilar
· She asked that citizens respect speed limits around the schools and keep an eye out for kids. It is Conference week at the Livingston Union School District and kids are getting out at 1:15 p.m.
· She added to Council Member Vierra’s complaint about dogs running at large. She sees dogs loose at all hours of the day. She asked if the animal control officer ever drives around and picks up any dogs running loose without having to be called.
City Manager Ramirez asked Lieutenant Chris Soria for an update on the animal control operations.
Lieutenant Soria stated they respond to every call they get. If the call comes in before 8:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m., they call Public Works to respond to the call (depending on the nature of the call vicious animal, traffic hazard, etc.). They respond to calls the best they can.
Lieutenant Soria added they know who some of the dogs belong to and the owners have already been warned.
Council Member Vierra asked what the hours of animal control are.
Lieutenant Soria replied 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
City Attorney Sanchez said his office has been working with the Police Department and the City Manager’s office looking at the animal control ordinance and the penalties for animal control. Right now it is very difficult to get the District Attorney’s office to follow through on minor infractions, so they are looking at expanding violations to more of an administrative nature and handle them in-house making the process easier for staff.
City Manager Ramirez explained there are a number of elements City staff is looking at to bring this problem under control. One of the key elements is educating the public and getting them to cooperate. Additionally, implementing an administrative citation element and providing better equipment for staff to be able to follow through with its enforcement. A vaccination clinic is also coming up in November. Notices will be sent out to inform Livingston residents. The City recently purchased a new holding facility and City staff will be presenting Council with a new ordinance on the animal control fees. It is now costing the City $150,000 a year for animal control services.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
· He wants to make sure the public knows that the quality of the drinking water in Livingston is safe to drink. There have been several articles in the newspaper stating the contrary, but that is just people trying to push politically attempting to make the City and the City Council look bad. The City Manager and Public Works Director met with the State Water Quality Control Board and they stated the water is safe to drink.
He elucidated on the $9 Million settlement the City received as a result of the TCP class action lawsuit filed in 2005-2006. In the early 30’s and 40’s Dow Chemical and Shell Oil sold chemicals as fumigants to farmers and these chemicals went into our drinking water. All throughout the United States, there are issues with TCP and other contaminants in the drinking water and that is one of the reasons that the City joined a class action lawsuit. Eventually, the City prevailed and received a $9 Million settlement. This money is now being used to fix the City’s water wells and for water treatment in the community.
· He is glad to see City Clerk Tony Silva in the audience. He was off for awhile after breaking his leg.
CITY COUNCIL FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Mayor Espinoza opened the citizen comment period at 7:43 p.m.
Donna Kenney, 6530 East Avenue, Turlock invited everyone to the 29th Annual Rotary Crab Feed to be held on Saturday, November 10, 2012.
Nemesio Alcazar, Jr., 1450 Second Street thanked City staff for promptly providing him the information he requested at the Council meeting of September 4, 2012. He received it the very next day.
Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street, said he asked about six questions during a Council Meeting about a month ago and he has not received any answers yet.
City Manager Ramirez said he doesn’t recall the questions and asked Mr. Sperry to send him those questions in an e-mail and he will promptly respond.
Mr. Sperry asked Mayor Espinoza how the meeting dates are set for the Stakeholders Committee.
Mayor Espinoza asked Mr. Sperry to ask all his questions/comments first and then they would reply.
Mr. Sperry asked Mayor Espinoza how many Stakeholders Committee meetings has he attended. He has seen other Council Members there, but not him.
Mayor Espinoza said he has not been to the meetings because he attends other committee meetings and he wants to let them do their work. He explained only two Council members can participate in these meetings because of the Brown Act. A third Council Member can be in attendance, but cannot make any comments.
City Manager Ramirez said the Stakeholders Committee meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month and, if need be, they can schedule a special meeting.
Mayor Espinoza said there used to only be one meeting a month, but Council recommended they have at least two meetings a month to get the new water, sewer, and garbage rates going.
City Attorney Sanchez explained if it is a standing committee which is governed by the Brown Act, you can have two Council Members participate. Other members can sit in the audience, but they cannot discuss the items at all; they can just listen.
Mayor Espinoza mentioned that when the new Council is seated after the election, they will decide who the new liaisons are to the Stakeholders Committee.
Council Member Land stated she has been recently going to the Stakeholders Committee meetings because she feels there are very important decisions that she will be asked to make in the near future and she wants to be prepared. However, she does not participate in any way or even speak at all.
Warren Urnberg, Stakeholders Committee Member, 1331 Eighth Street said the Committee meets on the first and third Monday of the month, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The first Monday they meet in the City Hall conference room and the third Monday they meet in the City Council Chambers. Meetings are open to the public.
Ricardo Soria, 1526 Main Street asked if there is an ordinance on ice cream vendors in the City of Livingston. Ice cream vendors are not respecting the boundaries and the soccer players are having a large issue with trash at the soccer field during games. He asked if there are any fees or fines they must pay if they do not comply with City Code.
City Manager Ramirez replied if any of these vendors generate trash, they are responsible for picking up the trash. He asked Mr. Soria to call City Hall and provide staff with the name of the vendor they are having issues with.
Mayor Espinoza stated he attended the League of California Cities Conference in San Diego and one of the topics of discussion was street vendor permits and enforcement. This is an issue the new City Council will have to deal with for possible amendments to the existing ordinance, but how soon they can discuss this matter depends on the cost of legal research necessary to amend the ordinance.
Mayor Pro-Tem. Aguilar informed Mr. Soria that the Livingston Municipal Code is available to the public on the City website. If anyone has a specific concern with any of the codes, they can bring it to the Council’s attention and ask them to take a look at it. She thanked Mr. Soria for bringing up his concern.
1. Denial of Claim for Damages from Dwight Larks.
2. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on August 7, 2012.
3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on August 21, 2012.
4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 14, 2012.
5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 27, 2012.
Mayor Espinoza said Council will vote on Item 1 separately at the request of Council Member Land and Item 4 is being pulled for discussion.
M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve Items 2, 3, and 5. The motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: None
M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve item 1. The motion carried 4-0-1, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Samra, and Vierra
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: None
ABSTAIN: Council Members: Land
Discussion of Item 4 – Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 14, 2012.
Council Member Vierra commented about Warrant 75894 to pay for the RDA overpayment property tax increment and asked why is the City paying for that?
Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz explained this particular check was calculated by Merced County as part of Assembly Bill 1484 (AB 1484) which is the clean up bill associated with the dissolution of the RDA’s. The AB 1484 calls for a reconciliation process that the County must perform to determine if entities were overpaid based on the submission of the ROPS and the enforcement of obligations that were approved on the ROPS. When the County did their analysis, they came up with a calculation that the City was overpaid by this amount and so the City was obligated to pay it back.
Council Member Vierra asked City Attorney Sanchez if this is the same amount Council had questioned that was for the year prior.
City Attorney Sanchez explained that as Council is aware, the true up payment that this AB 1484 came up with was supposed to be for a certain period of time. Because the County was late with some of their payments, the City ended up getting some of the payments from the previous year in the time period that counted for this true up which supposedly boosted up the amount the City received. It made that amount the County said the City received get a lot greater, so the City had to return some of it. City staff was corresponding with the Department of Finance and with the County. The County was pretty much doing what the Department of Finance told them to do as every county auditor was doing at that time.
Staff did a great job of communicating back and forth for a couple of months with the Department of Finance explaining to them that the calculations are incorrect. However, the Department of Finance is not listening to that argument at this point and they are requesting the City pay this money back in order to later approve all of the due diligence accounting that will go before them. He added the City needs a clean bill of health in order to continue paying the obligations through the RDA. What this does is slow down certain repayments and the only obligation would be the repayment of the loan between the City and the RDA. That is going to get delayed a little because this amount needs to get paid back, but this money comes out of the increments the City gets.
Council Member Vierra asked why is the County not partially responsible for paying this back if they were partially responsible for this being late.
Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz said they spent at least three days going back and forth with the County and the Department of Finance and at the end they still pushed for getting this payment. Staff spent a lot of time and effort explaining why they were wrong. They were treating their allocations on a cash basis rather than on approval basis. He explained where the discrepancies took place.
City Attorney Sanchez stated one of their arguments was that it wasn’t the fault of the City. However, the money does come through the increments the City gets, so their argument is the money is still there and the Department of Finance says if they make exceptions for us, they have to make exceptions for others and there were a lot of cities in this situation. There are many cities that are bringing lawsuits as well. This issue is far from over, but because it was only $32,000 for the City of Livingston and because staff was spending a lot of time on it and the Department of Finance was not going to give in, staff just delayed the payment for the loan.
Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz said they were going to hold onto the City’s sales tax allocations if this amount was not paid. Additionally, there were other penalties involved.
Council Member Vierra asked for clarification on the Accounting Clerk internship assignment – and if are paying for interns. Because we get interns at the high school and that we don’t pay.
Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz explained there are two types of interns. One is a paid intern and the other is a volunteer. In order for us to attract students, we had to provide them with an incentive. We set up interviews for three and only one showed up, so that is why we have to provide an incentive.
City Manager Ramirez asked Mr. Ortiz to mention what the incentive is.
Mr. Ortiz said $1,500 for 300 hours, so we have this individual here for at least 3-4 months basically working for under $5 an hour.
City Manager Ramirez said they are college students that are in the profession.
Council Member Vierra asked if there are more interns.
City Manager Ramirez explained we currently have three interns and we are paying for all of them.
Mr. Ortiz said right now we have 3 major projects. One is closing the last fiscal year 2011-2012. We have the upgrades to our accounting program. We’ll have intensive training for the finance department next week; we also have the audit coming up in late October. So the busiest period for the finance department is April through October. He said he wanted to have the proper staffing levels to try to cover some downtime.
City Manager Ramirez said so a little over three months of work for $1500 and this gives us an opportunity to train someone and get assistance and down the road some of these individuals might even apply for some of our positions and it allows us to access some labor that we badly need, and these interns are not all coming in at the same time. We stagger them so that we have them at different hours.
Mayor Pro-Tem. Aguilar asked what account the money is coming out of.
Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ortiz said it is being allocated to four different areas – The City’s General Fund and Enterprise Funds based on the functions they deliver.
M/S Espinoza/Land to approve Warrant Register dated September 14, 2012. The motion carried by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, and Vierra
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: None
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
9. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Appointments to the Planning Commission.
Community Development Director Kenney introduced item. The Planning Commission has three positions that are set to expire December 31, 2012, Roy Soria Harpreet Bains and Manoj Bains terms all expire. Council has the option to either reappoint those individuals if they are interested in remaining on the Commission for another term or advertise the vacancies in the newspaper. In the past staff advertised for about thirty days and did not get enough applications, so staff is asking that the advertisement go out for 45 days before the interviews. Staff is asking for direction on whether or not Council wishes to re-appoint or place an ad in the newspaper.
Council Member Vierra
He thinks we don’t do enough advertising. We need to get the word out in more than one place. It should go out in the water bills. It can also go in the Livingston Chronicle and the Sun-Star as a story and not an ad so they don’t charge for advertising. The newspaper has a section for stories and it can be advertised that way. In addition, it can be posted on the City’s website and on Channel 2.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
She also thinks it’s a good idea to advertise. She thinks with the new Council and new management in different departments, it’s a good idea to be transparent so residents can get involved and be part of our City.
He doesn’t think publishing in the Sun-Star will help much because most people don’t read the Sun-Star, but people do read the Chronicle. He agrees with advertising on Channel 2, the City website, and in the water bills and that should be enough.
Council Member Samra
He thinks the water bills, Channel 2, and City website is sufficient advertisement. That will go out to everybody. If you don’t get many applications, that means they don’t want to be involved in the City.
Council Member Land
She agrees with that as well. The only thing she asks is that those people interested in applying for these positions be dedicated to come to the meetings.
Mayor Espinoza opened and closed the item for public comment at 8:11 p.m. as there were no comments from the public.
Mayor Espinoza said the direction from Council was to advertise.
10. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Appointments to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Benoit said in January 2013, the terms of all seven members of the Parks and Recreation Commission expire. She asked for direction on how the Council would like to handle the vacancies.
Council Member Vierra
He asked why the Parks and Recreation Commission aren’t also on a tiered appointment like the Planning Commission and City Council. Not everybody is due at the same time. This gives you absolutely no experience and know what the programs are when you replace everybody. Is this in writing that we have to replace them all?
Said he thinks it’s in an ordinance, so they would have to change the ordinance.
City Attorney Sanchez explained that would be an easy ordinance amendment to make to switch a section staggering terms. Staff can bring back options where some of them come in for two years and some come in for four years, that way they can stagger it.
Council Member Vierra
Feels the vacancies should be advertised the same way as the Planning Commission.
Mayor Espinoza the item opened for public comment at 8:13 p.m.
Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street asked if all members of the Parks and Recreation Commission are citizens of the City.
City Manager Ramirez explained that members must reside within the City limits and one member could reside outside the City as long as they reside within the boundaries of the Livingston Union School District.
Mayor Espinoza said they also have to live in the District because there are people from Delhi that come to this District.
Mayor Espinoza closed the item for public comment at 8:14 p.m. as there were no further public comments.
The Council’ recommendation to staff was to advertise the vacancies in the same manner as the Planning Commission.
2. Discussion/Provide Staff Direction with a Roll Call Vote Concerning Truck Parking Signage on Joseph Gallo Court.
City Manager Ramirez said staff received direction from Council to go ahead and notify and we, received correspondence from Subway and we have several representatives here from Subway that they were losing some business, especially from the truckers because there was no parking along Joseph Gallo Drive. That initiated Council to rethink all of this and gave staff direction, so he personally sent out a letter to each one of the businesses that are affected along that stretch and then he had staff personally call inviting business representatives to be here tonight in case they wanted to express any concerns or comments. He sees quite a few representatives present tonight from McDonalds, Subway and Carl’s Jr., so he thanked them for being here.
Mayor Espinoza opened the item for public comment at 8:16 p.m.
Debra Campbell representing Subway, 483 Joseph Gallo Court said they are having a little bit of difficulty with the signs that were put up outside. It is not Joseph Gallo Drive, it is Joseph Gallo Court, so it’s on the Court end and not the Drive end, and so what is happening is they are losing between $70 and $80 a day in business because of that. They are not asking they take down the signs completely, but if they change them to 30 minute to 1 hour parking just to give truck drivers the availability to park, come in and eat their lunch and dinner and then leave. That is their biggest concern that it is hurting their business. They cannot get into their parking lot. She added that is the same issue with the other businesses that are there. They have all been affected by it and so they wanted to make Council aware of that.
Cynthia Christensen, representing Carl’s Jr., 443 Joseph Gallo Court said her concern with the signs that were put up is that it resulted in more than $70 or $80 in terms of lost sales. They lost a lot of business in the morning and late morning hours when there are a lot of truckers. But, not only the truckers, they also get a lot of families traveling up and down Highway 99 in big RV’s, people with tractor trailers and cars and trucks. Their parking lot isn’t the biggest parking lot, so you cannot fit even the biggest of trucks in there.
They are not asking for all day parking or for truckers to sleep over night because they don’t want any littering or loitering out there either. They are asking for 30-minute or 1 hour parking so that people are not scared to park out there. Some of them still park out there, but a lot of them are getting cited and those tickets are not cheap and they are not worth their $6-$7 meal, but it is worth it for the businesses to have them come in.
Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street spoke on behalf of the other businesses that could not make it to the meeting. He frequents that area both the Court and the Drive side and everyone has complained of a huge drop in business. He knows that some businesses have already layed off employees because of it. They are not asking for much. They are just asking to keep the customers.
He added he also talked to several employees at the TA that is a gigantic parking lot. He is an ex-trucker. He owned his own rig. The owner-operators out there talk on a CV (citizen’s van radio) and they communicate and say Livingston is anti truck; let’s go to Madera, the Pilot, or the Flying J in Ripon. They drive truck a long time. Another 40 minutes is nothing. By Council putting those signs there have not only affected the businesses there, but also our tax base. He remembers one of the questions he had asked what who initiated this because he knows it wasn’t any of the businesses. He thinks the audience would like to know.
Annabel Simas, Manager of McDonald’s, 381 Joseph Gallo Drive said she has talked to some of the truck drivers, Council Members, and Police Officers. Yes, they have seen a little bit of a sales drop. She thinks that has somewhat had to do with Taco Bell being open also. She understands that TA is full to capacity. She understands having the truck drivers park overnight is an issue, so she would agree with the limitation. Give them 30 minutes to an hour, but she understands that it does cause wear and tear on the road and safety issues so they need to clarify that as well. Also, o on the same respect, we built a truck stop; we want them to come; if we prohibit them from coming, they will stop coming so it will affect their sales even more, but Council has a lot of issues to worry about. TA can expand if they choose to. She would agree with a limitation.
Mayor Espinoza closed the item for public comment period at 8:23 p.m., there being no further comments from the public.
He wanted to start out by saying that from the beginning he has been for temporary parking along Joseph Gallo. He knows Council previously looked at it because there were complaints from people in that area, but now they have complaints from the businesses. That really hurts because he is a businessman too and he used to drive a truck as well and he couldn’t park inside those businesses, so he would park on the outside so he does understand that. We don’t want to loose business. If they can’t park inside or outside the parking lot, then they go somewhere else and we don’t want that. He is for allowing at least 30 minute parking. That is enough time for people to eat, take a break if they are falling asleep because that is a safety issue too and then go on their way. He knows there are also issues with trucks parking overnight and too much weight on City streets.
Council Member Vierra
This issue came to Council originally through the Chief of Police. At the time they talked about it, he said he wasn’t in favor of allowing them to park 30 minutes to an hour because who is going to mark these trucks to say they have been there 30 minutes or one hour? They could park there two hours and nobody is going to know it because nobody is going to go out there and mark tires. He was going to suggest they take the signs down, but put some red zones. He frequents Subway a lot and when you come out of their parking lot, if there is a truck parked right up to their driveway, you can’t see the traffic coming. There has to be some space from the driveway on both sides so you can see the vehicles coming. Chief said he was not for 30 minutes or one hour, so what do we do? We have to make a decision one way or the other, but Chief is not here tonight.
Council Member Land
She remembers when they discussed this issue before, they were talking specifically about it being a safety issue coming out of the driveways. She asked how many accidents have we had on Joseph Gallo Drive or Joseph Gallo Court as a result of trucks parking.
Lieutenant Chris Soria replied very few.
She also remembers that Chief Chavez said and everyone is pretty much in consensus that the Police Department doesn’t have the manpower to go out there on a regular basis to mark tires. She does like the red zoning a bit, but she wonders how much of a red zone they are going to need in order to be able to see vehicles behind the parked trucks. But, that is an option and at the same time she doesn’t want businesses losing any revenue at all.
He thinks pretty much after midnight there should be no trucks parked or sleeping overnight there, so he thinks that from midnight to 5:00 a.m., there should be no trucks there, unless they break down. If so, they should call the Police Department and let them know. He thinks 30 minutes to an hour should be no big deal.
Council Member Vierra
If they are going to put up signs allowing parking 30 minutes to an hour, those signs were paid for by the City once. Who is going to pay for them this next time? We are in a crunch. We have laid off people and now we are saying we are going to replace these signs.
Council Member Samra
He has also been approached by just about every business on Joseph Gallo in reference to having trucks park there and with the exception of Quik Stop, they all said they had a negative effect because of it. He asked Quik Stop why and they said it’s because when they pull in to get gas, they go in to purchase a soda or something else and they do that at the same time they are getting fuel, so they don’t really come in and eat. He also talked to the businesses and also said they can park at the TA and then walk across to get food. However, a comment they made was who is going to park at TA and walk two blocks when they only have maybe one half hour to a one hour lunch and then walk back.
TA doesn’t want them to park in their parking lot and then go eat at another business. Carl’s, Subway, Jack-In-The-Box, he hasn’t heard from McDonalds, but he heard there was an impact and in this day in age with the economy the way it is with businesses hurting, he thinks we need to do everything we can to help them out and we don’t want to have a negative image of Livingston being anti-business because years ago when we approved TA, we brought in the idea of being trucker friendly. Otherwise we wouldn’t have approved TA. He thinks they have to stay consistent, but also help the businesses. He thinks the Chief’s main reason for doing that was overnight parking of vehicles, they know not everybody observes sanitary rules. They tend to throw garbage out, etc.
He thinks those were the concerns. However, he believes a limited parking of 30 minutes to an hour and not allowing parking between when the last business closes to when the first one opens will go a long way to kind of meet in the middle for everyone – help the businesses and also address City’s concerns, too.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
She totally agrees with possibly rezoning some of the curves, doing a study to see how far they can go from the curb and paint it red so that trucks don’t park there. She also thinks they should have a certain hour for parking and not parking in those areas just like we have it downtown. Overall, her decision was based on safety issues because she knows it is really hard for us as residents to go in there and there are trucks parked where you exit out and you are worried about getting hit by another vehicle or truck, so her main concern is safety issues of being able to come out of the parking lot.
She added that she thinks we are truck friendly. With TA, she thinks that proves that they are truck friendly. One of her sons was a trucker for a while and she definitely agrees that he was having to park on the side and having to walk away so she knows what it is to have a certain amount of time to get to your meal. From her belief, she thinks they can work this out. There are too many things tonight with different suggestions. She thinks they might be able to push it forward to the next meeting and look at these different options so they can come up with a consensus and bring it back with finalized points.
Mayor Espinoza thinks they should allow at least a 30 minute parking to resume normal business until they vote on it. They don’t want to continue losing business.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said at this time, they don’t have enough manpower to have someone monitor 30 minutes to one hour and the signs are already made. The businesses should be willing to work with us. She doesn’t think the 30 minutes is going to help right now.
Council Member Vierra feels Chief Chavez should be here before a decision is made.
Council Member Land thinks maybe they can take the signs down for now to resume business at some of these establishments. She asked if anybody heard from Mr. Gallo in regards to his property.
City Manager Ramirez said Mr. Gallo did mention that having truck parking along Gallo Drive is an impact aesthetically and safety wise and also the new Taco Bell. Actually Gallo Drive is a little different situation than Gallo Court.
Council Member Land feels that they do need to talk to the Chief, but meanwhile they can take the signs down. After all, we did cancel the last meeting, so businesses have been patiently waiting. She thinks rather than having them wait longer, it will be a good compromise to take the signs down for now and then discuss it at the next Council meeting and then if they want to put up other signs, they can do that.
Council Member Vierra doesn’t think they should take it down on the Drive side and not on B Street.
Council Member Land agrees definitely not on B Street. She doesn’t see a need to take that down. It seems there is more of an issue on the Court side than there is on the Drive side, so she would suggest they take it down on that side for now and then bring this back at their next meeting and make a solid decision.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar asked if that would be taking the signs down on both sides or just on one side of Gallo Drive.
Council Member Land said she is suggesting just on the Court Side.
Mayor Pro-Tem. Aguilar asked if that is taking signs down on both sides of the road. She can understand taking the signs down on one side of the road, but not on both sides of the road because that will still give them access to park because there is less business on the side of Jack-in-the-Box heading towards turning the Court coming up towards Subway. Removing those would be okay, but not the ones in front of the businesses.
Mayor Espinoza said the main issue is all the way to the end because they are parking overnight at the end of Joseph Gallo Drive the big rigs and he knows 2 or 3 or 4 fit there. They are parking there because they are sleeping there. He is okay with both sides and then red curb the end or maybe those barricades they have at the end maybe can be moved right to the exit where they are coming out of TA that way they are not parking all the way to the end.
Council Member Vierra wants to know what businesses think if they take them off of the side like Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar is saying just on one side on the opposite of where their businesses are.
Debra Campbell, Subway, 483 Joseph Gallo Court said if they could remove them at least across the street which would then take care of the dangerous part of pulling out of the driveways. If they can be removed there until Council can get back to the issue would be great. If they are parking on their side of the street and that is where the issue they are talking about the safety, so remove it on the other side is perfect because there is plenty of room for two or three trucks to park there and when they finish, they can turn and then go out.
Cynthia Christianson, Carl’s Jr., 443 Joseph Gallo Court said with them doing the red curb on the business side where there is the entrance and exit, she can see that. On the other side of the street, if they could take the signs down from right there, that would be good. In talking about parking between the midnight to 5:00 a.m. hours, she added that they are a 24-hour business and so is Jack- in-the-Box and they do take walk-ups in their drive thru and that is actually a lot of her graveyard business which she has lost and way before Taco Bell opened.
Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street suggested they take the signs down on the Court on both sides for now. He is sorry the Chief is not here, but the City Council is the ultimate authority and not the Chief. He will follow direction. Chief has only been here since March and a lot of those people that work there have been here longer than the Chief and are being affected and the businesses, the people that shell the money out, so just get rid of the signs. If you don’t know how to pull out of a driveway that has people parked there, I’m sorry, then you shouldn’t be driving.
Mayor Espinoza said they would like Chief to be present because he is a public safety officer and he listens to all the concerns that Council already listened to. As he mentioned, he thinks they could move the barricades all the way to the front where TA exits on that side because that is where they are backing out into and then it’s creating more cars parking on the TA side. For now he made a motion that they allow people to park over there and then bring down the signs and at the next Council meeting discuss it a little further.
Council Member Land asked so where specifically do you want to take those signs down? On the Court Side or the Drive side and on both sides of the street.
Mayor Espinoza replied correct, but bring in the barricades on the Gallo side so they are no parking at the end over there in the cul-de-sac.
Council Member Samra asked Mayor Espinoza if his motion is to remove signs on the entire Joseph Gallo Drive and Court or just on the Court side.
Mayor Espinoza said on both sides because people park on the drive side to go to Taco Bell and McDonald’s as well.
Council Member Samra noted, but is Mayor Espinoza saying on both sides of the street?
Mayor Espinoza said yes, on both sides of the street.
Council Member Samra said Gallo Drive and Gallo Court.
Mayor Espinoza replied, yes.
Council Member Samra commented so the Mayor is saying remove all signs.
Mayor Espinoza replied yes, remove all no-parking signs. Like he said, the main issue is bringing those barricades in where the truckers cannot back into there. That is not a parking space for the truckers, that’s TA’s. They should be parking inside, not outside because everyday they back up in there and other truckers coming in park right next to them as well.
He asked for a second. No motion. Motion dies for lack of a second.
M/S Samra/Aguilar to remove the no parking signs on Joseph Gallo Court on one side away from the businesses until Council has a final resolution. Motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: None
The Council took a five minute recess at 8:45 p.m. Mayor Espinoza reconvened the meeting at 8:50 p.m.
3. Resolution 2012-66Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into an Agreement for Interim Planning Department Contract Staff Support Services.
City Manager Ramirez presented the staff report. He said as part of our reorganization that is an essential function that we have to continue to provide to the City. It is not going to be the same level of service as having Community Development Director Kenney, but we have to continue to provide the service. The City has been working with PMC for several years as part of the General Plan ongoing process, so it only made sense, especially because staff has worked with PMC, to contract with PMC on an as needed basis for this initial period until the RFP gets drafted and sent out. This will give us some time to send out the RFP, evaluate the contract consulting planners and then select and move on. Of course PMC is welcome to submit a proposal as part of the RFP process. This is to do the interim while we go out for RFP’s and select a contract planner.
Mayor Espinoza opened for public comment at 8:52 p.m.
Community Development Director Kenney, 6530 East Avenue, Turlock said she would just like to note for the Council that the staff report is incorrect. She received an e-mail today from Sara Allinder with PMC who is no longer available to fill this position, so there will be someone else with a different résumé attached for Council to consider.
Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street said he wants to go on record, again, in saying that he does not approve of this. He thinks in critical times, we need to look harder and longer at our options. The elimination of a position such as Director Kenney’s or a minimization of it will do nothing but limit what the City can possibly provide to the businesses that want to come in. Saying that we are supposedly pro-business he thinks this is two steps back and one to the left. He thanked Director Kenney for her service.
Mayor Espinoza closed the comment period at 8:54 p.m. as there were no further public comments.
Council Member Vierra
Commented that he has been on the Council since 2000 and he knows the Council has not been happy with PMC and we have stayed with this company over and over. He has seen overrides on their bill amounts. He remembers in the past they had to pay an $86,000 bill and said this was in addition to what we had already paid them. He doesn’t believe the figures of $7,500 and $8,750 per month because he doesn’t trust these people.
Mayor Espinoza said he believes the $86,000 Council Member Vierra is talking about is something that Richard Warne did without talking to Council and they didn’t know about until he had left and so Council had no choice but to pay.
Council Member Vierra said that wasn’t the first time they did that. That was just the largest.
Council Member Samra
Although he agrees that we are going to have to get contract support services, he has strong reservations about PMC. He thinks he made his feelings known when they were doing contract work for the City before, but come noon tomorrow, the City will have nobody, but he cannot emphasize strong enough how much he does not like PMC. To him whether Sara Allinder is there or not makes no difference because even when she was there, she wasn’t any good anyway, so he hopes that when the City puts out an RFP that other companies will apply. He wants to see us have real dollar savings with whatever RFP is awarded, not just some made up numbers. He wants to see solid numbers to show how much we are going to save.
Currently the way things are set up, if we get a heavy workload, there is no increase in cost. The staff covers it. When we contract services, when hours increase at $95 to $100 an hour, it can very quickly flip the other way where we are in the negative, so whatever comes to the Council, he wants to see solid proof that we are going to save money.
Mayor Espinoza asked if we are going to advertise fairly quickly.
City Manger Ramirez said, “Yes.”
Mayor Espinoza said he is pretty sure there are several companies out there willing to submit an RFP.
City Manager Ramirez said if Council has strong reservations with regards to PMC, staff can certainly look for another alternative, but right now we already have the RFP complete for the most part and ready to send out. Of course, in order to get good RFP’s we need at least a month to a month and a half to get some solid companies out there.
Mayor Espinoza said he thinks a month is enough because obviously there are enough companies in the Western Cities magazine that we can look at. Obviously we don’t have to stay with PMC, we can come back at the next Council meeting and recommend two or three companies and then go with that right away or we can go with the RFP process.
Council Member Land said as she previously stated when Council adopted the budget, she is not in support of eliminating this position and contracting out for these services.
Council Member Vierra said this company that we are talking about tonight also says that they can do it in such number of hours and later down the road, there are additional hours needed, so you need to be very specific with this company as to what you are going to ask of them.
City Manager Ramirez assured the Council that he is going to do the best job that he can and that is the full objective for the City to save money and his staff has to make sure not just in the Planning, but in all of the respective budgetary line items that all these firms or whoever is doing work for us stay within their budget. From time to time there are circumstances that pop up, and with those unusual circumstances we are going to come to Council and explain what happens or come up with a solution, but given the budgetary constraints, that’s why the departments know and we are watching each line item and we are looking at more cost saving measures.
In addition to that, this coming Thursday we are going to be educating and this is going to be an ongoing educational process so that every employee in the City knows how the City works and how their departments relates to another department, where money comes from, and that way there is no misunderstanding. Everyone is better educated when they see expenditures in one area and not in the other, so that is his job to make sure that what is being proposed works and he has been on it and he will continue to be on this along with his staff.
M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to adopt Resolution 2012-66, A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into an Interim Agreement for Temporary Planning Support Services with PMC. The motion carried 3-2 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza and Samra
NOES: Council Members: Land and Vierra
ABSENT: Council Members: None
4. 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.
City Engineer Gottiparthy presented the report. He said at the August 21, 2012, City Council meeting, we had an item for award of the contract to GoodStanding Outreach. At that time, the City Council had a few questions as to the process the Stakeholders Committee went through and presentations that were made at the Stakeholders Committee meeting, so staff went back to the
Stakeholders and discussed the questions and concerns the City Council had. The Committee recommended that in view of the timelines and where we are in the process with the rate analysis studies, they felt comfortable recommending GoodStanding to come back to the City Council based on the request made at the last meeting for a similar presentation to be made to the City Council. We requested GoodStanding to come in and go through their qualifications and what you will see is similar to the presentation that was made to the Stakeholders Committee.
He introduced Jerri Conrad and Frankie Vigil, the principals of GoodStanding Outreach. They went through their proposal and their qualifications.
Jerri Conrad said she would talk about their company GoodStanding briefly and how they go through their process and then Frankie Vigil would go through their rate case study that applies to their process. Hopefully that will give Council a clear picture and then they can answer any questions.
She introduced their services and explained their process.
They are a public outreach and participation company that works with water and land leaders and helps them communicate with their customers and their communities around those resources.
Their services are public outreach facilitation, creative services, and media training. They have a three-phase process. Their process internally helps them improve their work flow, but externally their clients have told them they appreciate their process because they can give input at any time because they have clear stages of where they are at and what they are doing. Also it gives consistent outcomes. They apply the process equally to each project that they do. From an external standpoint that has been helpful to their clients.
Their discovery phase which is their proposal to the City of Livingston. It is actually a deep research from an interview perspective as well as secondary research. Some of those things they are talking about specific to the City of Livingston is interviewing members of the City Council, the Stakeholders group, members of the community, members of each customer group, the residential customers and commercial customers.
In this process, they are looking to understand what is important to them about their water quality, their rates infrastructure, what they understand is happening with their water and maybe what they don’t understand is happening. They will also look at secondary research such as articles, current communications that have been happening, water quality reports, the variety there that the community and City staff has been doing.
This actually builds the foundation for the next phase which is the Prescribing Phase. This is actually where they would build the plan. So their phase 1, Discovery is what they are talking about today for the proposal. That information will be submitted to the City Council, the City Staff, as well as the Stakeholder group and it’s a report with recommendations in it. From that report, they will build the plan, but the City can also take the report and someone from its staff can actually build the plan off of that.
If they build the plan, these are the things that they look at: Goals, objectives, tactics, how to measure all of the things that they would have in the plan and Phase 3 would be application and re-application and in this phase they would be implementing the plan that they have built which is based on the recommendations they discovered in the Discovery Phase and in cases of re-application. Those are things like if they recommend a bill insert about water quality four times a year and they are going to re-apply that however many times.
Frankie Vigil will take this exact phase and she will briefly walk you through a utility rate case study as it applies to this.
Frankie Vigil said one of the clients that they work with is the Truckee Meadows Water Authority which is the main water purveyor for Northern Nevada serving Reno and Sparks. They have about 93,000 customers. She is going to walk us through a recent rate case that they worked with and its actually repetitive because they worked with them on one rate case and then several years later on another rate case, but they all build on one another. Through this case what she is going to show is how they use that process that Jerri Conrad talked about to do the Discovery phase, build the plan and then execute the plan.
So through the Discovery phase they did research environmental scan and competitive analysis and in that phase they also did interviews and listening sessions. They also took a look at other case studies from American Water Works Association and some tools that Truckee Meadows Water Authority had includes, a customer satisfaction report that they do on a monthly basis and also on a quarterly basis and they are able to understand from those reports what customers knew about the water, how they value their water, how they thought the price of their water was in connection to their water bill. They also were able to do a communications audit to communicate and look at all of the different ways that Truckee Meadows Water Authority communicates with their customers and looked at the effectiveness of those tools.
They did that Discovery phase and then they went into the Prescribing phase. Specific measurable attainable relevant timely …. And that is how they establish objectives then they went with the plan, they have a goal, objectives, strategies, and a valuation. Often times it looks repetitive when you see a plan and it supposed to be repetitive. Your valuation should be looking at how your tactics work. Your tactics should be supporting your strategy. Your strategy should be supporting your objectives and those should be supporting your goals.
They gave an example of a public participation spectrum. They developed a graph, but it’s from the International Public Participation Association. What this spectrum shows is where different audiences or Stakeholders or groups may be in the spectrum of public participation and they bring this graph out often times when they are doing the plan because it helps keep everybody on track. She said there is no wrong place in the spectrum. You can be an empower. You can be an inform. You can be moving along the spectrum depending on the audience.
What happens sometimes when you don’t look at the spectrum is you may be telling one audience we really want to collaborate with you and when that audience hears collaborate, they assume that you are looking to them for directed formalized decisions and incorporate definitions into those decisions. You just may want to be informing them and letting them know what the decision is and this is where trust can definitely not be built and sometimes destroyed with different audiences, so we always go back to the spectrum because they want to be consistent on how they are communicating with different groups.
Then they write the plan and then they get to the application and the re-application phase and this is where people really like to jump in right away. This is where you are going to do the public meeting, you are going to have press releases, you are going to go out and talk to the media. By doing the discovery phase helps them develop the plan and then they can apply. They are able to always track their goals and make sure they are on the right track.
They gave some examples of some of the tactics placed on other rate increases.
The worked very closely with the newspaper in the area informing them and explaining to them why the rate increase was needed and they were very happy with the articles that came out from that education process.
Of course they did public meetings. They were very clear in the public meetings, at the beginning of the public meetings, and throughout the public meetings what they were looking for from customers so that they understood where they fit along that process.
They also had an editorial board meeting where they really laid out the financial foundation of why this rate increase was necessary and they were able to get an article from them where the editorial board agreed with the rate increase.
They did press releases letting people know where they could come and get more information understanding why the rate increase was necessary and public meetings where they as customers were welcome to participate in.
And then they started all over again because when you fast forward a couple of years later another rate increase was needed and they did the discovery phase again. They always start from there and again they did interviews, listening sessions, looked at the case studies and looked at the customer satisfaction reports to see from the last rate increase how customer satisfaction was tracking with people’s views from the value of their water.
One of the things they had found out through the discovery process, one of the groups they worked with was the standing advisory committee, which is a committee that Truckee Meadows Water Authority has put together that a representative of different rate customers are on, so you have residential, commercial, industrial, a senior group, and interested members of the community and what we found from that group is that as they represent the customers, they have heard from other customers that small incremental increases on a more regular basis was easier to explain and easier for people to handle than a large increase not incrementally implemented. And then they wrote the plan again.
She thinks it would be very easy to say they already did all that discovery and we could just jump into the tools and tactics, but we really know that by going through the discovery and setting new goals and objectives, strategies, tactics, and evaluation, we learn from that last implementation to get better.
And, again, they brought up the public participation spectrum because even though it was another rate increase, different audiences fell into different areas. The standing advisory committee she mentioned earlier they were looked upon from Truckee Meadows Water Authority to collaborate and really figure out how they can best communicate this rate increase. And then they got into application and re-application and tactics and evaluation.
She gave other examples of tools and tactics that they use during successful rate increases. There were workshops and public meetings and the community was invited to participate in those workshops and public meetings.
Mayor Espinoza opened the public comment period at 9:18 p.m.
Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street asked if the questions are for the City Council or for the company.
Mayor Espinoza said for both.
Mr. Sperry believes they are based out of the Sacramento area, so he would like to know how many farming and migrant communities have they done this for? Because Livingston is composed of about 50-60% Hispanics, 20% Punjabi and then Caucasian 20% if that and all others 20%. So what he is going after is the fact that he doesn’t know these people, but we have to look at one of ours meaning the Valley people. They may be able to do this a little better. Furthermore, we are looking at $22,000 to $25,000. He understands how critical this is, but one of his little things if he wins election is that he wants to find the money. He wants a huge LED board where it says City of Livingston to announce things like City Council meetings, water rate meetings and so on. He thinks $20,000 to $25,000 would cover that and would make a huge impact on everything we do in this town so everyone knows what is going on.
So his questions are what area are they from? What do they know about farming communities? Have they done any, etc.?
Jerri Conrad said they have experience with rural communities which are not necessarily agricultural communities, but rancher communities. Their company is actually headquartered in Reno, Nevada, but they work all over. They work closely with Handsford Economic and they are from Truckee so that is why there is some thought about them being from Sacramento. They do work with Hispanic communities, but their largest cultural population would be Hispanic, not Punjabi, but they do work with water. That is what they do water, water protection, infrastructure, rate increases, leadership issues, water conservation, so across the board a variety of cultural and community groups. That is what they do. They talk about water and how best to communicate.
The item was closed to the public at 9:23 p.m. by Mayor Espinoza.
Council Member Land asked how we came about GoodStanding Outreach. Was that a recommendation from the Stakeholders Committee?
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commented that on the second paragraph of the staff report where it refers to background information, it says this was part of the Stakeholders Committee proposal. Ms. Handsford recommended GoodStanding being that she had worked with them. She brought them forward to the Stakeholders Committee and they listened to the presentation and asked questions and the committee members came to the conclusion that it should go to the City Council for them to decide if they wanted to support Ms. Handsford’s recommendation.
Council Member Samra said the decision that came from the Stakeholders Committee was that they felt in the past the City had expended and lost maybe a little respect from the community that as far as the information the City was putting out was not quite correct and the Stakeholders Committee felt that the City hasn’t quite recovered from that yet. There will still be doubts from the community. Therefore, they wanted to have somebody that is neutral that does not have any particular political ties or any type of agenda so they thought by bringing an outside firm, it puts another layer of transparency, another layer of questioning from the public so they may raise their concerns and also to help build the trust from the community.
Mayor Espinoza said that as long as that was recommended by the businesses. Of Course, they saw the increases and the businesses and the citizens were outraged with the high increased rates. He asked Ms. Conrad if they are going to have public information and public speaking forums.
Ms. Conrad said they were absolutely going to have public meetings. She reiterated their discovery process is how they are looking to hear from people directly. They are asking them specific questions about the area of issues they talked about.
Mayor Espinoza said as time goes on, they will have a better idea of how much the rate increases are going to be and they are going to be able to provide that information to anybody that comes to those public meetings.
Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said one of the things that caught her attention was the public participation and the different levels they have of how they inform the residents of what is going on and also that they were able to do pamphlets to give to the public and that they would be bilingual. Last time there was not much information that was sent out to the residents and even in the workshops they didn’t have anyone to translate. So she thinks the way they presented it and their professionalism of informing made a big difference in the Stakeholders Committee deciding to bring it forward to the City Council.
M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2012-67 to Award the Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services to GoodStanding Outreach of Reno, Nevada and Authorize the City Manager to Execute the Agreement. The Motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:
AYES Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, and Samra
NOES: Council Members: Vierra
ABSENT: Council Members: None
Meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:28 pm
City Clerk of the City of Livingston
APPROVED: December 18, 2012