9. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 18, 2013.

Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 18, 2013.





JUNE 18, 2013

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on June 18, 2013, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



The meeting was called to order by Mayor Espinoza at 6:06 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria (Excused Absence)

Council Member Arturo Sicairos (Excused Absence)

Council Member David Mendoza

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed the meeting for public comments at 6:08 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: 2

2. 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.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria (Excused Absence)

Council Member Arturo Sicairos (Excused Absence)

Council Member David Mendoza






1. Presentation by Council Member David Mendoza and Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza, City Council Certificate of Appreciation to Brian Johnsons, Vice President/Chief Pilot of the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics for the Academy’s donation of a bus to the Livingston High School Band Boosters.

Council Member Mendoza welcomed the Chief Pilot of the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics Brian Johnsons and the Livingston High School Band Boosters. Council Member Mendoza thanked Mr. Johnsons and asked him to introduce himself. Mr. Johnsons spoke about the importance of building a relationship with schools in order to foster the growth and development of pilots. Mr. Johnsons said that Commissioner Mendoza reached out to him in regards to donating a bus to Livingston High School. Sierra Academy is more than happy to help Livingston High School in any way possible. Mr. Johnson’s added that he would like to help local high schools raise money through creative fundraisers by auctioning off scenic flights across the Central Valley.

2. Presentation by Superintendent Steve Gomes, Merced County Office of Education, Report on Merced County Education.

Mr. Gomes opened his presentation by thanking the Council for giving him the opportunity to report on Countywide test results/major changes in the education system. He stated that there are over 56,000 students in Merced County’s K-12 system. Last year, Merced County schools received over $650,000,000. Roughly $150,000,000 was invested in construction. The County’s fiscal commitment to education is reflected in its high graduation rates. Urban schools tend to have graduation rates of about 60% while Merced County has a graduation rate of 93%. Roughly 4,000 high school seniors graduate each year in Merced County. Throughout the course of a lifetime, high school graduates will earn $400,000 more than non-high school graduates. The financial success of high school graduates can be extended if they continue their education and earn a college diploma. Studies have shown that there is a substantial amount of college graduates from Merced County, but a large portion of college graduates leave the County because there is a lack of professional opportunities.

Moreover, to measure a school’s success the State will use something called Academic Performance Index. API scorekeepers take into consideration factors like local funding and student demographics. Therefore, schools like Livingston will be compared only to schools with similar ethnic makeup, family income, and expected cultural capital. Livingston High School scored in the top 20th percentile and Campus Park Elementary School scored in the top 10th percentile.

In addition, Proposition 30 gives more money to schools that have students from low socio economic income. Schools in Livingston really benefitted from Proposition 30. A large portion of funds will be dedicated to the arts because the State Board of Education believes that the arts will foster creative minds that are able to think critically

Nevertheless, next year there will be some revolutionary changes in the education system. The most pivotal change is the implementation of a Common Core curriculum. This change will have a negative effect on Merced County’s API score because it will take teachers some time to adjust their teaching style to teach to the exam. However, if school districts embrace Common Core, students will be better prepared for their future.

3. Presentation by David Heyer, Program Manager, Merced County Department of Workforce Investment, Enterprise Zones/Targeted Employment Area.

Mr. Heyer’s started his presentation with a historical anecdote describing the origins of Enterprise Zones. He said that Enterprise Zones can be traced back to the Los Angeles riots during the 1980’s. Mr. Heyer continued by describing the benefits for businesses that are in an Enterprise Zone which includes using tax credits to hire employees/to investing in equipment. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, the City of Livingston has been left out of the new proposed Enterprise Zone. However, there are many businesses in Merced County that will benefit from tax credits. In order for those businesses to participate they will need the support of all the cities, including the cities that have been excluded. Mr. Heyer urged viewers to contact their state senators declaring their support for Enterprise Zones. It seems that the government wants to downsize Enterprise Zones. Senate Bill 434 proposes creating credits for businesses that process items. These types of businesses are less prevalent in the Central Valley. Mr. Heyer closed his presentation by saying that his staff is working closely with state representatives to prevent the reduction of Enterprise Zones. If things go well, the City of Livingston will be re-incorporated in the near future.


Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Supervisor Pedrozo announced that this year’s proposed budget for Merced County looks a lot better than last year’s. Deficits have reduced and there have been less layoffs. In addition, the Merced High Speed Rail Committee will be meeting tomorrow with Dan Richards, the Chair of the High Speed Rail Board, to see what role Merced County will play in this project. From Mr. Pedrozo’s understanding, it seems as if the project is moving forward. He is happy with how proactive this board has been about pushing the project forward and settling court cases that have been filed against the high speed rail project.

Supervisor Pedrozo added that the CEO of Livingston Medical Group has invited the community to a dinner that will feature board members and youth who have been awarded LMG scholarships. On another note, the Castle Air Museum is currently going through financial challenges. They have decided to organize fundraisers to help sustain the museum. The next fundraiser is on August 3rd at the Merced Theater. Patty Asher will be performing there; proceeds will go to the Castle Air Museum.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Recreation Superintendent Jacquie Benoit thanked PG&E for sponsoring Livingston’s Movie Night in the Park which was held at the Max Foster Sports Complex. The Parks and Recreation Commission and the Recreation Department worked very hard to organize the event. The next Commission meeting will take place at the Council Chambers next Thursday. Commissioners will discuss potential changes for the proposed disc golf course in Arakelian Park.

Moreover, summer has arrived and there is some exciting news that comes with it. The swimming pool is officially open, Campus Park is currently providing free breakfast and lunch to youth under the age of 18, and the Downtown Open Market will be open.

Mayor Espinoza thanked Superintendent Benoit for organizing Movie Night in the Park. He suggested that they host the next Movie Night at Memorial Park so that people living on that side of town can enjoy it.

Associate Planner Miguel Galvez updated the Council on planning related activities. Planner Galvez reported that the Planning Commission has recently approved two CUP’s: 1) Allow cultivation at the North West Corner of Peach Avenue and Winton Parkway; and 2) Allow the renovation of a house that is non-confirming on Simpson Street.

Other planning activities included recent action taken by the Minor Subdivision Committee. They have reviewed and approved a parcel map for Livingston Commons, where Rancho San Miguel is proposed to be. Also, under review is the proposal to expand the existing Chevron/McDonalds site.

City Engineer Nanda Gottiparthy updated the Council on recent engineering related activities. Staff has been informed that FSWA has recently removed the restriction on the By-America project. FSWA has approved a partial waiver, which means that they will be able to work with MCAG to purchase a backhoe.

In other news, staff has recently received improvement plans for the Rancho San Miguel project. This submission allows one to infer that the project is making progress. Also, the CMAQ sidewalk project is currently in the bidding stage.

Mayor Espinoza asked if this is the sidewalk project that has been ongoing for years.

City Engineer Gottiparthy confirmed that this is the project the Mayor is inquiring about. This project is coming along. Plans and specifications have been approved and the next step is to commence the bidding process.

Merced County Fire/CalFire Battalion Chief Paul Avila made a brief presentation giving tips on how to safely celebrate the 4th of July. Mr. Avila reminded everyone that the City of Livingston and Merced County have different rules in regards to the purchasing and lighting of fireworks. Firework sales for both the City and County start on June 28th and go through July 4th. Both jurisdictions are allowed to light fireworks only on the 4th of July. Residents living on County property are allowed to light fireworks until 10:00 p.m.

Mr. Avila reminded residents that adults should be the ones that light the fireworks and that they should maintain a safe distance from the fireworks. Also, they should not be under the influence of drugs/alcohol and there should be a bucket of water onsite for precautionary reasons.

Mayor Espinoza said that Council has been debating the time interval of fireworks sales. This would be a question to ask the City Attorney.

Mr. Avila said that he could answer that question. Municipality’s have the ability to change their ordinance so that fireworks are sold during any time interval between June 26th and July 6th. The Merced County Fire Department would be more than happy to provide some recommendations.

City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez introduced Dennis Schuler from Gilton Solid Waste Management. City Manager Ramirez recommended that Mr. Schuler come out to give the community a briefing on the City’s new two trash can system. He also felt that this would be a good opportunity for community members to ask any questions that they have.

Mr. Schuler gave a power point presentation explaining how the new double chamber vehicles work. The vehicle is divided into two chambers; one chamber is designated for waste, the other is designated for green/paper waste. The waste hopper and control flopper allocate the garbage. The chambers are emptied out independently at two different sites. Over 220 tons of total garbage was collected during the first two weeks. Twenty nine percent of that garbage was green waste and paper waste which was recycled into a valuable commodity.

Mayor Espinoza asked if the garbage and composite is being dumped at the Merced County Waste

Disposal site.

Mr. Schuler replied that the garbage is taken to the Merced site, but the green waste and paper waste is taken out of State to a permitted site.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street said that parts of town didn’t have their garbage picked up last week.

Mr. Schuler said that Gilton manages a vast fleet of vehicles and that last week there were issues with some of those vehicles.

Mayor Espinoza said that some pickups were delayed because Public Works is currently working on some alleys.

Julio Valdez, P.O. Box 701 asked two questions; 1) Did everyone receive the green cans? Who profits from the recycled waste?

Mr. Schuler replied that everyone should have received their second garbage cans by now. To answer the second question, no profit is made on the recycled compost. The revenue from that is used to pay for the transportation of the recycled compost and for any fees involved.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Ramirez announced that he would like to invite the entire community to Livingston’s Downtown Revitalization Charrette. This event begins on Thursday, June 20th and continues onto Tuesday, June 25th. The Charrette is organized by the Congress for New Urbanism and is composed of several architects, planners, transportation planners, and economists. Interpreters will be present at the event if needed. The first day starts at 6:00 p.m. and will end around 8:00 p.m. The Tactical Urbanism exercise goes on to Saturday and the goal of this event is to rethink street design with real live examples.

Also, Livingston is going to participate in the Green Communities Program which is a green gas inventory audit that is sponsored by PG&E and the Great Valley Center. This program does not cost the City money and the City has already agreed to participate.

City Council Member’s Announcement and Reports.

Council Member Mendoza

Nothing to report.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra

Nothing to report.

Mayor’s Announcement and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza announced that the Council is thinking about implementing watering days. In the past Livingston would restrict residents to watering their lawn every other day. The days that residents watered their lawn depended on the last digit of their address, whether it was an odd or even number.


4. Resolution Conditionally Approving Site Plan/Design Review 2013-1 for the Proposed Motel 6 Project, a 75-Room, 3-Story Motel on a 1.05-Acre Parcel Located at 309 Joseph Gallo Drive.

Associate Planner Galvez presented the item.

Planner Galvez introduced the item by describing the context of the proposed site for Motel 6. The project will be located on the west side of Winton Parkway, in what is currently a C-3 Zone.

The Motel 6 is currently under review and there are some issues with the proposal, which include; lack of parking spaces, the need to convert some compact parking spaces to full parking spaces, providing additional lighting and creating an architectural style that is consistent with the other buildings on site.

Gallo has its own design guidelines and it will continue to undergo design review. Moreover, because this project is considered infill development it has been exempt from environmental review. From a logistics perspective this project is consistent with the General Plan.

The Planning Commission recommends approval of this project.

City Staff recommends approval of the site plan, with some conditions.

Greg Thompson, representing Joseph Gallo Farms announced that he is working very closely with the applicant to design a Motel 6 that fits in with the existing buildings on Winton Parkway. He thanked the applicant for being reasonable with Gallo’s design demands and added that they have made great strides since the beginning stages of this project. Currently they are discussing design details such as material, color, and scale.

Felipe Savayos said that he is the lead architect for this firm. However, Mr. Savayos added that Cesar Rodriguez has been the lead architect for this project and unfortunately he was not able to come to this City Council meeting because of an emergency. Mr. Savayos added that if Council or the community have questions that they should not hesitate to ask.

Mayor Espinoza opened and subsequently closed the Public Hearing at 8:33 p.m., as there were no comments from the public.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said that he understands that this project has not been finalized and that some of the design issues have to be resolved further along the process. However, what exactly is Council voting on today? Will the Planning Commission continue to be involved in this project?

Associate Planner Galvez replied that the City Council has the option to approve the project as is or send it back to the Planning Commission. The Livingston Municipal Code allows this flexibility.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra asked if the architect is going to make any big changes to the design.

Mr. Thomson replied that the basic elements of the design will remain the same. Style treatment will be modified. These changes include color, material, and scale. However, the final massing of the design will look like the design that is being shown today.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said that if we look closely at the site plan we will notice that there is only one entrance/exit to the parking lot. Mr. Samra asked if there is an engineering standard that requires a second entrance/exit.

Associate Planner Galvez replied that the City Code requires a minimum of one entrance/exit. However, if Council wants to recommend a second entrance/exit, they can do that. The Fire Marshall has reviewed and approved this parking lot plan. One of the biggest concerns for the Fire Marshall is providing a parking lot that has a turning radius large enough for fire trucks to meander through during an emergency.

Mayor Espinoza added that the City is expecting a street, Del Rio Street to be constructed adjacent to the parking lot. Council can suggest that Motel 6 construct an entrance/exit after Del Rio Street is built. Also, he knows of a lot of residents that are looking forward to the motel being built. Hopefully this project begins a domino effect that will encourage dine-in restaurants to come into town.

Motion: M/S Samra/Mendoza to adopt Resolution No. 2013-24-A, Conditionally Approving Site Plan/Design Review 2013-1 for the proposed Motel 6 Project. The Motion carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Mendoza, Samra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Sicairos, Soria


Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701 asked if Motel 6 can be provided a second entrance/exit through Taco Bell.

City Manager Ramirez replied that Taco Bell is owned by a different property owner so it would be difficult to convince Taco Bell to create an entrance/exit that connects their property to Motel 6.

Mr. Valadez presented the itinerary for Livingston’s 4th of July festivities. The carnival will go from July 4th to July 7th. Carnival ride wristbands/tickets will be sold at Flicks and Licks and at City Hall. The fireworks show will take place on July 5th around 9: 20 p.m. Friday’s live music entertainment consists of the Rhythm Blenders, Valley Cats, and a talent show. Saturday’s lineup includes Nite Flite, Latin Mix, Libertad Nortena, and Las Jefas. Sunday’s entertainment includes the finale of the talent show, Los Kinos, and Rocio y Su Sonora. Moreover, the 4th of July Committee is raffling off a car. Each raffle ticket is $20 and proceeds will fund the cost of the event.

On another note, the 4th of July Committee is currently organizing a couple of fundraisers. One fundraiser is a Casino Bus trip that will depart from Winton Parkway to Chukchansi Casino. The Committee is also raising money by selling fireworks at a booth located at B Street and Winton Parkway. Please come out and support your local Committee.

Mr. Valadez continued by asking; 1) If necessary, would the City of Livingston be able cover any deficits that might be incurred from the 4th of July Festival? At worst it would be a $3,000 deficit, 2) When is the City going to fix the audio on Channel 2?

Mayor Espinoza replied that Channel 2 should be fixed in the near future. The City is working very closely with its cable provider to ensure that this issue gets resolved as quickly as possible. He continued by saying that City could help cover any losses that the 4th of July Committee may have, but he would have to look at the budget before any action is taken.


1. Resolution No. 2013-25, Proceedings Under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982, Government Code Section 53311, Et. Seq., Approving the Formation of City of Livingston Community Facilities District No. 2013-1 (Livingston Family Apartments), Declaring the City’s Intention to Levy and Collect Special Taxes for Fiscal Year 2013/2014.

2. Resolution No. 2013-26,Proceedings Under the Landscape and Lighting Act of 1972, Division 15, Part 2 of the California Streets and Highways Code, Et. Seq., for the Approval to Form Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District No. 2013-1 (Livingston Family Apartments), Declaring the City’s Intention to Levy and Collect Assessments for Fiscal Year 2013/2014, Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Setting a Time and Place for a Public Hearing.

3. Resolution No. 2013-27, Proceedings Under the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982, Government Code Section 54703, Et. Seq., Approving the Formation of City of Livingston Benefit Assessment District No. 2013-1 (Livingston Family Apartments), Declaring the City’s Intention to Levy and Collect Assessments for Fiscal Year 2013/2014, Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Setting a Time and Place for a Public Hearing.

4. City Council Authorization to Purchase New Ballasts and Associated Labor to Retrofit the Police Department Lighting Fixtures.

5. Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting of May 21, 2013.

Motion: M/S Samra/Mendoza to approve the items on the Consent Calendar. The Motions carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Mendoza, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Sicairos, Soria,

City Manager Ramirez announced that Susana Medina from Willdan Financial Services would give a brief overview explaining what the benefit districts do.

Ms. Medina stated that three items on the consent calendar have been approved to help fund different elements for the new apartment complex being constructed on Peach Avenue next to Livingston High School. The three elements being funded are; 1) police/fire protection, 2) storm drainage facilities, 3) landscaping and lighting in that area. The City will collect $9,500 for landscaping and $5,000 for policing.

City Manager Ramirez added that this includes the $565, 000 that the developer paid up front.


6. Resolution Amending the Merced County Regional Enterprise Zone Targeted Employment Area (TEA).

David Heyer, Merced County Department of Workforce Investment reported that the Targeted Employment Area has been changed this year. The formula for calculating the median wage has been modified to compare a community’s local median wage as opposed to comparing a community’s median wage to the states median wage. Due to these changes the City of Livingston will be left out of the new Targeted Employment Area. This change will drop the census track from 40 to 25 TEA’s. This proposal will be enforced starting January 1, 2013 and will expire December 3, 2013.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra asked Mr. Heyer why Livingston is being taken out of the census track.

Mr. Heyer replied that this is because over 50% of residents who answered their survey said that they earned more money than the local median wage.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra asked if the entire City of Livingston is being left out and if other communities are also being left out.

Mr. Heyer replied that all of Livingston is being left out of the Enterprise Zone along with other cities such as Hilmar, Snelling, Gustine, Le Grand, and parts of Los Banos, Atwater, and Merced. Most of these communities have already approved the upcoming proposal. However, a county does not have to accept the proposed targeted area, but that would prevent everyone in the county from participating.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said it does not make sense for communities like Livingston and Gustine to be left out because these cities have higher unemployment rates than Merced. However, with that being said, city councils across the county need to think about what is best for the county and not just their own city.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed this item to the public at 9:04 as there were no comments made.

Motion: M/S Mendoza/Samra to adopt Resolution No.2013-28, Amending the Merced County Regional Enterprise Zone Targeted Employment Area (TEA). The motion carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Mendoza, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Sicairos, Soria

7. Speed Bumps Discussion.

Mayor Espinoza introduced the item.

Mayor Espinoza said that this item was put on the agenda because residents had requested it. They believe that there are an overwhelming number of streets in Livingston that inhibit high volumes of drivers going over the speed limit.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 8th Street, believes that the City of Livingston could really use speed bumps for safety reasons.

Mayor closed public comments at 9:06 as there were no further comments.

Mayor Espinoza said that one way to address this issue is to have it sent to the Planning Commission, wait for their insightful recommendations, and then bring it to City Council.

City Manager Ramirez said that this issue is a little more complicated than simply getting Council’s approval. Speed bumps often require input from the Fire Department and Police Department to ensure the safety of the community and their vehicles. Another aspect to consider is the City’s speed bump engineering standard. There is a wide variety of speed bumps that can be built, in terms of dimensions and material.

Mr. Urnberg said that the City of Mesa, CA has wide speed bumps that can slow down cars, but not fire trucks.

City Engineer Gottiparthy said that the City does not have any engineering standards for speed bumps. However, if this item is discussed in the near future a few elements must be considered; fire truck access, drainage, safety and location. If Council wants to, they can begin by creating an engineering standard for speed bumps.

Mayor Espinoza added that citizen participation is a key element in allocating speed bumps.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra added that the issue of “speed bumps” has been brought to his attention several times. His experience tells him that a few things must be considered when implementing speed bumps. One of the most important factors is creating a standard for warranting a speed bump. If this is not done, Livingston will have speed bumps all over town.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:12 p.m.


Deputy City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: August 20, 2013


Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the City Council. They do not necessarily reflect all of the comments or dialogue leading up to the action. All meetings are digitally recorded and are an official record of the meeting’s proceedings. Digitally recorded verbatim minutes are available, upon request, and may be obtained at Livingston City Hall.


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