LIVINGSTON CA / May 19, 2013 —
Meeting Date: May 21, 2013
LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
APRIL 16, 2013
A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on April 16, 2013, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Pro-Tem Samra presiding.
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pro-Tem Samra at 6:07 p.m.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza (Excused)
Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra
Council Member Jim Soria
Council Member Arturo Sicairos
Council Member David Mendoza
Mayor Pro-Tem Samra opened and closed the meeting for public comments at 6:09 p.m. as there were no comments received. The Council subsequently adjourned to Closed Session immediately after to discuss the following matters:
1. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation
[(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]
Number of Cases: 3
2. Conference with Real Property Negotiator
(Government Code Section 54956.8)
APN Numbers 047-140-006 and 047-140-0017
Negotiating Parties: City Manager
3. Conference with Labor Negotiator
(Government Code Section 54957.6)
Labor 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 Pro-Tem Samra 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 (Excused)
Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra
Council Member Jim Soria
Council Member Arturo Sicairos
Council Member David Mendoza
CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS
City Attorney Jose Sanchez announced there was no reportable action taken. However, closed session was adjourned until the conclusion of the open session.
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA
City Manager Jose Ramirez asked to continue Public Hearing Item #4 to the next regular Council meeting.
Motion: M/S Samra/Sicairos to continue Public Hearing Item #4, “Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.____, of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code, Lot Development Standards, Setbacks, Setback Exceptions, Maximum Site Coverage and Maximum Floor Area Ratio Concerning Residential Rear Yards in the R-1 Zoning District (Low Density Residential).” The motion carried 4-0, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Samra, Soria, Mendoza and Sicairos
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: Espinoza
Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston.
· Asked about Charter and the poor quality of Channel 2. Multiple people sending her messages saying they cannot hear a thing. She talked to the technical support people and they say it is not on our end. It’s on Charter’s end. What can we do about that? Why are we paying for a service we don’t have?
· Inquired about the Feasibility Study that is being prepared by Kennedy Jenks. She understands it is taking a little longer to get the final report done. The meetings for the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee for this month have been cancelled. She wonders when there will actually be a draft ready for review and if there will be copies available for the public.
· She asked for an update on the Well #8 TCP removal project that is in progress.
· Regarding the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year Budget – This year is almost over. She assumes City staff is in the process of working on preparing a new budget. If so, when can the public expect to see that on the agenda?
· She would like a progress report on any new planned development projects having to do with either housing or commercial.
· Back when the senior center was located at the Council Chambers building and then moved to the exiting location, there were some conversations about the County perhaps coming up with some matching funds to help offset the $1,000 a month the City is paying to rent the current facility. Since the County Supervisor is in attendance tonight, she thought he could address that matter.
Mike Torres, 1616 8th Street, Livingston
· Wonders why Council postponed the Public Hearing Item #4. This is the third time this same agenda item has come up and the last two times it was voted down by the Council. There is a quorum present, so he doesn’t see any reason why the item has to be postponed to the next regular meeting.
City Manager Ramirez said there is some information that is still not very clear, so rather than having staff present the item, they wanted to take more time to make sure all the information is correct. They will certainly accept public comments from now until the actual Public Hearing.
Mr. Torres said, again, this is the third time this item has come before the City Council and it seems like they think if they can’t pass it one time, they want to pass it the next time.
City Manager Ramirez said there are three new members on the City Council. The two previous times this item came before the City Council was with the previous Council.
Mr. Torres said Council Members get their packets ahead of time.
City Manager Ramirez said it is always important to clarify and have all the correct information.
Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive
· He is really surprised this item is being tabled. He thinks it is very suspicious that it’s being tabled. He wonders about the reasons why it’s being tabled. He has been on the Planning Commission for awhile and being the Senior Member of the Planning Commission, this setback item has come before them a few times. They voted it down every time. He hopes the City Council takes the Planning Commission’s recommendation.
City Attorney Sanchez said, just for the record, this item is not being tabled, it is being continued, and that is because the City Manager is getting additional information for the City Council so they can make a fully informed decision.
City Manager Ramirez responded to the questions Ms. Schell-Rodriguez brought up.
· With regards to the housing and commercial, currently there have been four different development firms that have inquired about housing projects, but nothing has yet been settled. As it relates to commercial, we basically have Motel 6 that is going through the process. They are going to the Planning Commission for Site Plan and Design Review in May. We also have the submission of plans from Dollar General at the old Sam’s Food City store and they will be coming soon. Staff is also dealing with CVS and Auto Zone.
· As it relates to the Charter Communications Channel 2 quality, there is not much the City can do. He even contacted the Federal Communications Commission, but they too can do little to remedy the situation. Our IT staff said it is not on this end; it is on Charter’s side. City staff actually reached out to some other competitors to see if they would be willing to buy Charter out or invest, but we don’t have enough people yet in order to be able to have them invest that kind of money upfront in order to do this, so hopefully they can find a solution soon as technology advances.
· In regards to Budget 2013-2014, City staff has started meeting with department heads and they have been looking at the projections, etc. Staff’s goal is to have a balanced budget to the City Council in June, so that way July 1st, we start off the year with a balanced budget. The
Upcoming year is going to be difficult because the City has not been receiving as much sales tax and property tax as last year, so there is a pit there, but staff is going to do the best that they can to balance the budget.
· In regards to the feasibility study, basically a draft has been out. There has been several questions that MID, the City Engineer and California Department of Public Health has had, so Kennedy Jenks is basically addressing all of those issues so that we can have a revised draft that we can send out again to the Stakeholders Committee and the City Council and then have the final draft hopefully by mid-May or sooner.
· With regards to Well #8 TCP, 90% of the design has already been approved and moved forward on Well #8. Staff has received comments from the California Department of Health. There is an issue with actual disposal of water with some of the nitrates, so that’s also some of the State issues they are addressing.
· With regards to the Senior Center, he is not familiar with that particular item, but from what Ms. Schell-Rodriguez is saying, he understands that the County promised some money for the Senior Center in the past, but he doesn’t have any information on matter.
Mayor Pro-Tem. Samra closed the public comment period at 7:18 p.m.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
1. Presentation by Police Chief Ruben Chavez of Plaques to the Livingston Union School District – Andres Zamora, Superintendent; and Merced Union High School District – Ralph Calderon, Principal, Livingston High School in appreciation for a collaborative relationship with the Livingston Police Department.
Chief Chavez recognized the Livingston Union School District for collaborating with the Livingston Police Department with their programs. He called up Superintendent Andres Zamora and Associate Principal Jim Branch.
Chief Chavez said these men have been very supportive in all the work with the Police Department. They have opened up the schools to the Police Department and this allows them to go in there and do part of their programs. They have also worked closely with the Police Department to do the lock down drills. They have been phenomenal. He acknowledged the work Mr. Branch did with the Police Department at their gang awareness workshop last week. They had over 100 parents and students there and they had great interaction. They have been good partners and he appreciates the work they did. He presented the Livingston Union School District with a plaque. He read the plaque.
Superintendent Zamora thanked Chief Chavez, the City Council and City Manager Ramirez. He said they have always had a good relationship with the Police Department and under the leadership of Chief Chavez and the support of City Manager Ramirez and the entire Council, they have really stepped up. There is a clear presence of the Police Department in a real positive way with their kids. The officers are building relationships with their kids and with their staff and they really appreciate it because in order for their kids to be successful, they need to be in a safe environment.
City Manager Ramirez said he has a great working relationship with Mr. Zamora. He has participated in a lot of our workshops and also for being so open to new ideas and new possibilities. He added that he looks forward to the trip they have scheduled for the animation program and to continue working with him.
Next Chief Chavez recognized the Merced Union High School District. He asked Principal Ralph Calderon to go up. He said he truly appreciates the work the high schools do. The Police Department has also developed a close relationship with the high school. He appreciates the work that Mr. Calderon has done. He has been very supportive in their efforts to work with youth. They did a camp last year with their Explorers and Mr. Calderon provided the bus and the driver to take their Explorers to Camp McConnell. He also opened up his old gym for the Police Department to use on Friday nights for basketball. He wants what’s best for our students and our school districts, so he truly appreciates the work that he has done as well as his staff . On behalf of the Livingston Police Department, Chief Chavez presented a plaque to the Merced Union High School District. Chief Chavez read the plaque.
Mr. Calderon said it truly has been a pleasure. He doesn’t think you can have a high school in a town without including the town. It has been one of his core beliefs that in order to have a good high school, they have to have a good relationship with the City and Chief Chavez has made it really easy to work with him. It has been a pleasure. He is very proud of the Explorer program. He announced they were voted the best Explorer program in the region, along with Merced. For its first year of existence, that is a tremendous accomplishment. It is to everyone’s advantage to have these young adults out there representing the City of Livingston and also Livingston High School in a very positive way, so they are really excited. It is just the beginning, but they are looking to expand and put these kids into the community and into public service.
City Manager Ramirez said he has been able to work with Mr. Calderon on providing services for our community. They’ve hosted the Indian Consulate and the Mexican Consulate. There are so many different programs, so many different elements out there and the staff at Livingston High School is phenomenal.
Mayor Pro-Tem Samra thanked the Livingston Union School District for providing facilities for the Kite Festival this last weekend. It was a good turn out and a lot of people enjoyed it. This weekend they have the Relay for Life and we also have the Punjabi Club Vaisakhi Festival coming up. The schools are really involved in the community; it keeps the kids busy and active and keeps the community involved as well so that is really great that they can work with us.
2. Recognition of Public Safety Dispatcher Appreciation Week, April 14-20, 2013 – Deanna Soria, Communications/Records Manager.
Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said not only do we have great schools in Livingston; we also have a great Police Department, too.
Chief Chavez called up Communications Records Manager Deanna Soria. This week is National Dispatcher Appreciation Week. If you have never worked a dispatch console answering 911 calls, it is a very stressful profession. He wanted to recognize the dispatchers especially this week. They handle routine calls, but they also handle those critical calls. When someone calls and they need something right away, they are the voice of ration, the voice of calmness, and they are the ones that are supposed to calm the caller down and get the information and dispatch the call.
Last year their dispatchers handled 3,292 (911) calls. They also handled over 22,000 routine inbound calls and also made almost 10,000 routine outbound calls. All together that is over 35,000 calls last year.
As far as calls for service, they dispatched 13,500 calls for service for the City of Livingston. Since June 7th, when they took over for Gustine Police Department providing dispatch services for them, they dispatched over 5,000 calls for service. That is 19,000 calls for services in a single year by their dispatchers. We have five full-time and one part-time dispatcher. This does not include their routine responsibilities. They are responsible for greeting the public at the front counter. In addition, they have to enter data for citations, for property, for reports. Those are tasks they accomplish during their shift. He is proud of the work they do. He thanked Ms. Soria who runs the communications/records division for a job well done.
Ms. Soria thanked all her dispatchers. They work so hard. They really deserve a pat on the back and a thank you for all of their hard work and for the amount of effort they put forward.
3. Presentation by Police Chief Ruben Chavez of the Merced County Emergency Notification System.
Chief Chavez said the County of Merced is in the process of trying to promote the Emergency Notification System. Every department is represented within the City and within the County.
It notifies people in case of emergency. If we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you. All information that is inputted whether it is a text, a cell phone, or an e-mail address, whatever is essential in the event there is an emergency. All the cities are represented. This is a Countywide project. The County and Cal Fire are doing a great job to promote the system.
Multiple reasons why we would want to alert the community – a gas leak, a major accident, also community alerts.
Alerts are done geographically. It’s got software. As you enter the data, you can actually drag the cursor and put it around a geographical area or you can enter a specific zip code and all the phones or e-mails listed within that geographical area will be notified.
He explained how they notify you.
· Home phone
· Work phone
· Cell phone
· Text message
It is free. Just put your information in there and be ready to receive alerts.
Deanna Soria explained how to sign up. She said it is very easy. It only takes 5-10 minutes to do. They really encourage everyone in the City of Livingston to sign up to get notifications. You can get notifications for your work area or for your children’s school if there is an emergency or if the Police Department puts out something that is happening in your neighborhood. Being that the information they currently have is what is in the phone book, it is very limited, so they really encourage people to go onto the website and do the sign up. She had some fliers to hand out.
It is really quick. You choose the language and you can choose the community alerts you want to receive. Also if you have special needs – if someone in your family is hearing impaired or if someone is in a wheel chair, what this does is let the Police Department know they have to come and get these people if there is some type of an alert for their area.
You can list up to five addresses that you are concerned about. There are only three steps to the whole registration process. You can log in and change your address, your phone numbers, etc. It’s a wonderful system; they have to actually notify the citizens and they encourage trying to get the word out to all of the citizens. If you don’t have internet access, you can go to the library, as well.
City Manager Ramirez asked if this system interlocks with any other towns.
Ms. Soria said the system is just for Merced County alone, but the interoperability for you to register an address, you can register your work address and if you live in another city, you can register that address as well within Merced County and you can be notified for three different disasters or anything similar. She also mentioned the dispatch centers within the county are all interconnected, so if, for whatever reason, something happened with the dispatch center and you were unable to make a notification, they can immediately call the Sheriff’s Department or the Atwater Police Department and they can actually put out the notification for us, so it’s really a fail proof system.
Mayor Pro-Tem Samra asked that this information be available on the City website or on Channel 2.
Ms. Soria said she can be reached at the Livingston Police Department with any questions or to get help signing up.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS 7:39 pm
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
Supervisor John Pedrozo said he would be in contact with City Manager Ramirez to discuss the Livingston Senior Center. He believes a few years back there was some miss information given out from a previous City Manager saying the County was going to be obliged do some things. He will look into that. He wants to first say that some of his discretionary money has been coming to Livingston. They donated $500 to the Young Ladies Conference; $500 to the Kite Festival; and $1,000 to the 4th of July Fireworks and they are in the process of donating $500 to the Sober Grad and they have for many years, but he will look into the Senior Center and get back to the City Manager.
Supervisor Pedrozo said the County, too, is working on their budget for the next calendar year. All their departments are meeting and seeing if the budget is going to be better or about the same. They are thinking that things are starting to improve a little bit with increases in assessed values and with the building that’s going on.
Supervisor Pedrozo announced that in the City of Merced, where Blockbusters was, there is going to be a Panera Bread and Chipotle.
Last week he was in Sacramento for intercity rail. He has been involved with the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee for as long as he has been on the board. The San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee was more of an advisory board. Now they’ve formed a JPA and he was voted chairman. He wants to make sure the Valley is going to be well represented. They walked the halls last week just to meet with different senators and assembly members or their staff to let them know we want to keep our Amtrak systems files so when the high speed rail does come that the connectivity between high speed rail and passenger rail will work and be a smooth transition to make everything work.
Those of you who go south, check out the construction that is going on Highway 99. That is all District 1 out there. It’s unbelievable how they are doing. It’s unbelievable when you drive around with the Chief Engineer of Caltrans and how they know how this all works. They are about 6-8 months ahead of schedule. He thinks by 2014, it’s going to be completed from the Plainsburg interchange to the La Arboleda interchange, it’s going to be one full freeway instead of a highway.
He will also be going to the “One Voice” along with some of our Livingston representatives.
City Manager Ramirez said he looks forward to Livingston being in the queue for funding for underground utilities. One of the neat things is some of the other cities weren’t as fast as Livingston to apply for these funds. So Livingston should be at front. We have a very good project here which is B Street undergrounding especially in front of the schools. One of the things he doesn’t like about underground utility projects is that they take too long (4-5 years). Hopefully we can get some of this funding which is right around $3 Million for underground utilities. Anything Supervisor Pedrozo can help us with will be greatly appreciated.
Mr. Pedrozo said he was out at the Sikh Parade. It was very nice. He was glad to be there.
City Staff Announcements and Reports.
Public Works Director Humberto Molina introduced the two new City of Livingston wastewater operators, Robert Bourke who worked for EMS for three years and is a great wastewater operator with seven years experience with the City of Ceres. Both are very familiar with facilities and we are happy to have them with us. Effective April 29th, the City will take over wastewater operations.
Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said he is quite impressed with the amount of Punjabi Mr. Bourke speaks.
City Council Members welcomed the new employees.
City Manager Ramirez also welcomed them.
Chief of Police Chavez gave a Police Department update.
For last month only one residential burglary.
They upgraded the citizen links, so there is a link on their website. You can go there and search for crimes, burglaries, etc. He showed how the system works. It is pretty user friendly and it shows you what is going on.
On April 27th, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., they will have the National Drug Take Back Day for anybody with expired or old prescription medications they would like to get rid of. Don’t flush medications down the toilet. You can take them to the Livingston Police Department, Livingston Medical Group, or Fiesta Super Market all at the same time on the same day. They will have three receptacles.
April is National Distracted Driving Enforcement Month and they have a campaign in progress. There are two specific days of special enforcement – April 3 and April 16. Basically zero tolerance.
Gang Awareness Workshop at Livingston Middle School last week – Good turn out. Had over 100 parents and students in attendance. They had great speakers. Planning the event again next year.
Animal control statistics for the month of March: 15 cats, 21 dogs, and 1 pony. (They did find the owner and returned it). Last month they had a lot of dogs that had to be put down.
Council Member Soria thanked Chief Chavez. He said he has seen more visibility from the police officers out on the streets and especially at the schools.
City Manager Announcements and Reports.
One of the items brought to his attention is the issue along D Street. There is a sewer line that is causing some headaches for several of the residents. He did a little research on the problem. He is trying to get some direction from Council in terms of how to address this matter. In order to address this particular problem, it cannot be done by the residents; the City will have to take the lead. The issue here is whether the affected residents should pay towards this or the City just identifies funding and addresses it, but the City has to do the design, the engineering, and the actual construction. Basically put in a new line and have various connections to the new line. This cannot be done by the residents. It is too complicated and then it will require a lot of coordination between the homeowners, so he recommends this be a City project. He asked for Council direction on whether or not the residents participate with a portion or the City just does the project in its entirety. He wanted to throw that out for the Council to think about and discuss later.
The one million gallon water tank in the City needs painting. They are analyzing that further to see if it can be done further down the road or needs to be addressed this next year. We are looking at fire protection and some other things.
We are moving along with the downtown open market. We went and offered spaces to our local businesses and also moved out to see if any of the surrounding communities would like to participate. We are looking at starting May 9th. He really appreciates the help Planning Intern Francisco Mendoza is providing. He is helping out quite a bit.
We have the 4th of July just around the corner. We also have the Sweet Potato Festival coming up September 20th through the 22nd.
City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.
· Thanked Chief Chavez for all the department’s hard work. He likes to see officers at the school and on the streets. He appreciates them keeping our crime down. Great job!
· Went to the kite festival. They had a great turn out. He enjoyed it. Great to see Chief and other City staff out there.
· Had a great turn out at kite festival last weekend.
· Relay for Life this weekend.
· The Livingston High School Punjabi Club is putting on a Vaisakhi Festival this Saturday at the old high school gym. They will have some cultural dancing from 3-7 p.m.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
Mayor Espinoza absent.
CITY COUNCIL FUTURE AGENDA ITEM REQUESTS
Mayor Pro-Tem Samra read the items.
4. Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance No. 604, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code Titled “Animal Control Regulations”.
5. City Council Designation of Equipment/Property as Surplus and Authorizing Staff to Dispose of Property Appropriately.
6. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 5, 2013.
7. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 19, 2013.
8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated April 11, 2013.
Motion: M/S Soria/Sicairos to approve consent agenda items 5,6,7,8, and 9. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Samra, Soria, Mendoza, and Sicairos
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: Espinoza
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
Mayor Pro-Tem. Samra adjourned the regular meeting at 8:00 p.m. and resumed the Closed Session immediately after.
The Council came out of Closed Session at 8:45 p.m.
CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS