Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 18, 2014.

Meeting Date: April 15, 2014

Agenda Item #9. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 18, 2014.

Note from TheGardeningSnail: Parts of this page may have been prepared by running a PDF file through a program that converts Image to Print. So there may be a few textual Gremlins that have slipped in. I may also have broken up some of the longer paragraphs, for easier reading.





MARCH 18, 2014

A Regular Meeting/Closed Session of the Livingston City Council was held on March 18, 2014, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria (Late Arrival)

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments at 6:07 p.m. There were no comments and the Council went into Closed Session immediately thereafter 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


Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza


City Attorney Jose Sanchez said there was no reportable action.


No changes to the agenda.


1. Introduction and Oath of Office for new City Accountant, Harpreet “Happy” Bains.

City Manager Jose Ramirez introduced Mr. Harpreet “Happy” Bains as the new City Accountant and gave a brief history of his background.

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza thanked Mr. Bains for applying for the position and said he knew Mr. Bains would do a great for job for the City.

City Clerk Antonio Silva swore in Mr. Bains as the new City Accountant.

2. Presentation by Mr. Arnie Gomez, Cub Master, Cub Scout Pack 217 of Cub Pack Re-charter to Livingston Police Department and Appreciation Plaques to Police Chief Ruben Chavez and Officers John Ramirez and Marco Lugo for their support of the Cub Scout Pack.

Mr. Gomez presented the Cub Scout Pack Re-charter certificate and a plaque to Police Chief Ruben Chavez for his support of the Cub Scout Pack for the last two years. He also presented Officer Marco Lugo with a plaque for his dedication to the youth of Cub Scout Pack 217.

Chief Chavez thanked the Cub Scout Pack and stated that it was an honor and privilege to serve the pack and thanked them for their dedication.

Officer Lugo also thanked the Cub Scout Pack for being recognized and being presented with a plaque.

Mayor Espinoza thanked Chief Chavez and the officers for doing a great job and supporting the community. He also thanked Cub Scout Pack 217 for coming to the meeting.

3. Presentation by Paul Avila, Battalion Chief, CAL FIRE – Fire Hydrant Flushing Program.

City Manager Ramirez explained that Mr. John Lou would be replacing Paul Avila, Battalion Chief, CAL FIRE, and would give a presentation on the City fire hydrant flushing program and exercising of valves.

Mr. Lou gave a presentation about the flushing program, the City water system and the purpose of the program. CAL FIRE is assisting public water agencies by implementing this program. He gave the following program summary:

· Maintain safe and reliable drinking water for the community

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires potable water purveyors to maintain flushing programs of water systems for safe and reliable drinking water quality pursuant to the California Code of Regulations Title 22, Secondary Drinking Water Standards section 64449.5.

· Address customer complaints

– Implementation of regular maintenance of the system

– A flushing program can be used to address customers’ complaints for sediment, taste, odor or color of the water supply within isolated sections of the system.

– The City of Livingston is committed to providing the highest quality of water for users within its service area.

· Dead-ends regular maintenance

– Program will use conventional flushing

1) System wide flushing

2) Spot flushing for specific cases

3) City will target dead-end sections of the system to ensure proper recirculation of any stagnant water within the pipes.

· Flushing Plan

– Systematic flushing of the entire water system once per year of the four zones

– Flushing duration shall last 5-10 minutes

– Flushing shall occur during non-peak hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

– Visual inspection of hydrants and valves

– Notify residents and business owners prior to flushing

· Precautions

– Safety of citizens and City/County personnel

– Opening and closing valves slowly

– Divert water accordingly

– Water conservation

Mario Gouveia, City Engineer said his office works in conjunction with the Fire Department and the Fire Department has the lead on this program with the support of Public Works.

4. Presentation of HERO Program by Mr. Mark Rodgers, Vice President of Municipal Development at Renovate America.

In summary, Mr. Rodgers said the program is helping communities stimulate their local economies, create new jobs and become more energy efficient by reducing energy demand by over 80 GWh’s per year, and CO2 emissions by over 20,000 tons per year.

City Manager Ramirez said this particular program was implemented by the City of Atwater.

Mr. Rodgers gave a presentation on HERO Program financing. It’s a program for homeowners to finance energy efficient upgrades and the ability to pay the balance on their property tax bill. It makes energy efficiency, water conservation and renewal energy upgrades affordable. He highlighted the following:

· Water conservation for homeowners

· Founded in 2008

· Highly awarded program; great people in the program

· Easy for contractors, easy for people to apply

· Has funded over $180 million dollars

· Drought relief

· Over 50 product categories and $150,000 models

· Provide local training

Mr. Rodgers asked the Council to approve this program.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed public comments at 7:33.

No action was taken by the Council.

5. Presentation by Catherine Hansford, Rate Consultant – New Water and Sewer Rates.

Catherine Hansford, Rate Consultant gave a presentation on the new water and sewer rates study. This study has been implemented over the last year.

· Purpose of the Study

– Determine level of funding required over the next 5 years to adequately fund the water and wastewater systems.

– Establish a schedule of monthly rates to collect the required level of funding

– To provide residents and businesses of the City with clean, safe potable water as required by State and Federal agencies.

– Provide a reliable wastewater system that meets State and Federal Standards

· Requirements of Proposition 218

– Fees/charges shall not exceed the funds required to provide the service

– Fees/charges shall not be used for any purpose other than that for which it is imposed

– Fees/charges shall not exceed proportional cost service to each property

– Fees/charges based on potential/future use of the service is not permitted

· Background

– These services provided by enterprise funds (intended to cover costs through user fees and charges to be independent of other City funds)

– Costs have escalated over time to operate these systems, but revenues have not

– The rate schedules are at 1995 calculated levels

· Consequences

– Reduced levels of service

– Water quality has suffered

– City unable to leverage advantageous financing

· Why raise the rates?

– Infrastructure to improve water quality to comply with quality standards- Manganese, Arsenic, TCP (water).

– Repair negative cash balance and stop subsidization by other City funds (water and sewer).

– Comply with existing bond covenants (sewer)

– Obtain access to State and Federal low-cost loans (water and sewer)

– Build small reserve for emergencies, higher than estimated costs, future environmental standards (water and sewer).

· What if we don’t raise the rates?

– Non- compliance with water quality standards, State agencies will impose heavy fines

– State agencies will impose higher rates that you have no local control over

– Other City services negatively impacted as their funding is used for water and sewer

· Assumptions for both funds

– Annual operation and maintenance costs increased based on typical cost increases in the region.

– Most costs 3.5% Personnel, 5.5% Utilities, 4.0% per year

– New development fees excluded in projections

– Rate structure modification for water and wastewater

– System rehabilitation cost not fully accounted for

– New rate structures in effect May 1, 2014, following increases on January 1 for years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.

· Water Study

– Three Capital Cost Scenarios

– Funding Strategy: TCP Funds, Connection Fees and DWSRF Loans

Scenario Current $$ Future $$ (adjusted for inflation)

Full CP $10.2 mil $10.7 mil

Reduced CIP (omits well 12) $08.5 mil $08.8 mil

Reduced CIP (omits well 12 and 15) $07.2 mil $07.4 mil

· Water System Users

– 2% Foster Farms

– 26% Residential

– 72% Remaining commercial, landscape and other usages

· Revenue Requirement

– Increases need to:

– Fully fund meter replacement program

Provide for an emergency repairs fund

Eliminate negative cash balance and build-up a reserve

Accumulate funds for debt service for new infrastructure to address water quality

Cash fund some capital improvements

· Rate Structure Modifications

· Typical Bills Residential & Commercial

· Bill Breakdown

· Impact to Single Family Monthly Water Bill

· I Impact to Foster Farms Industrial Water

– How much would they pay if they were in a different city?

· Wastewater System

· Revenue Requirement

Mayor Espinoza asked if was a requirement with the USDA to maintain a reserve fund.

Ms. Hansford replied the City needs to have two reserve funds.

· Allocate Cost by Customer Type

· 2014 Calculated Cost per 1,000 Gallons

· Current and Proposed Rates

· Cash Flows

· Comparison of Wastewater Rates

· Cumulative Impact of Rate Increases – Typical Monthly Bill for a Home in Livingston.

Mayor Espinoza asked if it was the full CIP and Ms. Hansford advised him it was the medium which is about $96.00. Mayor Espinoza stated that in five years the average bill would be less than $100 compared to other cities that are at $150.00 to $200.00. He added that if the 2009 City rates had been kept, the bill would be about $169.00.

Mayor Espinoza opened public comments at 7:57 p.m.

Gilbert Reyes, 1325 Emerald Drive, Livingston, asked how much the utility bill would be for a single family residence and he was told it was $30.00 a month and if the flow exceeds 12,000 per month a flow charge would be added.

Mr. Reyes asked if the utility rate increases would take a majority vote to pass.

City Attorney Sanchez said the City passed a Resolution by a 4/5th vote. There is also a City Ordinance that was adopted by a 4/5th vote.

Mr. Reyes said last time there was a mess and after the recall the Council voted to have a majority vote to approve the increases.

Mr. Reyes noted that as a customer he is allowed to use 35,000 gallons of water under the current rate. The new rates would allow only 25,000 gallons and any other water usage above the 25,000 will be charged at $1.00 per gallon over the 25,000. He commented that the average family used 40,000 gallons.

Mayor Espinoza stated that Mr. Reyes was mistaken; the average home used 20,000 gallons.

Mr. Reyes said that during the summer months, families have gardens and they used 40,000 gallons. He said families unite and create more sewer/water usage because they are living together. Mr. Reyes also stated that Foster Farms used 6.5 million gallons of water a day and that their bill would double.

Ms. Hansford, pointed to the survey table and showed the average number of residents used 10,000 gallons during the winter months and 30,000 gallons during the summer, but the average throughout the year was 20,000 gallons. She said they shared the data with Foster Farms of their 2012/2013 usage and what they would pay with new the new rates.

City Manager Ramirez said that Foster Farms, through the Stakeholders’ Committee, was aware of the rates. He also noted that the City was working with the community to keep them updated.

Mr. Reyes said the City wanted to raise water rates, but the wells were still contaminated and the 9 million dollars that was allocated to clean TCP was not being used. He said wait until Dow Chemical finds out. Mr. Reyes stated that, “as far as notifying the community you are not.” He warned the City Manager if he passed the increases, he better be looking for a new job and that rest of the Council would be recalled.

Mrs. Katherine Schell-Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, made the following statement, “In attending the Utility Rates Stakeholders meetings, I don’t not see any of the voting members here which is ironic.

My understanding that what is in this five year plan is the absolute bare minimum to keep the State out of our hair. Still not including additional funds for worst case scenario in case we lose a well given the age of our system and of our wells and regulations coming down the pike.

I am concerned that only considering the bare minimum. If we are going to do this we have to hammer home to the community. That this is bare minimum and there is much more work to be done. When this five year plan is done we would have to start the process to evaluate rate structures and I’m concerned, because of the history. Are we temped to wait another ten years to do it over again and in peoples’ minds. Didn’t we just do this five years ago, why again?

Our groundwater and delivery system has serious issues and we won’t be able to take care it in five years. That has to be hammered home to everyone. We might finish this process, but end up in a world of hurt all over again.”

Mayor Espinoza said the Council was aware of the concerns with the wells and is looking at a grant to address Wells 17 and 18. Mayor Espinoza said the Council was looking toward the future.

City Manager Ramirez gave a recap of what the Stakeholders’ Committee has done to date and made the following statement:

“A comprehensive study was conducted that analyzed the City’s sustainability or current situation. The rates are only for a 5-year window and every community has to go through a 5-year window to address future water needs.

The City of Livingston was at the fore front of the leadership in order to create the Erwin process which was not part of the County and we were the first city to upfront $5,000. You might recall we came to the Stakeholders. This is a long process, but a thorough process and the process is open and posted and everybody can attend if they so choose and so that opens the door for us to be eligible for state funding under that process. The Council adopts the plan as well as other folks. There is a government structure that is being put in place right now. There is a funding that was brought in for the County. We actually have projects that we already submitted in addition to that. That is another component.

The third component is that we actually submitted pre-application; got invited to submit to the SRF which is State Revolving Loan Fund and on the 24th of this month, we have a large package that outlines what we are planning to do on Wells 13, 15, 17, and, I believe, Wells 12 and 18.

And so with the idea trying to get as much funding as possible whether it be, I don’t know how much grant might be able to get, how much loan, but the loan will come in 0% and the 4th component is like the Mayor mentioned, we went after a CDBG grant which we were blessed to get a $1.6 Million grant. We are continuing to look at other funding sources especially now with the drought situations there has been a notice of funding availability that the State of California has put through and we are looking at another federal funding as well to see how we could bring some of those fundings to the City of Livingston.

So, it is a ……..the rates that is being proposed, there are three scenarios that provides the community. If we come up with 100 scenarios, we would not be doing our job. So, what we do is we come up with a thorough scenario that was actually recommended by the Stakeholders and the input by Foster Farms and the other businesses and the residents who participated and so our Council Members so we were proposing to get feedback with what ultimately the rates are going to be decided on is a policy decision, but this is what’s been brought forward now and so outlined in the capital improvements list which we proposed in the very get go.

Kind of outline everything we put in place holders so that it won’t be out of sight, out of mind meaning that those things cannot be forgotten. You need to be on top of those and so we are making sure it is in the document and this document and out of Katherine and the rest of the community has worked in detail. Again that is not out of sight and out of mind.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said he has been working on this for more than three years and this report has been accepted and forwarded unanimously. It would be very difficult to do rate studies for more than five years. He said a citizen was concerned if we lose another well; the good thing is that Well 17 is coming up on line because of a CDBG grant. Regardless of what scenario we pick, we need to discuss it and need to move forward. We have the citizens, businesses, schools and Foster Farms’ input. He believes they were going to vote yes to move forward.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra suggested that staff sent out a thank you letter to the Committee for all the time they spend on this issue.

City Manager Ramirez announced the City will have three workshops to educate the community in English, Spanish and Punjabi on April 8, 10, 21, or 22 or 23 at the City Council Chambers at 6:00 pm.  Staff will send out a notice to the community and will be posted on Channel 2.


Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Supervisor Pedrozo was not present.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

No staff announcement and reports.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Ramirez just signed and will submit an application for the State Revolving Loan Fund. The application needs to be submitted by March 24th. He is also continuing to analyze the NOFA that is associated with the drought to see how they could tie in the local problems.

City Manager Ramirez said the downtown open market will begin in May and will last through October. He also said fire hydrant flushing will begin this coming week.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Soria attended a DulLac Conference in Los Banos on March 15th. The guest speaker was Public Defender Vincent Andrade. He advised the Council that he had submitted his paper work for the Sherriff’s position.

Mayor Espinoza said it would cost the City to replace Mr. Soria.

City Manager Ramirez announced that on March 19th, there will be a Natural Resource Community meeting at the Council Chambers regarding drought issues. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra invited the Council and the community to attend the Sikh parade on Sunday March 30th beginning at 12:00 p.m. The parade will begin on Peach Avenue to B Street and back again. The parade takes about four hours and there will be free food.

Mayor Espinoza said the parade was well attended and the City’s population rises to 20,000 because of the event.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra stated there is a little boost on the local economy with all the people that come and attend the parade.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza attended a recent meeting of the Merced Irrigation District and there were lots of concerns from the farmers. The farmers are not getting half of their normal allotment of water. He also announced that he will be running for Mayor and would like to thank everyone who supports him.


1. Public Hearing – Introduction and First Reading of Ordinance No. ___, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code Section Title 4, Chapter 2, Sign Regulations: Adding New Section 4-2-8, Related to Murals: Adding Definitions to Section 4-2-3, “Definitions”, and Making Minor Numbering Changes.

Contract Planner Holly Owen gave a presentation on the proposed changes to the Livingston Municipal Code and in particular, a proposed Mural Ordinance. She showed different murals from other cities and gave a brief explanation on the importance of the Ordinance to the City and the process for adoption of the Ordinance.Contract Planner Owen also gave the following summary on Livingston murals:

Livingston Murals

· Cultural Arts District – Recommended AIA/CNU

· Tour Of Lindsay/Exeter

– Creation process

– Material/upkeep

· Review of others’ ordinances

· Draft Mural Permit, fees to follow

Contract Planner Owen further recommended the Council introduce and waive the first reading of the Ordinance.

Mayor Espinoza asked how many murals could be approved per year.

Contract Planner Owen said she did not think it was possible to identify a number at this time, but there will be some type of fee, process and will tend to attract the more serious participants.

Mayor Espinoza asked if there will be some type of funding.

Contract Planner Owen explained there is funding in the form of grants and gifts and she would like to see some murals in the industrial area and not just the downtown area.

City Manager Ramirez advised that the encouragement for murals will be in the cultural arts district.

Mayor Espinoza asked if the Council would appoint the Arts Council.

City Manager Ramirez said staff could look into formalizing an Arts Council. He asked if the Council would like to appoint people or if they would want a non-profit to start its own group as a Cultural Arts District Council.

Mayor Espinoza commented that he would like a committee that is under the umbrella of the City so they could follow the City’s regulations.

City Manager Ramirez stated that as of now a group was made up of students, recreation staff and him. They will be the first to analyze and recommend the Mural Ordinance to the Planning Commission. When it gets to the Planning Commission someone can appeal it to Council if they don’t like the determination.

City Attorney Jose Sanchez advised he could definitely see creating an ad hoc group from different groups from the City. The City will be looking at the Codes. One option is to put the group in the Codes such as other Commissions in order for the appointment process to be followed, that way all regulations are followed.

Council Member Soria asked what is the process for approval and if there is a timeframe.

Contract Planner Owen said it would be difficult to estimate on how long the process will take unless there is lot of competition for the same space. However, it would go for the one that is organized and funded.

Mayor opened and closed the Public Hearing at 8:43 p.m.

Contract Planner Owen explained that one of the concerns was that the murals would be eliminated because of tightly worded interpretation, the cost for advertising, commercial advertising or trade mark logo. She said some wording was changed to include that only the history of the place that the mural would reside would not dominate the theme of the mural.

They discussed what the mural should look like and what historical context of the design would be allowed with some restrictions.

Council Member Sicairos asked how many murals would be allowed in the City.

Contract Planner Owens said that she does not see a limitation, but the City Manager has a vision about that.

City Manager Ramirez stated the City would be lucky if they get 20 to 25 murals in 5 years. He said there is a cost associated, a process to follow, some fees, painting and prep in order to put up a mural. Also, they would have to use some type of film that could be sprayed on to counter graffiti. City Manger Ramirez envisions a local artist, state artist or international artist doing the murals.

Motion: M/S Samra/Sicairos to introduce and waive the first reading of Ordinance No. 612, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code Section Title 4, Chapter 2, Sign Regulation; Adding New Section 4-2-8, Related to Murals, Adding Definition to Section 4-2-3, “Definition”, and Making Minor Numbering Changes. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Mendoza, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None


Mayor Espinoza opened Citizen Comments at 8:49 p.m.

Katherine Shell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, said the agenda packet that was posted online Friday was only 66 pages, but the agenda packet at the counter at City Hall was at least three times that long which means folks who might have been a little interested in doing their homework over the weekend had to do some detective work to find the documents that went with some of the agenda items even though Staff Reports stated that copies of these documents had been provided to Council.

Mrs. Schell-Rodriguez asked the City Attorney that if something was going to be given to a member of the City Council before the weekend starts, and it’s going to be included in the agenda packet on the counter, shouldn’t it also be included in the agenda packet posted online?

City Attorney Sanchez said the Brown Act requires the agenda to be posted on line and the agenda was posted. The best practice will be left up to the City Manager to answer.

City Manager Ramirez thanked Mrs. Shell-Rodriguez for bringing this to his attention and said he would have to look into the matter.

Mayor Espinoza explained that he is part of different committees and attends MID meetings. Sometimes they don’t give everything in detail to the public. It would be up to the agency to provide it. As long as the agenda is on the website it meets its legal requirements.

City Manager Ramirez stated that Mrs. Shell-Rodriguez was asking for the supporting documentation and advised her that they did not do it willfully

Odi Ortiz, Assistant City Manager/ Finance Director stated the difference was the budget document. Administrative staff decided that because it was already uploaded in the website they would leave it out of the agenda to make the agenda shorter.

Mayor Espinoza said the community can pick-up copies from the City.

Mr. Ortiz said it was noted in the Staff Report that the budget report was going to be uploaded into the website and the City had copies if the community would like to pick-up a copy.

City Manager Ramirez said everything was uploaded, but was not attached directly to the document. They would have had to read the Staff Report and then look for the document on the website.

Mrs. Shell-Rodriguez stated that one would have to know where to look in order to find the budget document and not everyone knows how to do this. She is just coming from the prospective of being as open and transparent as humanly possible and providing all the information to the people as early as possible. She has been to the training and knows about the Brown Act, if an agenda packet is posted after 5:00 p.m. or later after City Hall closes you are stuck until Monday to come in and look at the counter copy. Mrs. Schell-Rodriguez added that if the staff is going to post the agenda packet on line; which the members of this Council pledges to do as part of being an open and transparent City Government, it would be open and transparent to post the whole thing on line.

City Manager Ramirez said he took full responsibility for his staff and this had nothing to do with the Council. He pledged and continued to pledge from this day forward that his staff would not take lateral decisions. City Manager Ramirez apologized to Mrs. Shell-Rodriguez and advised her that whatever the packet was, it should be uploaded to the website and she had his contact information if she had any further questions or concerns.

Mayor Espinoza stated that if there was something missing from the agenda for Mrs. Shell-Rodriguez to be at City Hall before 5:00 p.m. He also said that City Hall had extra copies or CD’s for her to take.

Luis Flores, 707 Almond Drive, Livingston, asked if the Council had any updates on the skate park or had there been any updates?

City Manager Ramirez said there are insufficient funds to start the project but there is a Roberti Z’Berg Harris grant that was attached to the Court Theater project. They asked the State if they had to pay it back and asked for a one year extension. There will be a meeting on Thursday staff was hoping they could separate that money from going back. The money could be used for other recreational projects or different ideas could be discussed on where the money could be used.

Mayor Espinoza closed Citizen Comments at 8:57 p.m.


2. Lisa Sanchez Claim.

3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 4, 2014.

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated March 14, 2014.

Motion: M/S Soria/Mendoza to approve the Consent Calendar. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Mendoza, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None


5. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Accept Dedication of Lot 54 of Sun Valley Estates.

City Engineer Mario Gouveia said the Resolution was needed as part of the procedure to finalize the documents needed to close escrow.

City Manager Ramirez asked if it was necessary to be able to work on Well #17 and to use the grant funding on the actual property itself. He said he would like to take care of this issue sooner than later. The City was already doing all the paperwork and the leg work on Well #17.

City Engineer Gouveia said the lot was intended to be deeded to the City a few years back, but the procedure was never finalized. He also learned that the actual owners of the property were the developers and the lot was never dedicated to the City.

Mayor Espinoza said the owner wants to develop the property or sell it.

City Engineer Gouveia said that the casing is already in for a future well.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed the agenda item for public comments at 9:01 p.m.

Motion: M/S Soria/Mendoza to approve Resolution No. 2014-14, Authorizing the City Manager to Accept Dedication of Lot 54 of Sun Valley Estates. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Mendoza, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

6. Livingston Commons – Evaluate Median Landscaping vs. Hardscaping and Sidewalk Width.

City Engineer Gouveia said in regards to the improvement plans for the Livingston Commons development, they were resubmitted from the developer. He said the two issues are on Winton Parkway: the existing median does not have any landscaping. The proposed improvement includes a hardscaping median, basically a concrete median.

City Engineer Gouveia said he noted the pros and cons on his Staff Report. For the landscaping, it would need some maintenance and water and the hardscaping median does not need much care. He is coming before the Council for some direction.

City Manager Ramirez said that area is one of the gateways to the community and would enhance

the area and give a good impression to the community.

Mayor Espinoza said that due to the drought they could eliminate some landscaping.

City Engineer Gouveia said they could do some drought resistant landscaping.

City Engineer Gouveia said the other item is the width of sidewalks; it carried over from prior review. They noticed on a review that the width of the sidewalk was below City standards. City standard was 10 feet for commercial sidewalks. On the O’Reilly side it was 10 feet and across the street on the development side to the North by Taco Bell it was 5 feet. There are mixed widths of sidewalks.

City Engineer Gouveia commented that it’s a resubmitted project from 2006 and widening the sidewalks would be a substantial amount of work for the developer and 10 feet was the City standard for sidewalks. He gave the Council a photo showing that the Eastside is narrow and the Westside is twice as wide.

Mayor Espinoza said that when they approved the build of the sidewalks, he assumed it

was going to be 10 feet and because that area is a tourist area, it should be brought up to the City

standard of 10 feet.

City Engineer Gouveia said that 10 feet would require significant changes to the plans and pre-

mapping to the subdivision and that was why he brought this before the Council.

Mayor Espinoza asked how long it would take to fix the widths of the sidewalks.

City Engineer Gouveia stated it would be several months for the reason that it needed to be re-


Mayor Espinoza opened and closed public comments at 9:07 p.m.

Council Member Soria said because of the drought season and to have landscaping it would be a hazard for Public Works to maintain. He would like to see hardscaping such as art, Livingston spelled out on tiles or the name of the street.

Mayor Espinoza said Public Works is familiar with the area and they know how to protect themselves, but it would be up to Council to decide. He also said regarding the sidewalks that he would hate to slow down construction and asked the City Attorney if it was possible to ask for an exchange.

City Attorney Sanchez said he was not familiar with the project and has not discussed it. He said they are coming back for approval because it was approved for 5 feet.

City Engineer Gouveia said it was not common for the sidewalk to be 5 feet.

City Attorney Sanchez asked if they were asking for clarification now.

City Manager Ramirez said that current staff, the City Engineer and himself looked up the standards and noticed that what they were submitting did not meet the City’s standards. He did not know if previous staff did not catch the error or it was approved with the 5 foot sidewalk. That is why this has been brought to Council to see if someone remembers and to get some direction.

City Engineer Gouveia said this is the first set of plans his firm had reviewed, but they are in new processes of improvement plans, approvals and review comments.

City Attorney Sanchez said his question was more in what had been approved vs. what they asking for now. He said things that have been approved have an approval document and they are moving forward. If they are still submitting plans and those plans are subject to review and change given the current standards that would be an easier case to make as far as it does not comply with the current standard. It would depend on what had been approved, but he was not familiar with the project and did not know what vested rights were involved.

City Engineer Gouveia said there is some mapping that had been recorded.

Mayor Espinoza said it might have been approved that is why they are submitting it. But if he could he would ask for a mural in exchange for the 5 feet. Regarding the landscaping, they could reduce the landscaping and have some trees to make the entrance of the City look nicer.

City Engineer Gouveia said if they have some trees to plant in planters.

City Manager Ramirez said that the Mayor was suggesting having drought resistant plants.

City Engineer Gouveia said they had not asked for anything, but if they did they would not have any problem putting in some drought resistant plants.

Council Member Sicairos said he would like to see some landscaping rather than concrete.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said this project had been going on for a long time and they were ready to start the project. He said let them do the project as is with the 5 foot sidewalk and the landscaping or it would take longer to complete the project.

City Engineer Gouveia said the Council was giving direction for the project to take its course with the 5 foot sidewalk and landscaping with drought resistant plants.

City Attorney Sanchez asked the Council if they were giving a unanimous direction for the project to start as is.

The Council Members agreed.

7. Resolution Setting the City of Livingston’s Gann Appropriation Limit for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

Assistant City Manager/ Finance Director Ortiz said the resolution was revised and gave a presentation on the fiscal year “Managing Budgets during Fiscal Stress.”

– The Revenue and Taxation Code 7910 requires for local government to establish appropriate limits by resolution each year at a regular scheduled meeting. The Fiscal Year 2013-2014 General Fund is $4,101,741.00.

Mayor Espinoza asked if it was the money the City collected from public taxes and could be spent.

City Attorney Sanchez said the Resolution sets the limits for the City to spend. At each year’s budget presentation revenue and expenses match up and does not exceed more than what is collected.

City Manager Espinoza opened the item for public comments at 9:40 p.m.

Katherine Shell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, asked if they could explain the difference between the way the Gann appropriation limit was calculated, the number in the Resolution and the total expenditures for the general fund as in the budget top of it because they are different.

Mr. Ortiz gave a brief explanation of Exhibit A attached to the Resolution. He said take last year’s s appropriation limit, fiscal year 2012-2013, was $3.8 million dollars, then get the growth in population and per capita per income from the State.

– divide by 100 and convert it into a ratio

– population growth and convert it into a ratio

– then multiply the two ratios

– then multiple by previous year’s appropriation limit for the fiscal year.

Mr. Ortiz noted that it’s basically the limit the City can spend from tax revenues and it’s applicable to the general fund. Also gas tax revenue from the street funds, gas tax, some allocation on the RSTP fund.

Mayor Espinoza closed public comments 9:48 p.m.

Motion: M/S Samra/Mendoza to adopt Resolution 2014-15, Setting the City of Livingston’s Gann Appropriation Limit for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 with the noted amendments. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Mendoza, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

8. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting the City of Livingston Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

City Manager Ramirez stated staff had been working with different bargaining unions and had come to an agreement and were balancing the budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. This process usually takes place prior to June 30th of every year, but because of budget negotiations it dragged.

Mr. Ortiz gave a presentation on Adopting the City of Livingston Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 -14 as follows:

· “Managing Budgets During Fiscal Stress” (survey Finding of 245 CA Cities by IBM Center for the Business of Government)

· FY13-14 General Fund

· Revenues vs. expenditures 2008-2014 trend – is down 20%

· FY13-14 Assumptions and Expectations

– He is hoping they break ground for Rancho San Miguel so it could bring revenue to the City.

· February 11, 2013 Livingston Sales Tax Growth Comparison for FY 2011-2013

· General fund revenue 2008-2013 by category

– $4,000 decrease and all other categories stay the same

– Spend 4.6 million dollars total revenue

· Personnel cost has been reducing since 2011

– Drop about 47 thousand dollars

· General fund 2013-2014, $4.56 million budget allocation by department

· Summary of total projected revenues and total projected expenditures

· Capital projects funded by grants – spent all in equipment, sidewalk project

· Revenue and Expenditures summary of all other special revenue and enterprise funds

· Total City expenditures for all accounting funds

· Summary of major Capital projects/purchases – most will be spent in the downtown areas.

Mayor Espinoza opened the item for public comments at 9:40 p.m.

Katherine Shell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, said that at the General Fund Budget Workshop in July 2013, according to the spreadsheets included in the agenda packet posted online they showed:

· General Fund Revenues were projected at: $4,402, 825

· General Fund Expenses were projected at: $4,546,718

· Which left a “Budget Gap of: $143,893

She noted there was a lot of talk since then about the need to “Close the Budget Gap.” Now there are two things you can do to “Close a Budget Gap,” you can increase revenue (fees and taxes) or you can reduce expenditures (cut spending). She has heard a lot of talk about the need to cut spending, particularly when it came to spending on City employees’ salaries and such. And there was a whole lot of negotiations with the bargaining units about things like furlough days and other concessions because there was a critical need to close the budget gap.

So, when she saw on tonight’s agenda that the Budget was to be adopted, after all that spending cutting and employee concessions, what she expected to see was something like:

· General Fund Revenue: $4,402,825

· General Fund Expenses: $4,402,825

· Budget Gap: 0

But ,that’s not what she saw, what she saw was:

· General Fund Revenue $4,556,650

· General Fund Expenses $4,556,650

· Budget Gap: $0

She added that total revenues were increased by over $153,000, but total spending wasn’t cut at all. You would think that with that increase in revenue, plus employee concessions, you would be running at least some kind of surplus. But that’s not what happened. From looking at the details, any savings from employees’ concessions were more than wiped out by increased spending on Professional Services, Contractor Services and other spending increases. She asked if someone could explain to her what happened happen.

Mr. Ortiz said a budget is a living document; the longer we wait, the more information is going to be available and will affect the budget. He conducted a mid-year review and that is why the changes . Mr. Ortiz noted that an unexpected activity such as employee’s cashing out on vacation and sick leave had an impact on the budget. He said the longer he waits the more he is going to account for and not to expect the numbers to be the same as they were eight months ago.

Mayor Espinoza said that they could have approved the budget eight months ago instead of waiting until now.

City Manager Ramirez advised Mrs. Shell-Rodriguez that staff estimated the budget by analysis and using professional firms.

Mayor Espinoza closed the public comments period at 9:48 p.m.

Mayor Espinoza said that no matter what they do, Mrs. Schell-Rodriguez will criticize the Council, but they welcomed the criticism and would challenge the Council to make them better.

Motion: M/S Soria/Mendoza to adopt Resolution 2014-16, Adopting the City of Livingston Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Mendoza, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

9. Preliminary City Budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Presentation and Discussion.

City Manager Ramirez informed the Council and audience of preliminary projections for next year. He said staff was anticipating a $100,000 gap and the number might go up a little or come down a little. They look at the revenues and expenditures.

Mr. Ortiz gave a presentation on the Preliminary City Budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 and it also includes a $40,000 write-off of uncollectible debts from prior years that are associated with some developments and it needs to come off the books since it’s uncollectable.

City Manager Ramirez said that the drought affected the upcoming budget as far as numbers because farmers/ranchers who have planted their crops might pull up their crops because they won’t have water to irrigate. He provided the following information:

– Preliminary Fiscal Year 2013-2014 General Fund revenues & expenditures trend, 2008-2015

– General Fund revenues by category, 2008-2015

– General Fund personnel vs. operational service costs, 2008-2015 trend

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed public comments at 10:00 p.m.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:01 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: April 15, 2014


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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