5 Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on May 20, 2014.

Meeting Date: July 01, 2014

Agenda Item #5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on May 20, 2014.

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MEETING MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING/CLOSED SESSION

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

MAY 20, 2014

A Regular Meeting/Closed Session of the Livingston City Council was held on May 20, 2014, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.

CLOSED SESSION

CALL TO ORDER

ROLL CALL

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 6:03 p.m. There were no comments and the Council went into Closed Session immediately thereafter to discuss the following matters:

1. Public Employee Performance Evaluation

(Government Code Section 54957(b)(1))

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: Jose M. Sanchez, City Attorney

Unrepresented Employee: City Manager

3. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

Number of Cases: 2

4. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

REGULAR MEETING

Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

City Attorney Sanchez announced that there was no reportable action.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

City Attorney Sanchez tabled agenda item number nine to a subsequent meeting.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation by City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez: 20 Year Service Pins to Danna Rasmussen, Senior Administrative Analyst, and Debbie Parrott, Senior Account Clerk.

Mayor Espinoza thanked Senior Administrative Analyst Dana Rasmussen and Senior Account Clerk Debbie Parrot for serving the City of Livingston for 20 years.

City Manager Ramirez thanked the community for attending this occasion. City Manager Ramirez expressed the virtues and qualities that both Danna Rasmussen and Debbie Parrott posses. He shared some highlights from their respective careers and then discussed their day to day responsibilities. After their introduction, he presented an honorary pin to each employee and then gave each employee the opportunity to speak. Senior Analyst Rasmussen and Senior Accountant Clerk Parrot thanked their respective families for their constant support.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Supervisor Pedrozo was not in attendance.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Police Chief Chavez gave a power point presentation discussing the Police Department’s burglary action plan, animal control plan, and gang sweep plan. In addition, Chief Chavez introduced some grants that the City was recently awarded. In particular, the Traffic Safety Grant will be used to provide check-points and to pay for unmarked vehicles.

Chief Chavez continued his presentation by introducing some community events that were sponsored by the Police Department such as the SWAT Dog Operation, Bicycle Rodeo, and CEASE Day Out.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Ramirez had nothing to report.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members had nothing to report.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza had nothing to report.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

2. An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Water Service – Proposition 218 Hearing.

City Manager Ramirez introduced this item and provided some background information. Subsequently, he introduced Katherine Hanford who has been working with the City of Livingston for a year and a half. Ms. Hanford’s primary responsibility was to analyze how various water rate scenarios could impact the City’s short term, mid-term, and long-term goals for economic sustainability. In addition, City Manager Ramirez shared that the City has put allot effort in making this process as open and transparent as possible. He added that the City has done extensive community outreach, presenting material in the three most prominent languages in Livingston (English, Spanish, and Punjabi). He also shared that every resident received a notification in the mail, inviting them to participate in this process.

Ms. Hanford began her presentation by stating the objectives and goals of Proposition 218. The large objective is to find a water rated that will provide the level of funding needed to recuperate the existing negative balance on water accounts and to also ensure compliance with Federal, State, and regional water quality standards (specifically, those related to arsenic, manganese, and TCP). In addition, Proposition 218 will address future expenses involved in maintaining the City’s water systems. Ms. Hanford shared that even if water rates are increased to the highest amount that could be voted on today, the community will still find itself with an affordable water rate. By the State standards, any water bill less than $56.00 per month is considered affordable. At the moment, the City’s average water bill is well below the County average at $10.00 per month.

Mayor Espinoza opened public comments at 7:50 p.m.

Gilbert Reyes, 1325 Emerald Drive, stated that Foster Farms will sue the City if City Council votes to increase water rates. He added that the State will not intervene if City Council does not increase the water rates. Mr. Reyes expressed that he does not understand why City Council will vote to increase water rates, if, according to Mr. Reyes, City Council has historically been against such measures.

Ana Maria Rodriguez, P.O. Box 661, spoke in Spanish and shared that this City Council was elected because they are unique and show the most compassion to those struggling financially. The previous Mayor was recalled because water rates were increased dramatically, which was in her opinion extremely irresponsible. She shared that she would vote to re-elect Mayor Espinoza in the future.

City Manager Ramirez translated her comments from Spanish to English.

Rex Harding, 1249 Davis Street, announced that he has been part of this community for several decades. He expressed that the water quality in his house is very poor. In addition, he is concerned that the City’s water meters may not function properly and result in residents being over-charged for water consumption.

City Manager Ramirez replied that water meters do have a predictable life expectancy. If residents are concerned that their water meter is not functioning correctly, the City will send staff to conduct an inspection. In addition, a fraction of the new water rates will be dedicated to replacing water meters as necessary.

Debra Lopez, 1543 Monte Cristo Way, shared that previous Council was recalled because they proposed to increase water rates. Nevertheless, rates have stayed same since 2009 and she has appreciated that. Ms. Lopez wants to know if alternative methods for charging water have been explored. She believes that residents should be billed at a “prorated-rate”, as this will benefit residents who, like her, consume less than 25,000 gallons of water per month.

Myra Bettencourt, 1584 Duke Drive, announced that residents should be charged strictly on usage, at a prorated-rate.

Mario Mendoza, 1421 Brandy Court, said that arguing about previous Council will not resolve any current issues. Instead, residents should focus their attention on resolving the City’s water quality issues. He shared that he supports any of the three water rate options that are being presented to Council today.

Mike Torres, 1616 H Street, asked if water mills are being inspected properly.

City Manager Ramirez replied that the California Department of Public Health is responsible for reviewing private water.

Gary Pinter, 1543 Monte Cristo Way, asked if Foster Farm’s water bill is available to the public.

City Attorney Sanchez replied that this type of inquiry would require a Public Record Request.

Mr. Pinter asked if solid waste is being included in the CIP.

Mayor Espinoza replied that solid waste will not be included in the CIP.

Mr. Pinter asked if the new rates will help the City attain its goals regarding water quality.

Ms. Hanford shared that the full CIP scenario addresses all water quality related challenges. Selecting this option would put the City in the best position to reach its goals.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, announced that she attended the Utility Rates Stakeholders meetings and that rates could have been much higher. In addition, Ms. Schell-Rodriguez shared a letter declaring a lawsuit from the California River Watch Foundation. The foundation is suing the City for reaching maximum contaminant levels and for not addressing these issues. In addition, Ms. Schell-Rodriguez shared the 2011 California Department of Public Health System Inspection Report. She emphasized that water quality issues have been well documented and that she is concerned that new water rates will not be sufficient to address water quality issues or any issues related to the City’s water systems.

Pedro Martinez, 1212 V Street, believes that the proposed water rates are far from being complete proposals. He recommends that this item go back for review until water rates are more viable.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 8th Street, announced that he participated in various Stakeholders Committee Meetings. He explained that if the 2009 water rates were continued, residents would be seeing water bills of about $100.00 per month. Moreover, he announced that the legal disputes between the City and Foster Farms have cost the City over three million dollars in attorney fees, which has had a major impact on the City’s budget. He recommends that City Council votes in favor of the full CIP option.

Mayor Espinoza closed public comments at 8:31 p.m.

Finance Director Odi Ortiz announced that the City received has received 33 written protests, which is significantly less than the 1,600 protests required to prevent any action from being taken.

City Attorney Sanchez brought this item back to City Council for discussion.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra stated that one of his goals was to assure the Stakeholders Committee was composed of a wide representation of the community. He also wanted to assure that all options were being reviewed thoroughly. Proposition 218 only allows 5 years of review, and he believes that given that timeframe, the City and community did a commendable job.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra also shared that Well # 16 just came online with a new media for arsenic removal. Results yielded very low contaminant levels. He believes that working on Well #16 has provided a lot of knowledge for staff, whom can apply what they learned to other wells in town.

Mayor Espinoza announced that a full CIP would address Well #12 and Well #15. He shared that several residents have complained that they are receiving brown water from their faucets. He believes that this is the result of water running through rusty pipes, as is more common in some of the older parts of town. In addition, Mayor Espinoza expressed that existing water quality issues need to be corrected. One step is to increase the water rates to start funding projects.

Council Member Sicairos announced that he is also concerned with these issues.

Council Member Soria announced that he feels that the City is constantly on survival mode. He wants to see the City move forward, thinking beyond basic needs. He believes that supporting a full CIP would be a great starting point moving forward. In addition, he empathizes with people living under a fixed income. However, this is something that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra believes that Council should entertain the notion of increasing the cap from 25,000 gallons per month to 35, 000 gallons per month.

Council Member Soria replied that increasing the cap will not help residents learn how to conserve water, which is considerably important during times of drought such as the case now.

Mayor Espinoza announced in Spanish that it is important to increase water rates so that the City can correct existing water quality issues.

Motion: M/S Sicairos/Samra to waive the second reading and adopt Ordinance No. 614, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Water Service – Proposition 218 Hearing. 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

3. Resolution and Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Domestic Wastewater Service (Sewer Service) – Proposition 218 Hearing.

Mrs. Hanford introduced this item. She shared that the Domestic Account also needs to be addressed. The City needs to meet USDA loan requirements. One condition requires that the City has a pre-determined amount of reserve funds.

Mayor Espinoza opened public comments at 9:08 p.m.

Lavonna Bates, 1770 Ash Court, asked if the City is utilizing its newest sewer plant.

City Manager Ramirez replied that the City has a domestic waste water treatment plant near the intersection of B Street and Washington Avenue. If the City needs to increase sewer capacity, the City has the ability to do so.

Mayor Espinoza shared that the existing sewer plant can sustain 30,000-35,000 residents. Knowing this, he does not predict the need to expand the sewer plant any time soon.

Rex Harding, 1239 Davis Street, announced that the City would be sustainable if it was more business friendly.

City Manager Ramirez replied that there is plenty of development activity going on in town. The Livingston Commence is exhibiting construction from Rancho San Miguel, AutoZone, CVS, and other businesses. In addition, last year the City approved a site plan for a Motel 6. When developers, such as those mentioned above, come into town they pay development fees which are used to address sewer, water, and streets lights. To answer a previous question, City Manager Ramirez shared that Foster Farms built their own industrial sewer plant. This property will be decommissioned in the next few years.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, announced that in 2012 the City and Foster Farms received a clean-up and abatement order in regards to discharge being released into ponds and soil. Ms. Schell-Rodriguez is concerned that the Foster Farms will not address or pay for these remediation steps.

City Manager Ramirez replied that Foster Farms must return said property to the City at its original state. This entails a five year process. Foster Farms has made an effort to remove sludge from the ponds on site.

Mike Torres, 1616 H Street, asked in anyone knew what the sewer plant’s capacity is.

Mayor Espinoza believes that the sewer plant can sustain roughly 35,000 people.

City Manager Ramirez added that these figures are varied by new construction.

Mayor Espinoza closed public comments at 9:28 p.m.

Finance Director Ortiz announced that the City received a total of 33 letters of protest. This figure is well below the 1,600 letters required to prevent any action. Based on the amount of letters received, no majority protest exists.

Motion: M/S Soria/Mendoza to adopt Resolution No. 2014-21, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Domestic Wastewater Service (Sewer Service) – Proposition 218 Hearing. 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

Motion: M/S Soria/Mendoza to waive the second reading and adopt Ordinance No. 615, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Domestic Wastewater Service (Sewer Service) – Proposition 218 Hearing. 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

CONSENT CALENDAR

4. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 613 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending the Livingston Municipal Code Title 4, “Building Regulations,” to Add Chapter 4-7 Establishing a Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF).

5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated May 1, 2014.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated May 15, 2014.

Motion: M/S Samra/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

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

7. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. 616 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting Amendments to Title 4, Chapter 1 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to the Livingston Building Code, and Ordinance No. 617 Adopting Amendments to Title 7, Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to the Livingston Fire Code and Related Changes.

City Attorney Sanchez explained that this item will allow the City to reference State Building Codes or Fire Codes during plan checking. The City recently hired a company to make the City’s municipal code more accessible and that company strongly recommends that City Council adopts this item.

Police Chief Chavez shared that he and Chief Avila, from CalFire, reviewed document and support it.

Mayor Espinoza opened public comments at 9:57 p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, asked if the Police Chief could take over the responsibilities of the Fire Chief, if the Police Chief has the appropriate amount experience.

City Attorney Sanchez confirmed that this is an option, based on what will be written on the code.

` Public comments closed at 10:00 p.m.

Motion: M/S Samra/Mendoza to Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. 616 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting Amendments to Title 4, Chapter 1 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to the Livingston Building Code, and Ordinance No. 617 Adopting Amendments to Title 7, Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to the Livingston Fire Code and Related 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

8. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. 618 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending the Livingston Municipal Code to Repeal Title 9, Chapter 7, Entitled “CATV Franchise” in its Entirety.

City Attorney Sanchez introduced this item and shared some general information about the City’s franchise agreement with Charter Cable Company. City Attorney Sanchez shared that the City would like to have the luxury of selecting a cable company that suits the City’s needs and provides the best fit for the City.

Mayor Espinoza opened public comments at 10:08 p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, shared that many people who try to watch City Council meetings on television complain about the sound quality of the video.

City Manager Ramirez replied that he has discussed this with IT staff and they believe that the sound issues are coming from the cable provider.

Motion: M/S Samra/Soria to Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. 618 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending the Livingston Municipal Code to Repeal Title 9, Chapter 7, Entitled “CATV Franchise” in its Entirety. The motion carried by the following roll call vote.

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

9. Direct City Engineer to Design and Prepare Plans of Scope of Work for Water Line Improvement Project Phase III.

This item was tabled to a subsequent meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:33 p.m.

______________________________

City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: July 1, 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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