Fireworks, Politics, Resignations, Recreation, and a Mid Year Budget Review–February, 2015

Livingston, CA – 03/22/2015

So the 4th of July has formally asked they would like to come under the City Umbrella just like the Recreation Commission: to have a sand alone committee of sorts..so that has to be figured out. I know Legal Council will help out. That’s something they would like. One, because they would like to get the full support of the City every year. Excerpted from Comments and Discussion of future agenda items by Former City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez – January 20 2015 City Council Meeting: beginning about 19:52 minutes in. 

What we’re requesting is that we have the exact support or similar support as the Sweet Potato Festival. I don’t see what the difference is. I would like to see that support. Where, when you go to the Sweet Potato Festival, you see all staff is on hand. Every person from Recreation to Public Works’….so that’s what we’re looking for: the same type of support. Julio Valadez – Chair – July 4th Committee – Ibid.

Julio, I have a comment Since I know that you guys want to come under the City. But I think we already have a Recreation commission. And I think currently we only have 1 or 2 Commissioners on that. If you guys join the Recreation Commission, you guys could take on the Fireworks because the Commission is already-we don’t have to go through the process of doing a new commission. So we need more people on the Commission and the Fireworks would be part of Recreation. Which is part of, you know, you guys could take that on. That’s just an idea. If you guys want to. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza – Ibid

So why might the July 4th Committee want to come “under the umbrella” of the City? or join the Recreation Commission? More on that a little later, but first.

YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT BY THE TITLE
on the City’s Website, but there is an important informational meeting about the City’s Water Delivery System this Tuesday.

Water Workshop

As part of the settlement agreement with California River Watch, the City is obligated to provide additional information about the state of our Water System, and what the City is doing to address our Water Quality Issues.

Now..a brief look at some of the Agenda items covered during FEBRURARY’S City Council Meetings. As of the date of this posting, written minutes have yet to be prepared. However, if you would like to view an archived video of the meeting, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. You can also go to City Hall and request a Copy of the Meeting Videos.

The FEBRUARY 3, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included

  • 2 Cases of Potential Litigation

  • Continued discussion about the City Manager Recruitment

  • Another Discussion about Labor Negotiations with All Represented City Employees

During OPEN SESSION on FEBRUARY 3:

1. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza Presented Key to the City plaques to members of Grupo Musical Los Kinos

2. There was a Report on United Front Security and Patrol Security Company Seeking a Business License.

3. The Minutes of Meeting Held on December 16, 2014 were approved.

4. The Warrant Register Dated January 29, 2015 was approved. Except for one check issued in payment for Radio Advertising for the 4th of July Celebration. Although Interim City Manager Odie Ortiz stated the payment had been “approved by management”, Mayor Espinoza stated he wanted that check “held” until he had more time to talk to the Chairman of the July 4th Committee. (My best guess is “management” meant prior City Manager Jose Ramirez)

5. A Resolution appointing Odilon Ortiz as Interim City Manager was approved.

6. A Resolution Approving the continuation Ruben Chavez for the Position of Police Chief was adopted.

7. The Council filled the Vacant seats on the Livingston Planning Commission after ACCEPTEING THE RESIGNATION of Planning Commission Chair Luis Flores. Mario Mendoza was appointed to finish Flores’ term: which ends in December of this year. Ananan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy: which is a 4 year term.

As Reported in the Merced Sun Star –

 “After Flores resigned, Commissioner Mario Mendoza – who was seeking another term on the commission – was appointed to finish Flores’ term. Newcomer Adanan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy.

Bath last year pulled filing papers to challenge Samra in his re-election bid in November. Bath ended up not running against Samra.

Mendoza, however, did challenge Samra but lost by about 300 votes.”

This means the person who “changed his mind” about challenging  Samra for office was appointed to a 4 year term on the Planning Commission.  The person who didn’t drop out of the race was given what was left over of Mr. Flores’ term.

8. The Council Accepted and Authorized the Temporary Outsourcing of City’s Street Sweeping Services to Gilton Solid Waste. According to the Mayor, this needed to be done because the engine on the Street Sweeper was “blown”.

9. The Council Discussed  Changes to the DTC Zone. There are Residential Homes located in the Downtown Commercial Zone. That means those homes are “non conforming uses” which has created a whole host of problems for those people who want to keep their house as a “house” and not convert it into a “business”.

There was discussion about how there would need to be some planning work involved in “fixing” the problem while at the same time avoiding “spot zoning”

10. The Council Discussed Changing the City Logo Slogan from “The Last Stop” to “Sweet Potato Capital of the World.” It seems some people think “The Last Stop” means a place where you go to retire and/or die. I guess most people have forgotten that Livingston had “The Last Stop” Light on HWY 99: before the realignment was done. Maybe such things aren’t relevant in “today’s world”.

11. The Discussion Item: “Twelve Acres of Industrial Land at the Max Foster Sports Complex” was Continued to a Future Meeting. From what I understand, there may be a dispute between the City of Livingston and a Developer over how much of a Reimbursement is due to the Developer.

The FEBRUARY 17, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included:

  • 1 case of Potential Litigation

  • A Conference about Labor Negotiations regarding All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

During The Regular Meeting FEBRUARY 17, 2015 :

Mayor Espinoza and Council Person Mendoza were absent

1. An Item placed on the Agenda by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza & Council Member Arturo Sicairos to Present and discuss idea of possible Sister City relationship with the State of Jalisco, Mexico. The consensus of the Council seemed to be it would be a great idea to adopt Zapotlanejo as a Sister City: perhaps via the Sister City Program International.

2. The Warrant Register Dated February 12, 2015 was Approved.

3. A Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 15-16A) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for Period July through December 31, 2015 was adopted.

Well 12 - 13 - 1- - 17 - 184. A Resolution Approving the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for Improvements to Municipal Well No. 17 was adopted. New well site equipment and improvements will include an estimated 2,000 gallons per minute capacity

5. A Resolution Approving the Purchase of Equipment from Tesco Controls, Inc. for the Well No. 13 and Well No. 17 Projects, without Competitive Bids  was approved.

Well 8 - 9 - 11 - 156. A Resolution Approving a Contract with Forsta Filters for the Supply of Three Self-Cleaning Filters to remove Sand from Wells No. 9 and Well No. 11B was approved. This was done because the previous vender could not meet delivery times as previously expected. This expense was not in the Budget: an emergency situation created by the drought.

7. The City Council Directed Staff to Approve the Installation of a Varible Frequency Drive on Turbine #1 at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. According to Staff, by installing the Variable Frequency Drive, the City would Save on energy costs in the long run.

8. There was another Review/Discussion/Direction of the Annual Fireworks Booth Selection procedures. Members from both the July 4th Committee and Livingston Youth Football were in attendance and talked about why their Organizations should qualify for “the council pick”.

9. A Resolution Approving the Recommended 2014-15  City of Livingston Mid-Year Budget Revisions was adopted. Although Interim City Manager Ortiz said it looked like the City was seeing a Recovery, Mayor Pro Tem Samra stated “Yes. It is good news. But we’re not ready to open the Credit Card.”

ADJOURNMENT

Now, let me tell you a Brief TALE ABOUT FIREWORKS BOOTHS,  THE SWEET POTATO FESTIVAL and THE RECREATION COMMISSION

Once upon a time, the way I remember it, the City was in charge of putting on the July 4th Celebration: fireworks and all. Then there came the year of The-Run-Up-To-The-Recall. And, somehow, in the middle of all that, the order for the fireworks didn’t get put in in time.

It was as if the Conspiracy Theory Comet from Hell had struck: because of all the blame throwing and finger pointing. (I did do some checking on my own, and after asking for a General Ledger Report and looking it over, It looked to me like donations to the July 4th EVENT did NOT get booked into the July 4th ACCOUNT. But were booked into an account called Special Events. Near as I can tell it was just an honest mistake. But one that did not help calm the blamethrowing of the time. But I digress…)

A group of people banded together to, at least try, to see that the tradition of the July 4th Celebration wasn’t lost forever. Some people quit after the first year. Others kept on, year after year: rounding up donations and doing what needed to be done to meet the goal of Celebrating our Nation’s Independence Day with the Biggest and Best celebration possible.

In 2011, a new City Manager was hired. He thought it would be a Grand Idea to for the City to Revive the long dormant Sweet Potato Festival.

And stick it straight into the same week as the July 4th Celebration of 2012.

Which had some people I talked to scratching their heads about the timing. What were we celebrating that week? Our Nations Independence or Sweet Potatoes?

Later, there was the whole flap about the City “losing money” on the Sweet Potato Festival and the July 4th Committee having “money left over” after paying expenses.

Certain members of the City Council seemed to feel that the July 4th Committee should fork over their “excess” to cover the City’s “losses”.

Which, had some of us scratching our heads when we first heard about it. They way we understood it, the July 4th Committee was not organized as a fundraiser for the Sweet Potato Festival. It was organized to Plan and Organize an Event the City was no longer Planning and Organizing.

And any money “left over” after expenses would be rolled over to the following year.

As far as the Sweet Potato Festival was concerned, my understanding of the goal, from listening to the City Manager , was to at least break even: if there was any money “left over” after expenses, that would go towards funding other City Events.

Then in 2014, (as reported in the Merced Sun Star) Members of the Livingston Fourth of July Committee appealed to the City Council during its regular meeting  …..asking for help to pay off $5,441.14 of unpaid bills from the nonprofit’s annual fireworks show and festival.”

I can distinctly remember the “then” City Manager saying that management would take a look at the expenses involved to see which ones the City could “justify” paying on behalf of the July 4th Committee. (After all, it was a “City” event of sorts: with free admission to all)

So my guess is the “prior” City Manager, Jose Ramirez, approved the check for payment that Mayor Espinoza decided to “hold up”.

But IF YOU WANT THE CITY’S FULL SUPPORT, (and money for the Fireworks Show) how about joining the Recreation Commission? That was the suggestion made to members of the July 4th Committee, by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza at the January 20th, 2015 City Council Meeting. According to the Mayor, this would solve two problems at the same time:

  • Getting enough members on the Recreation Committee to actually HAVE meetings on a Regular Basis – and –

  • Helping out with fundraising etc. for the 4th of July Celebration

The Logic going something like this: The Recreation Commission is already an Established Commission of the City. One of the tasks of the Recreation Commission is to promote activities That Benefit The Community. The July 4th Celebration is an Activity That Benefits The Community.  The are not enough members on the Recreation Commission. Therefore:

  • IF enough members of the July 4th Committee joined the Recreation Commission in order t0 make it a Functioning Commission,

  • THEN they could get “support” from the City

The response from some of the members of the July 4th Committee was that they are already very busy with activities that benefit the community, and really just don’t have the time to take on the additional responsibility: especially if the only reason to do so was to get “the support” from the City for an event that benefits the City As A Whole.

This is the way I see what has been happing so far.

  1. The City can issue up to 5 Fireworks Booth Permits. The City Council rewrote the Fireworks Ordinance so it could have the ability to grant a Fireworks Boots to up to two (2) Non Profit Organizations of its choice – making it possible to “Council Pick” Livingston Youth Football  and one other Non-Profit organization. That would put “everybody else” into a lottery for the remaining 3 booth permits.

  2. “Someone” got his nose out of joint when the July 4th Committee wouldn’t fork over their “profits” to bail out the Sweet Potato Festival’s “losses” one year and decided “since you wouldn’t donate your profit to the City, don’t bother asking the City to help you.

  3. And we won’t choose you for “Council Pick” for a Fireworks Booth Either. We’ll “choose” Livingston Youth Football, but you get thrown into the raffle like the other applicants.

  4. To Bad, So Sad, if you don’t get a Fireworks Booth

  5. Too Bad, So Sad if you “lose money” on putting on the July 4th Celebration.

  6. BUT “we” want a Recreation Commission that has meetings. So if you join the Recreation Commission, we will be willing to spiff you some “help” that way.

  7. BUT..Members of the July 4th Committee “reject” the offer to “obtain help” by joining the Recreation Commission.

  8. HOWEVER..The City Manager, recognizing the July 4th Event as a City Wide Event, as one of his last official acts before leaving at the end of January, 2015, authorizes the payment for the Radio Advertising. (It had to be either Jose or Odie: who else could be the “management” who could approve that check?)

  9. AND That check is “held up” by the Mayor at the very next Council Meeting

At this point, I will let you draw whatever conclusions you wish. I can say that “The Saga Continues”. The next chapter will continue when we meet again to look at What Happened in March, 2015.

More on the February Happenings in Livingston can be found by going to the links below:

For the February Police Department Update, click on the following link – LPD Update 2_3_2015

For relevant Sun Star Articles, see below.

Livingston manager’s last day brings some employees to tears BY RAMONA GIWARGIS, The Merced Sun Star – 02/01/2015 – Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra said Friday was a “sad day” for Livingston. It will be hard to replace Ramirez, he said, but the city will hire a recruitment organization to interview prospective candidates. While the City Council makes the final hiring decision, Samra said this method will “keep the process fair” and discourage favoritism.

Livingston police chief’s contract renewed for 3 years BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – The Merced Sun Star – 02/04/2015 –  Livingston Police Chief Ruben Chavez will continue working for the city another three years, the City Council determined unanimously this week

Chinese exchange students make friends in Livingston – BY THADDEUS MILLER – The Merced Sun Star – 02/08/2015 – About 50 students from China spent a couple of days here last week, visiting with others their age, sharing music and practicing their English. – The visit was the first edition of an exchange program, or “sisterhood,” that Livingston Middle School hopes to continue with Beijing Runfeng School, according to principals from both schools.

Livingston council talks fireworks stands and midyear budget – BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – The Merced Sun Star – 02/18/2015 – The battle over fireworks booths in Livingston has begun. – The city is accepting applications from nonprofits interested in selling safe-and-sane fireworks in July, officials announced at a City Council meeting Tuesday. Although the application period just opened, two groups – the Fourth of July Committee and Livingston Youth Football – were already appealing to the council Tuesday to choose them.

Livingston planning commissioner resigns over conflict of interest worry – BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – 02/22/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – The chairman of Livingston’s Planning Commission voluntarily resigned after elected officials threatened to have him removed because of a potential conflict of interest.

Livingston police arrest seven known gang members – SUN-STAR STAFF – 02/25/2015 – Seven known gang members have been arrested in Livingston since Saturday, according to police. – Three of those arrests came Tuesday when Livingston police and Merced County probation officers searched a home in the 1500 block of Seventh Street, finding a loaded 12-gauge shotgun hidden in a wall with other weapons, and more than five grams of methamphetamine, police Chief Ruben Chavez said.

Trash Cans and Smoke Shops; Resignations and Recruitments; Speed Bumps and Sand in the Water: A Brief Summary of January, 2015

Livingston, California 2/21/2015

The thought was if you’re going through it for recyclables, a penalty of $25 is going to mean a lot to that person. It’s going to be quite a bit of money. City Attorney, City of Livingston, January 06, 2015 City Council Meeting: appx. 32:27,

This is kinda dumb. We will have police doing garbage duty. City Council Member David Mendoza, January o6, City Council Meeting. appx. 37:40

Passing this ordinance does not automatically allow a Smoke Shop to come in. There still has to be a CUP. City Attorney, City of Livingston, City Council Meeting, January 06, 2015 City Council Meeting: appx. 54:47 

A Conditional Use permit can be appealed to the Council and we can dictate some of the items there. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza, January 06, City Council Meeting. appx. 1:08:07

The following contains a brief summary of a few things that happened in the City of Livingston during the month of January, 2015, Council Agendas for the month of January, and a few links to relevant Sun Star Articles.

Livingston’s police officers and their supervisors started the new year with a 5 percent pay cut; the Resignation of City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez became final; the City Council called for the Resignation of the Planning Commission’s Chairman, appointed Odilion Ortiz as Interim City Manager, adopted an Ordinance prohibiting trash scavenging and imposing fines, adopted an Ordinance regulating Smoke Shops and Smoking Lounges, discussed speed bumps, approved emergency repairs to Wells 9 and 11, approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Public Works and Parks Employees Unit, and talked about how hard it seems to be to recruit members for the Recreation Comission.

The RESIGNATION OF CITY MANAGER Jose Antonio Ramirez became final at the end of January. During the January 06th and 20th City Council meeting, he presented a List of Items the City Council would need to address some time in the future:

  • Amending the Watering Ordinance

  • The Repairs needed to be done to the City’s Water Storage Tank

  • Planning Fees Increases

  • Well Deconstruction Fees. The City will have to start issuing Well Deconstruction Permits.

  • Master Plans for Sewer, Water, and Storm Drains need to be updated

  • The 4th of July Committee would like to come under the umbrella of the City

  • Sunvalley Estates and Well #17  improvements

  • Devante Villas project: haven’t heard from them in a while. But sure they will be coming back

  • Kera (?) Fernandez Reimbursement issue: Staff is working with legal council on this issue

  • AB1600 Draft: Final draft is ready. Staff is working with legal council to move foreword with the adoption.

  • Tree Grant: the city still has trees to plant

  • Winton Parkway Development: Mr. Javier Galvan is very interested in moving that project forward with his partners. He mentioned he had a letter from the City from some years ago promising funding for the Winton Parkway street.

  • New WCIII Proposed Fees Schedule as part of the Building Services Department

  • Pipeline from Well #14 to Well #8 currently being designed and going out to bid in early spring.

  • Well #17 CBDG Grant Project.

  • Well #13 Project Design complete and going out to bid in February. (California Department of Public Health Grant)

  • Well #15 Project should either be a grant or a 0% loan

  • Groundwater Levels have dropped and monitoring needs to continue. 35 to 40 foot drop last year. Levels have risen about a foot this year.

  • Self Monitoring for ADA Requirements. As the City has been replacing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, issues are being addressed.

  • Community Facility District Formation in the Winton Parkway area. Once the Gallo Subdivision takes place, make sure that goes forward. 

  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant has been applied for, in conjunction with the Merced Arts Council: Start a Mural Project in the Down Town, beginning with the City Owned Building next to the Council Chambers.

  • Tax Sharing Agreement with the County has yet to be finalized.

  • Cal Trans Campbell Project Properties: They are trying to come up with the cost of those odd shaped properties so they can tell the City what they want for them.

  • Health Insurance: There had only been 1 response to the Request for Proposals. Council might want to extend the request period.

The City Council Members called for the RESIGNATION OF PLANNING COMMISION Chair Luis Flores on the grounds that his position as Livingston Unified School Board Member was “incompatible” with membership in the Planning Commission. (I must admit, I’m scratching my head a bit on this one. It’s OK to be a member of the Real Estate Profession and be on the Planning Commission. But it’s not OK to be on the School Board and be on the Planning Commission.)

An ANTI-TRASH SCAVENGING ORDINANCE was adopted. The possible fines for those caught digging through other people’s trash would be as follows. First offense: warning. Second offense: $25. Third offense: $50. When asked who would be responsible for issuing Warnings and Citations, the reply was it would be the responsibility of the Police Department to issue citations . (After responding to a phone call from a resident complaining about scavengers)

An ORDINANCE was adopted which allowed SMOKE SHOPS in the Industrial Areas of town; and also in the Downtown Commercial Area with a Conditional Use Permit. During the Council’s discussion, the City Attorney stated that passing this ordinance does not automatically allow a Smokeshop to come in – there would still need to be a CUP and Mayor Espinoza made the point that any CUP granted could be appealed to the City Council. (I’m having a serious case of deja vu here)

Ruby and Emerald streetsWhether or not SPEEDBUMPS were needed in parts of the City was discussed. The Mayor stated he had been getting complaints about speeding vehicles by residents by Ruby and Emerald Streets. Discussion included:

  • What triggers the need for a speed bump

  • What impact would speed bumps have on emergency vehicles.

  • What kinds of speed bumps should be considered.

  • How much do they cost?

  • And perhaps there should be a Speed Survey before going ahead and installing speed bumps.

The City of Livingston and the AFSCME Public Works and Parks Employees Unit, came to a tentative agreement to a one (l) year Memorandum of Understanding, covering the period July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 consisting of one (l) furlough per month, freezing 20 hours of vacation cash­ outs effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 and $75 per month towards medical insurance premiums.

For more details about topics discussed during the January, 2015 City Council Meetings, see below.

JANUARY 06, 2015

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CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JANUARY 6, 2015

CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on January 6, 2015, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

Closed Session

1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.

CLOSED SESSION

A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Livingston Redevelopment Agency may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Interim City Manager

2. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

City Manager Recruitment

3. Conference with Real Property Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54956.8)

Property: APN: 024-011-016, Olive Avenue

APN: 023-100-049, Burgundy Drive

Negotiating Party: City Manager

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

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2015-1

Next Ordinance Number: 621

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance Amending the City’s Municipal Code by Adding Chapter 8-8 Prohibiting Unauthorized Entry into Waste Containers.

2. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___ of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Zoning Regulations: Sections 5-2-3, 5-2-4, 5-3-15, Tables 3 and 4, and the Addition of Section 5-5-13 under Specific Use Regulations.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.

3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on November 13, 2014.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on December 2, 2014.

5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 30, 2014.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

6. Discussion – Installation of Speed Bumps Throughout the City and Related Costs.

ADJOURNMENT

JANUARY 20, 2015

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CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JANUARY 20, 2015

CLOSED SESSION: 5:45 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on January 20, 2015, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 5:45 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

Closed Session

1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.

CLOSED SESSION

A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Livingston Redevelopment Agency may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.

3. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Interim City Manager

4. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

City Manager Recruitment

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Unrepresented City Employees

6. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiators: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez and City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

7. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 1

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2015-1

Next Ordinance Number: 623

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Introduction and Swearing-in of new Police Dispatcher Veronica Bates by Chief Ruben Chavez and City Clerk Tony Silva.

2. Presentation of a plaque by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza to out-going City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez in recognition and appreciation for his service, dedication and accomplishments to the City of Livingston.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.

3. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 621, Amending the City’s Municipal Code by Adding Chapter 8-8 Prohibiting Unauthorized Entry into Waste Containers.

4. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 622, of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Zoning Regulations: Sections 5-2-3, 5-2-4, 5-3-15, Tables 3 and 4, and the Addition of Section 5-5-13 under Specific Use Regulations.

5. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the AFSCME Public Works and Parks Employees Unit.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 15, 2015.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

7. City Council Direction on Appointment of Parks and Recreation Commission Members.

8. City Council Accept and Authorize Sweeper Truck Repairs Quote from Ry-Den Truck Center, Inc.

9. Approve a Supply Capacity of 2,000 gpm for Well No. 17.

10. Approve a Purchase of Sand Filtration Equipment for Wells No. 9 and 11B.

11. Discussion and Possible Action – Potential Incompatibility of Offices by Planning Commissioner Serving as Both a City Planning Commissioner and a Livingston Union School District Board Member.

ADJOURNMENT

And for even more of January’s goings on in the City of Livingston, you can go to the following Sun Star Articles.

Livingston considers banning trash scavengers – People rummaging through trash every night is a rude awakening to some residents, and now Livingston city leaders are now considering a law to ban people from digging through trash for recyclables and other materials.

Livingston council OKs trash scavenger ban and smoke shops – Despite one council member calling it “dumb” and “ridiculous,” an ordinance that penalizes people for rummaging through other people’s trash is one step closer to becoming law

New AutoZone opens in Livingston, fuels city’s future growth plans – The city’s motto may be “The Last Stop,” but city leaders are pushing to make Livingston the first stop for business growth, starting with a new AutoZone store that opened its doors this week

Livingston planning commissioner might be removed; officials cite conflict of interest The Livingston City Council on Tuesday discussed ousting a planning commissioner because of a potential conflict of interest with his elected seat on the city’s school board

Sikh bonfire festival in Livingston marks end of winter

Bird flu found at Foster Farms turkey ranch in California – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – 01/25/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – Hundreds of turkeys at a Central California ranch are being killed to prevent the spread of a type of avian flu that is not a threat to people but can decimate poultry flocks

Budget Documents, Staff Reports, and When Figures Don’t Lie

Fool me once: Shame on You. Fool me twice: Shame on Me. Old American proverb.

Figures don’t lie. But liars figure. Old American proverb sometimes attributed to Mark Twain.

“I would love to have surplus money, but at this point, the goal was just to close the gap,” said City Manager Jose Ramirez, noting the city originally faced a $150,000 shortfall. “You’re not trying to get any more than what’s needed from the (employee) bargaining units. With the budgetary concessions we had, we wanted to get to zero.” Livingston adopts a balanced budget, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star, March 23, 2014

If the concession agreements are not extended, the city’s general fund will dip into the red by $80,000. The agreements end on June 30, and that will attribute to an increase to city expenses – Ibid

At the March 18, 2014 City Council Meeting, the City Council adopted what was said to be a “Balanced Budget” after finally closing a “Budget Gap” of over $150,00.  One would think that meant the City had found a way to Cut Spending by that very amount. But that’s not really how that Balanced Budget came about.  There is a little piece of the Budget Puzzle that has been left out.

And from what I can see, from looking at the numbers, the City just might have a little difficulty convincing the Bargaining Units to extend concessions into the next Fiscal Year. More on that a little later. But first.

FAMILY HAMBURGER NIGHT AT THE VFW

Family-Hamburger-Night--03-20142

Kite-Festival-20144LET’S GO FLY A KITE!  The Knights of Columbus presents The Week of the Young Child and K97.5, 3rd Annual “Time to Fly” Kite Festival.  Sunday April 06, 2014 8:30 am – 3:30pm at the Livingston Middle School 101 F Street Livingston, CA 95334. FREE to the Public the first 500 kids get a free Kite.

We are less than 2 weeks away from our 3rd Annual Kite Festival and Kite building days at local schools starts next week.  We will be visiting all the local schools from the Head Starts to the Middle Schools to build kites with the kids and their parents. The Kites will have BLUE tails to represent the week of the young child.

The Merced County Sheriff will be present at Livingston’s 3rd Annual Kite Festival show casing its arsenal of crime-fighting tools including their 1973 UH-1H VIETNAM-ERA HUEY Helicopter, Sheriff’s S.W.A.T. Armored Vehicle, “Bearcat,” and The Sheriff’s Water Rescue Boat.  Come meet and thank some of the dedicated officers including the pilots and SWAT and Dive Operators.

There will be GIANT Kite Flying Demonstrations by Brian Champie, George Halpin, Mike North and many more.  There will be kite-making workshops, plus other activities for everyone to enjoy including Kite Building Contests, The Rotary Club of Winton-Nuevo Latino Pie Eating Contests, Face Painting, Bounce Houses, Crafts, Kite, and informational Vendor booths, plus various cultural performances. 

We will also have safety demonstrations from PG&E, Livingston Police and Fire, CHP, and Merced County Sheriff and of course “The Jim Strealy Memorial Candy Drop,” presented by Fluetsch and Busby Insurance.

Don’t forget to enter FREE Kite Building Contest for your chance to win cash money! We are still looking for Non-Food Vendors.  For more info, pictures of last year’s event, and vendor application, visit our website:  https://www.livingstonKiteFestival.com or call Contact: Julio Valadez  209-277-1402 LIKE and SHARE our FACEBOOK page for a chance to win a 70 Inch Stunt Kite!

TRUST, NEGOTIATIONS, AND BARGAINING IN GOOD FAITH…Some of you may have read the article in the Merced Sun Star about Livingston finally adopting a balanced budget nearly 9 months after the Fiscal Year started. According to the article

Despite reaching concession agreements with employees that included furloughs, pay reductions, limiting vacation cash-outs and requiring employee contributions toward health insurance, the budget shows the city will break even but not achieve a positive financial position

OK. So the City is just breaking even. This time. But there is a little part of the Budget Gap Story that has been left out. And in my opinion, the part that was left out may well have an impact on any future Negotiations between the City and Employee Bargaining Units.

Let’s begin by examining the text from the Staff Report.

Paragraph 1 states:

The City’s financial records show that the City has depleted its General Fund balance (reserves) over the last 10 years. A decade of continuous operating deficits has resulted in significant impacts to City’s operations. The City had over 100% of fund balance in 2002 to cover its annual operating costs of over $3.5 million. This fund balance (reserves) was reduced to approximately 60% of annual operating expenditures by 2007 as expenditures materially increased to over $5.6 million. Five years later, the fund balance for fiscal year 2012-13 as of June 30, 2013, is $843,000 which is below 20% of the City’s projected annual expenditures. This figure reflects the write-off of the Outstanding Notes Receivable (Loan) from the Former RDA in the amount of $511,000. The State Department of Finance declared this loan to be an un-enforceable obligation.

Paragraph 2 states:

A similar scenario is reflected on the City’s cash balance in the General Fund. These are the results of the continuous economic challenges Livingston along with many other agencies continues to face.

Paragraph 3 states:

Management conducted several budget workshops in mid 2013 in efforts to address the anticipated General Fund operating deficit of nearly $150,000 and to allow public/community input. This gap was then reduced to about $100,000 after management successfully negotiated a three year reimbursement agreement with Merced County in late September 2013. An analysis concluded that the County overcharged the City for Property Tax Administration between 2008 through fiscal year 2012. Per Statute of Limitations, the City could only recover three years of reimbursement plus accrued interest. County agreed to reimburse City in three fiscal year installments at just over $58,000 per year, FY2012-13, FY2013-14, and FY14-15.

Paragraph 4 States:

This anticipated gap was further reduced by negotiating budget concessions with the bargaining groups. Agreements were reached with Management & Confidential employees and Public Works units in early November 2013. General Fund savings from these two units in the form of personnel cost is estimated at $28,000 plus about $51,000 in other funds during fiscal year 2013-14. Late agreements were reached with our Police units after both units decided to exercise their right to Fact Finding procedures. On March 4, 2014, after a year of negotiations with these two units, an agreement was reached to honor the recommendations made by Mr. Burdick, mediator on Fact Finding process. Anticipated personnel savings to the General Fund from these two Police units during 2013-14 are estimated at $22,000 in the General Fund and about $5,200 in other funds.

Paragraph 5 states:

A mid-year review was performed by finance in January-February and minor adjustments were made to revenue and General Fund expenditure projections, this included reallocation of funds within and between departments to balance the General Fund budget.

Paragraph 6 States:

The City has posted a copy of the proposed budget on its website and will provide a free copy of the proposed budget on a CD to any citizen desiring to have one. Copies will also be available for public review at City Hall.

If you only look at the plain language of the Staff Report,  you would most likely arrive at the following conclusions:

  1. The General Fund has been in a downward slide towards Bankruptcy for quite some time and we’re just about there.

  2. The City is in a heap of trouble, financially. Just like everyone else.

  3. Expenses were expected to $153,000 more than Revenues. But the City managed to negotiate a refund of about $50,000 from the County: which dropped the “budget gap” to $100,000.

  4. The City also negotiated about $50,000 of concessions from the Employee Bargaining Units: which dropped the “budget gap” to $50.000.

  5. During the Mid Year Review, “minor adjustments” were made which eliminated that last $50,000, thereby dropping the “budget gap” to zero.

  6. And you can see it for yourself by looking at the version of the Budget on the City’s website.

So, from the March Staff Report, you would most likely gotten the impression that back in July 2013, the City was facing a Budget Gap of close to $150,000.

And after several months of negotiations, this Planned Spending was reduced by concessions gained from Employee Bargaining Groups, refunds from the County, and some Inter Departmental “adjusting”:thereby reducing the nearly $150,000 Budget Gap to Zero {0} Resulting in a Balanced Budget.

But as I mentioned earlier, this Staff Reports leaves something out: the fact that Projected Revenues were adjusted UP about $150,000 during the same time all those Refunds, Concessions, and other “adjustments” were supposed to be bringing Spending DOWN.

But, but, but, the Budget was Balanced. Wasn’t it? Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. Just not exactly the way the Staff Report makes it appear.

At the General Fund Budget Workshop in July 2013, According to the Spreadsheets included in the Agenda Packet posted online, the Budget Gap was calculated as follows:

· General Fund Revenues: $4,402,825

· General Fund Expenses : $4,546,718

· “Budget Gap”:                         ($143,893)

And there was a whole lot of negotiations with the bargaining units about things like furlough days and other concessions because it was a Critical need to close that Budget Gap.

So..when I saw the Agenda Item about the Budget on the March 18, 2014 City Council Agenda, I expected that after the Employee concessions, and other spending cuts the Staff Report talked about, the numbers would look something like this:

· General Fund Revenue: $4,402,825

· General Fund Expenses: $4,402,825

· Budget Gap: 0

But that’s not what the Revised Budget Said. What it said was:

· General Fund Revenue: $4,556,650

· General Fund Expenses: $4,556,650

· Budget Gap: 0

Total Revenues were increases by over $153 thousand dollars but Total Spending wasn’t cut at all! In fact, Total Spending INCREASED almost $10,000.

And from looking at the details, any “budget savings” from employee concessions were more than wiped out by increased spending on Professional Services, Contract Services, and other spending increases.

When I pointed out those facts to the City Council and asked “what happened”, I got quite the long answer about how Budgets are Living Documents and how The-Longer-You-Go-The-More-Things-Change from the City Manager and a retort about Just-Looking-For-Things-To-Criticize from the Mayor.

Excuse me?

I understand that there are times when spending cuts just have to be made. I get that.

I understand that there are times when Pay Cuts and Furloughs may be truly necessary. I get that too.

But if you tell the Bargaining Units at the beginning of the Fiscal Year that Concessions are necessary because there just isn’t going to be enough Revenue coming in…

And negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, because you so NEED those concessions in order to close that Budget Gap.

Then turn around around towards the end of the year, after the concessions were made, with a “oops, we bad, we’re actually going to get $153,000 more Revenue then we originally figured on, but we plan to spend it elsewhere…but we sure do appreciate those concessions anyway.

Why should you think you will be trusted the next time you cry “Budget Gap! We have a Budget Gap to Close!”

Just sayin

A is for Another Lawsuit, B is for Budget Cuts, T is for Training Issues, and a City Council Agenda

Notice the Focus on Lack of Training and Failure to Supervise and Negligence

From Denial of Claim for Damages from Camilo Rodriguez and Rosario Torralba Hernandez

The Union found out about the alleged money issues on August 8!  We meet with the City and gave them a viable alternative, which the City decided not to take!…. At least three times, John Mucci caught the finance director trying to add language, and or remove (language) from our contract agreement.  The last time, the Union had to go to their attorney and report the wrongdoing, then it was changed! – Excerpted from comment by Unionadvocate, Livingston approves four layoffs as part of budget vote, Merced Sun Star

The City also stated that some of the budget issues were from past lawsuits.  Hmm, I wonder just how many lawsuits are going to be filed by (victims) in this city after their trained evidence technician is gone and stuff falls through the cracks.  Can’t imagine that people are going to be happy when criminals walk free because of it. – Excerpted from a comment by kryztan, Ibid.

During the discussion of eliminating John Mucci’s position as head of the evidence room, I thought of two murderers who went free because of the mishandling of evidence by people who did not have sufficient experience to handle it correctly. The mishandling of evidence is a successful target for defense attorneys. The council made a serious mistake. –Mike McGuire, Facebook posting, August 21, 2012

Meyers Nave For Hours Billed for May

Meyers Nave for June

Meyers Nave July Hours Worked

Yep..Livingston is being sued. Again.

And Legal Fees are going up. Again.

Just a quick example. If you add up May, June, and July, you come up with close to $86,000 in Legal Fees in just 3 months! How come the members of the council who were so ticked off about “high legal fees” (before the Recall) that they voted no on paying at least 2 different Attorneys bills, and held up payment on at least 2 entire warrant registers aren’t saying much at all about “high Attorneys Fees now”? Hmmm?

With the way things are going “budget wise”, and the way the Council has been voting lately, I have a feeling the amount of Attorneys Fees are just going to end up climbing even higher and higher. More on that a little later.

But first, it’s been a while since we have checked into Delta Bravo Sierra land.

Panel 1Panel 2Panel 3Panel 4Panel 5 April 13 2012

Yup! There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.

costructionBuilding Materials Sale at the Livingston VFW

The Livingston-Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8327 will be holding a huge Building Materials Sale at the Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 9799 Stephens Street, Delhi California.

Thursday, September 6th through Saturday September 8th. We will open at 9 am and close at 5 pm.

All new merchandise, priced twenty five cents on the dollar. We have electrical, plumbing, lawn & garden, flooring, windows, doors and many other items, too numerous to mention.

All Sales are Final with no Warranties. Contractors Welcome—No Credit Cards, cash or checks accepted.

All proceeds will go to the California Veterans Service Program.

For a list of the items available, go to www.vfwlivingston.com.

Livingston Court Theater Project Tea

j0283588A CASE OF “PENNY WISE” but pound foolish?

If you have been paying attention to the goings on at City Hall, you are already aware of the New Budget that was just adopted, and the controversy that is going along with it.

Some people are concerned that any “cost savings” gained in the short run by getting rid of 4 more City Employees, will be offset or overshadowed by additional Legal and or Consultant’s fees in the Long run.

First let’s take a look at a “short list” of “staffing changes” that have already taken place in the last couple of years.

1. Richard Warne (went on to greener pastures) and Vickie Lewis (who eventually retired after having been asked to stay on “just a few months more”), fiscal conservatives who kept revenues and expenditures in line with each other year after year.

2. Kathryn Reyes went on to greener pastures, after stepping into the Public Works Director job duties in Livingston but being denied the title and pay that went with it. (What ever happened to “equal pay for equal work?)

3. Chief Dunford, who was first told “Great Job” around Christmas time: then sent packing before anyone could even say good-bye.

4. Donna Barnes, the City Manager’s Executive Assistant was fired even though she earned a Masters degree while working here. Her job was divided up and added to other staff members workload.

5. Rahnnie Le, an Account Clerk went to greener pastures. She was doing her job and part of Donna Barnes’ with no room for advancement even though she earned a Master degree while working here. She was not replaced and her job was divided up and added to other staff’s workload.

6. Davis Ruiz also went to greener pastures. He was one of Nanda’s employees who ran GIS and gave us our maps, including the City-wide yard sale map. He couldn’t feed his family on 3 days a week of work.

Now, in the name of “cost saving” the City has “laid off”

1. Donna Kenney, Community Development Director. So who will be doing the work will need to to keep our development projects going? Another expensive consultant? (from Firebaugh or Orange Cove?) Or the City Attorney?

2. Jim Rightsell, Street Supervisor, who, among other things, reviewed all the landscaping and irrigation on projects. Who will be the “someone” with construction experience to run the Public Works crew on site. (and not from an air conditioned office)

3. John Mucci, who ran the Evidence Room, Crime Scenes, and Special Events like the 4th of July, Bide Rodeos, parades, and all the other Special Events residents of Livingston look forward to.

Who will be the person with the Credibility with the Court System in charge of making sure Crime Scene Evidence is properly collected, catalogued, and preserved?

Mistakes with evidence leads to lost criminal cases because Defense Attorneys would have a field day shredding the validity of Criminal Evidence collected in Livingston.

Throw in the whole “busting the Finance Director for finagling with the Union Contract in between the time the Council Approved it and the time it was presented for Signatures” thing, and if that is not a recipe for a Major Lawsuit, I don’t know what is.

4. Nora Becerra – then there will be no one to provide customer service at PD except the dispatchers who will already be covering for John’s position or busy dispatching for both Livingston and Gustine. Stressed dispatchers leads to mistakes. Mistakes in dispatching can lead to valuable lost time in routing Officers to where they really need to be.

And “lost time” can lead to property destruction, injuries and/or deaths that might not have happened otherwise.

Which would increases the risk of even more people suing the city and more money spent on City Attorneys.

There is already one Lawsuit against the City claiming errors in “training and supervision” of City Employees, lead to an unnecessary death.

Call me cynical, but I’m concerned that some of these “cost savings” listed above will eventually lead to even greater “financial losses” in the long run.

And I know I’m not the only one thinking that way.

And now on to the

CONCURRENT MEETING

CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA SEPTEMBER 4, 2012

CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency will hold a Regular Meeting on September 4, 2012, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

Closed Session

1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.

CLOSED SESSION

A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Livingston Redevelopment Agency may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Hall Conference Room located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.

3. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 2

4. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Public Works Director

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Agency Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2012-62

Next Ordinance Number: 600

Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency

Resolution Number: 2012-2

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

City Council Future Agenda Item Requests.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.

1. Resolution Amending the City of Livingston Conflict of Interest Code and Accepting Biennial Notice.

2. Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 29, 2012.

SUCCESSOR AGENCY CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the Executive Director or Board Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the Board or Executive Director request that specific items be removed.

3. Resolution Approving the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget for the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

4. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the Employment Agreement Between the City of Livingston and Humberto Molina for the Position of Public Works Director.

5. Approval of Investment Grade Audit Contract with Schneider Electric.

6. Provide Staff Direction Concerning Truck Parking Signage on Joseph Gallo Court.

ADJOURNMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep. Livingston is being sued again

training (or lack of it) issue

Now don’t get me wrong. I have two sons of my own. and if one of them were to die suddenly, I’d be devastated beyond words to describe and I’d be trying to find answers to the big question of “Why”.

Now..you might be wondering how Budget Cuts could lead to potentially even more Lawsuits in the future..more on that a little later

Missing MOU’s, Budgets in Process, and a City Council Agenda

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” Excerpted from History of Veterans Day – United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Agency Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees.

Excerpted from Closed Session: October 18, 2011 City Council Meeting Agenda (The Closed Session for this Date Was Canceled)

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

NOVEMBER 1, 2011

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Excerpted from the NOVEMBER 01, 2011 Meeting Agenda (Notice What’s Missing? Yep..No Closed Session. No Conference about Labor Negotiations)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As of the date of this Posting, we are getting ready to enter the 5th month of a New Fiscal Year without a Formally Adopted Budget. But it looks like we finally might be close to actually adopting a Real Budget, sort of – almost – maybe

More on that later..but first let’s check into Delta Bravo Sierra Land

Notice Even the Gators Tail Coming to AttentionWill someones Asset end up in a SlingCue the Theme from Jaws

So….whose gonna get the biggest “chewin’”? Guess you’ll have to go to Delta Bravo Sierra Land yourself to find out….

There’s Strange..and then there’s Army Strange: courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons. {He’s on Facebook too! and even has his own Comic Book!!!}

VETERANS DAY PARADE This November in Livingston

Mark your calendar! The Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars #8327 and Ladies Auxiliary will be hosting the Annual Veterans Day Parade in the City of Livingston on November 11, 2011, at 11:00 am.

If you wish to have an entry in the parade, for an entry form contact Denis Wells at (209) 394-2059..

And for more on the History of Veteran’s Day CLICK HERE!

Livingston Rotary Crab Feed, November 12, 2011

imageOur Livingston Rotary Club Winton-Campini Crab Feed will be held Saturday, November 12, 2011, 6 pm. Contact any Livingston Rotarian or Livingston True Value Hardware for tickets. As always, it is all you can eat, family style with a raffle and dessert auction. It’s an opportunity to meet and greet old friends and raise money for local projects like the donations of library books, picnic covers, college scholarships, leadership camps, speech contests and disc golf course.

VFW Rummage-Sale_thumb1Ladies Auxiliary Rummage Sale

The next Ladies Auxiliary Rummage Sale will be held November 30 and December 1-2 , 2011. If you have anything to donate contact Denis or Sue Wells and let us know where and when you would like someone to pick the items up.

Tclip_image004[5]here’s Still Time to Help Give the Lil Guys and Gals and even better place to play!

In 2006 the city purchased the storm drain basin (4 lots) next to the park and filled it in with the intent of making it a park to service the ball park participants and their families. Since then, Lil Guys and Gals field has been a ball park used for many years by the residents of Livingston.

The Recreation Commission determined in 2011 to take on the park as a project. The commission wanted to involve the community and let them help bring this project to reality. By purchasing a stepping stone the community not only provides the financing for the park, but in turn places a personal monument in the park for years to come.

Stones will be sold until there are enough sales to cover the completion of the park. The Commission’s goal is Summer of 2012.

Once you have purchased a stone you will be called by the Recreation Department for an appointment to make/create your stone.

If you are interested in creating a Memorial Stone and/or participating in one of the many work days that will take place to upgrade the park, call the Recreation Office at 394-8830 for more information.

The 2011-2012 Draft Budget for the City of Livingston has been Published.

And was the subject of a Special City Council Meeting on October 25th .  {You can CLICK HERE to see it as originally published}

As you can see (If you chose to click the link above ^) The Draft Minutes really don’t tell you diddly squat about what all was discussed that night (Over 2 hours and 31 minutes worth of discussion took place).

However, with the help of my own handy dandy hand held recorder and some previous Facebook Posts..I can give you a few tidbits to chew over before the Official Budget Adoption Meeting: which is supposed to be before this month is over.

*The Fire Department’s budget will be increased by $2,000 (taking it from another department if need by)so they can have “educational Fire Prevention materials” to take to the schools.

*The City will “donate” $5,000 to the July 4th Committee. There was also a discussion about using Reserve Officers for the Fourth of July Celebration.

*The Council talked about starting up a brand new Fire Inspection Program whereby the Fire Department would go into every Multi-Unit Apartment Complex and every Business on an Annual Basis

*Staffing at Public Works is a bit too low to get everything everyone wants done exactly when everyone wants it done. So the City Manager talked about the possibility of starting up a program in which a Public Works person goes to the (prison?) and pick up Low Risk Offenders to do stuff like Weed Abatement & such.

*The Building Inspector is only at City Hall Monday-Thursday. As far as “code enforcement” goes, the focus is on “Health and Safety” and “weed abatement”.

*There are projected Surpluses in the Enterprise Operating Funds: which will be used to offset previous Operating deficits.

 *The Senior Center may not continue in it’s present location: there are some “changes” coming. Mayor Espinoza talked about moving the Senior Center to the building next door to City Hall."

*And the Planning Department got an additional $500 to cover additional costs of additional “Public Noticing” of the additional “Public Hearings” for all the additions/subtractions and Changes Being Made to the Zoning Code.

Look for a reworked version of the Budget to be available just before the November 15th City Council Meeting.

While We’re On The Subject of the Budget 

Last year, Extensions of MOU’s (Memorandum of Understandings) with the vast majority of Employee Bargaining Units was adopted by a 5-0 vote of the City Council at the July 6, 2010 Council Meeting. This year, the Closed Session discussion about Negotiations with the Employee Organizations has been canceled at least twice already.

And there’s nothing on this Tuesday’s Agenda about “Conference with the Labor Negotiator” either.

Maybe its just me. But doesn’t it make sense to finish up Negotiations and Adopt the Memorandums of Understanding with the Employee Organizations at least a meeting or two before adopting The Budget?

So what’s the hold up? I mean, it’s not like the City Council didn’t know “Labor Negotiations” needed to get done some time this year.

I did notice one thing though…according to the City Council Draft Minutes I have, the Assistant City Manager: Vicky Lewis, was included in the Closed Session Discussions about Labor Negotiation last year.

This year, however, Meeting Minutes seems to indicate the Assistant City Manager has been excluded from these discussions..

You know the old expression about “keeping all your eggs in one basket”? I wonder if all the “discussions” are being kept in one pocket..

I’m also wondering When-Will-These-Discussions-Finally-GetDONE!?!

Changes Coming to the Planning Commission?

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See Agenda Item Below

It will be interesting to see if the City Council “opens it up” to anyone who might be interested, or if they will take the position of “why bother, he’s doing a good job anyway”.

And Now on to the

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CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

NOVEMBER 1, 2011

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on November 1, 2011, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The agenda shall be as follows:

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2011-69

Next Ordinance Number: 598

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

CITIZEN COMMENTS – NOTE: Public Comment/Speaker Cards are now available on the back table of the City Council Chambers. Please fill out the appropriate card and submit to Meeting Recorder.

This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.

1. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 4, 2011 (Amended).

2. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 18, 2011.

3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 25, 2011.

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 26, 2011.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

5. Resolution Declaring Intent Not to Enforce Certain Provisions of Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-6-5Against Vacant Legal Nonconforming Residential Units in the Downtown Commercial Zoning District for Two (2) Years from Effective Date of Resolution.

6. Provide Staff Direction and Adopt Resolution of Intent to Amend Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Chapter 3 Concerning Building Structure Setback Requirements.

7. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Appointment to the Planning Commission.

ADJOURNMENT

And there is also

A Few Form 700’s About Who Owns What and Where in Livingston

2011 CITY COUNCIL Agendas and Meeting Minutes

Police Chief Recruitment City of Livingston

2012-2012 City of Livingston Draft Budget

The “Mission of the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee” Series

The “Brief History of How We Got Into This Mess” Series

A Few Letters, Sun-Star & and Mike McGuire Articles about Livingston Politics (and a few other things Worthy of Note) (The links here go all the way back to the 2008 Election Cycle)

The 1995 Water Rate Resolution (Do you see anything in there that says “Industrial”?)

California Department of Health Sept. 2010 Letter on Water System Funding

Well #15 Enforcement Letter & Staff Report

Well #15 Manganese Enforcement Letter Discussions

How They Voted in 2011 (Granted, it’s a Work in Process, but there are links to things there you might be interested in.)

How They Voted in 2010

How They Voted in 2009

How They Voted in 2008

How They Voted in 2007

How They Voted in 2006

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2010

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2009

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2008

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2007

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2006

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2005

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2004

2010-2011 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2009-2010 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2008-2009 Interim Reports Merced County Civil Grand Jury Postscript to FY2007/2008 Grand Jury’s Report On The City of Livingston

2007 2008 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2006-2007 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report