A “Lost” City Manager, A Blocked off Parking Lot, An Ordinance About Marijuana and a City Council Agenda

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra said the resignation came “out of the blue” and he’s sad to see Ramirez go. From  Livingston city manager to resign Jan. 31, Thaddeus Mill, The Merced Sun Star – 12/24/2014

Councilman Gurpal Samra said he was not aware of any conflicts between Duque and the council or city employees. He echoed the city attorney, saying Duque said he wanted to pursue another job. “He didn’t give any reasons,” Samra said. Excerpted from:  Livingston city manager resigns after two months – Thaddeus Miller, The Merced Sun Star, 12/21/2015

Livingston, CA 01/05/2016

Looks like we lost two (2) City Managers in less than the space of about a year or so: both resignations coming as a “surprise” to members of the City Council.  More on that a little later, but first….

I was taking a walk about town the other day, when I noticed a “traffic jam” of sorts in the parking lot in front of True-Value. A Gilton truck was trying to back up from behind the Fiesta Market. But he had to wait for the Delivery Truck behind him to back up. But the Delivery Truck behind the Gilton Truck had another Delivery Truck behind him. So the First Delivery Truck had to wait for the Second Delivery Truck to back up. And the Gilton Truck was stuck until the other trucks backed up. And Not even the smallest of cars could in until the trucks got out of the way.

Parking LotWhat .. a..mess..It might not have been quite as much of a mess if half the Parking Lot had not been blocked off.

Why, you might wonder, was half the parking lot blocked off? If you have lived here as long as I have, you know that the parking situation in the Downtown was already a mess of sorts before these spaces were blocked off.

Downtown Livingston MapBut we’ve gotten used to it. More or less. I bet many of you hardly even notice anymore that the Parking Lot to the left of Dollar Mart is blocked off. (That’s about 24 spaces. Right?) If the parallel parking in the Downtown is full, most people seem to adapt by parking in the Rite Aide parking lot or the Parking Lot in front of Mountain Mikes and Liberty Market.

I am now going to invoke The Story Teller’s License. (Since I don’t know all the Legal Technicalities Involved.) I do have a General Idea of What Happened. And the story goes something like this…

Building next to Fiesta MktONCE UPON A TIME….A few months or so ago, while my husband and I were out and about, I noticed the Jewelry Store that had occupied the (now empty) building next to the Fiesta Mkt. had been replaced by a business called Novedades. At the time, my husband told me some people he knew had bought the building and the parking lot at an auction. He wasn’t sure of all the details: just that they had bought the building so they could open their own business.

NovedadesIt only seemed like a few short months later when Novedades moved to a different building. (Previously occupied by the Third Street Armory) And not too terribly long after that, the piece of the parking lot that was attached to the building Novedades had moved from, was closed off.

I asked my husband if he knew anything. He didn’t seem to know much, except there had been some kind of “mistake” and the owners of Novedades were really mad about it.

I did a little more asking around, and from what I understand, a mistake was made by the Title Company involved with the Building/Parking Lot purchase. The owners of Fiesta Mkt. had actually bought the Building Next Door. The owners of Novedades had bought the portion of the parking lot that was associated with that building.

And (according to the story) the owners of Fiesta wanted the owners of Novedades to pay rent for the use of the building.

Now, at this point, some of you are already thinking, “Um..wouldn’t it make sense for the Owners of Fiesta and the Owners of Novedades to work out some kind of “rent swap” arrangement? So that Novedades would continue to have the use of the building and Fiesta would continue to benefit from access to the parking lot.”

HOWEVER (as the story goes) the owners of Fiesta eventually evicted Novedades from the building for non payment of rent. And did not want to pay the owners of the parking lot any kind of rent for access to the parking lot.

So, the owners of Novedades responded by closing off the Parking Lot.

What a mess.

THE RESIGNATION OF CITY MANAGER, Jose Antonio Ramirez became final the end of January 2015. As I mentioned a bit earlier, his resignation took the City Council by surprise (seriously?). During the January 06th and January 20th City Council meetings, he presented a List of Items the City Council would need to address some time in the future.

Now that we are back to “square one” in the search for a New City Manager, (If I had the time, I could do a whole post just on the “revolving door” City Hall has been over the last few years: when you consider ALL the staff who left or were let go.)let’s take another look at that original list and see what has been “resolved, and what may still be “pending”.

  1. Amending the Watering Ordinance – ADOPTED May, 2014

  2. Repairs needed to be done to the City’s Water Storage Tank . According to the California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report“The interior coating (walls, floor , and interior support column) is in overall poor condition. There is a large amount of blistering, cracking, and pinholes in the coating. It is recommended to blast and recoat the interior of the tank .” 

    1. When the New Water Rates were adopted in 2014,  $30,000 was to be spent on Tank Repairs in 2014-2015, $400,000 to be spent on Tank Repairs in 2018-2019: for a total of $430,000

  3. Planning Fees Increases – PENDING

    1. According to the Asst City Manager internal fee studies were started and may have been completed but not fully reviewed. ….city’s general fund continues to subsidize such functions. Its highly recommended to hire an independent consultant to perform a professional fee study for city wide services. Recent law changes call for a public hearing when fee increases are being implemented.

  4. Well Deconstruction Fees. The City will have to start issuing Well Deconstruction Permits.  – PENDING

  5. Master Plans for Sewer, Water, and Storm Drains need to be updated – IN PROCESS – According to the City Engineer,

    1. The Urban Water Master Plan Update is in progress:funded by a Community Development Block Grant grant.

    2. The City would have to identify funding sources to entertain the sewer and storm drain master plans.  Most likely these two areas will be visited during the mid-year budget review to obtain cost estimates and discuss the possibility of addressing those in 2015-16.  The City will be looking for new feasibility study grants that could fund those areas.

  6. The 4th of July Committee would like to come under the umbrella of the City – STATUS UNCLEAR – To the best of my knowledge, there has been no movement on this item.

  7. Sunvalley Estates and Well #17  improvements – IN PROCESS

    1. Contract to Conco West, Inc. awarded on September 15, 2015

    2. Project Scheduled to have begun on November 16

  8. Devante Villas project: haven’t heard from them in a while. But sure they will be coming back – STATUS UNCLEAR – I have not heard back from anyone at the City about this yet.

  9. Kera (?) Fernandez Reimbursement issue: Staff is working with legal council on this issue – Went to court. Settlement agreement reached.

  10. AB1600 Draft:

    1. According to the Asst. City Manager, the Final draft is ready and Staff is working with legal council to move foreword with the adoption – –  An internal fee study was performed, however, there were some “legal” concerns applicable to the current general plan….It was decided to put a hold on fee study until the general plan update issues are addressed.

  11. Tree Grant: the city still has trees to plant.

    1. Per the Asst. City Manager The Tree grant was successful and it’s 100% closed, the City received about $20K.

  12. 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.

    1. The Asst. City Manager personally requested a copy of such commitment and to date has not received it.

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

    1. The City switched to 4Leaf on June 02, 2015. See Item 3

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

    1. According to the City Engineer, it is Still under engineering review and is expected to start in Spring 2016 or sooner

  15. Well #17 CBDG Grant Project.

    1. The City received an Award of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $1,600.000 for Water Well #17

    2. In December 2014 a contract was  Awarded to Loprest Treatment Company to Supply Three Complete Water Filtration Systems for the Removal of Arsenic and Manganese at Wells #13, #17, and #15.

    3. In September 2015 was the the Resolution Accepting Bid and Awarding Contract to Conco West, Inc. for Well #17 Improvements and Wellhead Treatment

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

    1. According to the City Engineer:  This project is at its final stage, its expected was expected to be completed by end of November and taken to council for approval/acceptance in December.

  17. Well #15 Project should either be a grant or a 0% loan – No Updates Yet

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

    1. Exact Current Water Level data not available.

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

    1. I have noticed cracks being filled in various places throughout the City.

    2. There has been 1 claim filed against the city that I know of.

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

    1. Since everything seems to be still “in the planning and review stage, this may take a while.

  21. 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.

    1. No info on this yet

  22. Tax Sharing Agreement with the County has yet to be finalized– STILL IN PROCESS – Some of you may remember that the County revoked the previous Tax Sharing Agreement with the City as of July 1, 2009. The County had disagreed strongly with portions of the City’s 2025 General Plan Update and wanted substantial changes. When the City refused to make those changes, the County revoked the 2004 Tax Sharing Agreement that had been in place.

    1. I’ve been to several Council Meetings at which I heard it said it was still “under discussion”

  23. 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.

    1. Per Asst. City Manager – No recent activity nor City interest

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

    1. At the May 26, 2015 Special City Council Meeting, the Council voted to select the current PACE program with the Anthem Blue Cross $1300 deductible PPO plan and Anthem Blue Cross $25 copayment HMO plan.

In addition to the above

Downtown Beautification Project

  • Per City Engineer, the final modifications to the design by engineers is expected to go back to council for final review and comments shortly.

  • Expected construction in early 2016

Recruitment of a New Public Works Director – ON HOLD

  • Originally – Until the New City Manager did an evaluation of work loads – Now its on hold for the next City Manager

Amending the RTIF – so projects like the Motel 6 will be excluded from paying those fees when they pull their permits?

  • Per Asst. City Manager – No need to amend the RTIF at this point.

Decommissioning the ponds at the old (Foster Farms) IWWTP

  • According to the City Manager. Per discussion with Foster Farms about 3-4 months ago, they were on schedule.

Winton Parkway Development Projects: Motel 6 and any others

  • Per City Engineer, these are in process: Under review and discussion

YEP. WE “LOST” TWO CITY MANAGERS THIS YEAR – Both resignations were a “surprise” to members of the Council and Both left on “good terms”. Although the First-T0-Go, Jose Antonio Ramirez managed to stick around for over three years, the Second, Eddie Duque didn’t even manage to make it three months.

The Story Goes that he resigned “of his own accord.” I have a hard time believing that. Given Livingston’s History, there MUST be more to his story than the City Council is willing to divulge.

Why do I feel this way?

Because if you read Pages 3, 4, and 5 of the Employment Agreement, under the heading “Termination of Employment and Severance” you will see that:

If MR. DUQUE was to decide to terminate the Agreement: (Translation..”Resign of his own accord)

THEN he was to give 60 days WRITTEN notice AND he would get NOTHING

If the CITY COUNCIL decided to terminate the Agreement “without cause”, during the first year of employment

THEN Mr. Duque would be entitled to 4 months Base Salary as Severance PLUS Health Care Coverage for 2 months.

{($140,000 Annual/12months)x4months} + $2,636 in Health Benefits

Works out to about $49,302

…AND nothing is to be said to the public or Press except for in a Mutually Agreed Upon Joint Press Release ULESS they cannot agree as to the content. In that event, the City is to simply say he is no longer employed by the City.

IF the CITY COUNCIL decided to terminate the Agreement “for cause”

THEN Mr. Duque would get NOTHING

THEREFORE….Given WHAT he got + WHEN he got it + This City’s history of chewing through Staff = There Just Has To Be More to the story.

IT TOOK THE PLANNING COMMISSION 3 (THREE) HOURS to come to an agreement on how to phrase a Zoning Text Amendment which would allow Qualified Patients and their Primary Care Givers to cultivate Medical Marijuana within the City of Livingston. While the Planning Commission Chair favored a total ban, the rest of the Commissioners felt some kind of allowance should be made for Private Grows by Qualified Patients and their Primary Care Givers.

The Resolution the Commission sent to the Council had the following intent

  • Prohibit Commercial Grows

  • Allow Deliveries to Qualified Patients by Licensed Dispensaries (subject to certain restrictions)

  • A Primary Care Giver bringing Medical Marijuana to the Qualified Patient would not be regulated as a Delivery and would be exempt from Licensing Requirements.

  • Allow for a Qualified Patients and their Primary Care Givers to grow up to 6 plants

    • outside of the Residence (if the plants are grown in some kind of structure, the structure would be subject to Building Code. However, structures less than 120 sq. ft. are not subject to Code.

    • subject to certain other restrictions

For more details, CLICK HERE to read the entire Resolution

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JANUARY 5, 2016

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 5, 2016, 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 Successor 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. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Agency Negotiator: City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Unrepresented Employee: Interim City Manager

5. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager Recruitment

6. 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: 2016-01

Next Ordinance Number: 626

 

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements.

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. Resolution Approving Site Plan / Design Review 2015-3 to Construct a Building Containing an Office, Dressing Room, and an Apartment at the Guru Nanak Sikh Mission, 884 “B” Street, Livingston, CA.

 

2.   Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Prohibiting Commercial Marijuana ( Cannabis) Activities, Regulating Delivery of Medical Marijuana, and Regulating the Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Including Establishing Exemptions for Cultivation by Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers.

 

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 Warrant Register Dated December 10, 2015.

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 23, 2015.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

5. City Council to Provide Direction for Appointment to the Planning Commission.

L is for Livingston and yet another Lawsuit; and a City Council Agenda

In Lieu Parking Fee

Council Member Espinoza stated that he tried to help Mr. Fuentes’ project because it was located in the downtown.  He recommended that we help Dr. Singh and that he pay only half the cost for parking.  This will attract more businesses to Livingston, especially in the downtown. We are trying to encourage people to locate in the downtown...(He) said he tried to reduce the parking fees in half for Mr. Fuentes’ project.  Those were better times.  Now is a hardship. – Excerpts from December 1, 2009 City Council Meeting Minutes.

Mayor Varela said we have to prepare for the future.  He said that we do not have a lot of people knocking on our door, and so we have to be willing to work with the people that want to come in… downtown parking is something that we will have to look at in the future.  Those issues can be negotiated and discussed.  Policy changes can be made – Ibid

Based on all the research that we have done in-house, In Lieu Parking Fees were never collected. – Jose Ramirez, City Manager: City of Livingston, personal interview, week of 3/4/12

Brandon Friesen (said).…With the building vacant for seven years, no business in there will ever meet the current parking requirements. The City might as well change or modify the parking ordinance. As for the type of business, he would be more concerned about the aesthetics than about it being a bar. That’s freedom of choice. He hopes the Planning Commission does due diligence and review the CUP for security, but not so much parking. Excerpted from April 12, 2011 Planning Commission Draft Minutes

4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation – [(Government Code Section 54956.9(a)] – Michael Sperry vs. City of Livingston, et al, – Merced County Superior Court Case No. CV002762 – July 17, 2012 City Council Agenda 

Sperry contracted..to own and operate a bar at 444 Main Street..there was an existing and valid CUP to permit the operation of a bar at the Premises…The City initially contended that Sperry could not operate the bar at the Premises without complying with current parking requirements of the City for new construction…After some time the City conceded that the parking requirements do not apply to existing buildings. Excerpted from: Case No CVoo2762, Petitioner’s Verified Petition for Writ of Mandamus: Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof, pgs. 2 & 3

 

WELL..IF THE CITY COUNCIL EXPECTED Mike Sperry to just dry up and blow away when they revoked the Conditional Use Permit the Planning Commission had granted for 444 Main St….

They were sure proven wrong when his attorney filed a lawsuit in Superior Court a couple of days ago.

More on that a little later, but first…we haven’t checked in on Delta Bravo Sierra Land in a while.Panel 1Panel 2Panel 3Panel 4Panel 5 March 07 2012

Think you know there this is going? Maybe. Maybe not. You never know in Delta Bravo Sierra Land. There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.

Family Hamburger Night at the VFW

HamburgerJoin us for the VFW Hamburger Night, July 26, 2012, from 5-7 pm at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Building, 1605 7th Street, in Livingston. The public is invited, and you do not have to be a member to attend.

You will be able to enjoy hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and chili. The sandwiches include your choice of homemade salads. Price ranges from $2.00 to 4.00 per meal. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

If you need more information on any of our events, contact Denis or Sue Wells at (209) 394-2059 or visit our website at www.vfwlivingston.com.

RUMMAGE SALE

Rummage SaleThe Livingston/Delhi Ladies Auxiliary VFW #8327 will be holding a Gigantic Rummage Sale on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 2nd, 3rd and 4th, at the Delhi Veterans Hall, Located at 9799 Stephens Street in Delhi.

We have items too numerous to mention here, come by and see us. The sale hours will be 8-5 on Thursday and Friday and 8-2 on Saturday. Everything on Saturday will be $1.00 per bag (we furnish the bag) or half price if it is too big to fit in a bag.

If you have any questions or any donations, please call Sue Wells at 394-2059. All proceeds from the sale will go to fund our many programs. All monies will stay within our own community.

IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ALREADY

MC900323159

PD’s Out and Roamin’ The Town

(To the Tune of Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town)

Take Care of your Car

With a Good Wash & Dry

Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow

I’m Tellin’ You Why

PD’s Out and

Roamin’ The Town

They’re Ticketing

O-sten-si-bly

The Cars That

Should be Junk’d

But Even If Its

Run-ing Still

Your Car Might End Up Punk’d

Ohhhhhhhh

Take Care of your Car

With a Good Wash & Dry

Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow

I’m Tellin You Why

PD’s Out and

Roamin’ The Town

A FEW DAYS AGO, the Livingston Police Department mailed out between 100-120 Car Abatement Notices to residents in just one part of Livingston. And though the idea behind this push is supposed to be to get rid of all the Abandoned Cars left on streets around Livingston, from what I am hearing, not all of the Cars being noticed are truly “abandoned” in the way most lay people would think “abandoned”

Some of these cars are actually Registered, and being driven on a daily basis…

Something to think about…for each “abandoned” car “abated”, the PD gets money from the County.

And if I’m understanding correctly, the PD actually receives MORE than what it “costs” them to abate a car.

Some people would call that “making a profit” on Abating Cars….

Wouldn’t that only increase the temptation to “abate” every car they “can”, instead of every car they “should”…especially as budgets get ever tighter?

Just sayin….

IN A PREVIOUS POST, I talked a little bit about how Mike Sperry had been granted a Modified Conditional Use Permit for 444 Main St; how Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza appealed the decision because it was “interesting”, and how the City Council eventually Voted to Revoke the Conditional Use Permit.

Now..I’m no Lawyer..while I can’t state for certain what all the legal wrangling about what the meaning of “is” is, when it comes to the Municipal Code and Zoning and All That… about, I think I have a pretty good idea of what the fight is all about – in Common Sense Layman’s Terms that is…

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong…but from all the meetings I’ve been to, and all the Sun Star Articles I’ve read..it can be boiled down to this…

Mr. Sperry’s position is:

  • The building at 444 Main St. was built to be a bar/club

  • According to the Municipal Code, a Bar/Club is allowed at that location with a Conditional Use Permit

  • There was already a Valid Conditional Use Permit in effect for that location

  • He’s not erecting a new building

  • He’s not enlarging an existing building

  • He’s not changing the use of the existing building

Therefore, he should be able to open a Bar/Club at that location without paying a boat load of money for in-lieu parking fees

The City Council’s position is

  • We don’t care what the Municipal Code says, we don’t want a Bar/Club at that location so kiss the Conditional Use Permit Goodbye.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. You are thinking

“But Council Person Samra said that all that Mr. Sperry had to do was resolve the Parking Issue and Mr. Sperry would be able to get his Conditional Use Permit and open his Club.”

OK…let’s consider a couple of things…First thing being that Council Person Samra is only 1 of 5 members of the City Council. He can TALK all he wants to. But unless he has 2 other Council Members willing to vote the same way, all that talk means nothing.

And its pretty clear to anyone who has been following this issue that it would be a cold day in Hell before Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar, Council Person Land and Council Person Vierra would vote in favor of allowing Mr. Sperry to have his Conditional Use Permit for that location. (References and Citations upon request)

And remember, it was Mayor Espinoza who appealed the Planning Commission’s Decision in the first place.

As for “resolving the parking issue”, you might be thinking

“But other people had to pay in-lieu parking fees. Why not Mr. Sperry.”

Well..to begin with, there is no proof whatsoever that anyone ever paid the City a dime in In-Lieu fees. Ever.

And the Municipal Code talks about In-Lieu fees for “new construction”, and “enlarging” and “change of use”. Not for using a building for the use for which it was already built.

AND it’s pretty clear from “Council History” that the number of parking spaces, and/or amount in In-Lieu fees charged to a project can be “flexible”, depending upon who is in office at the time.

Let’s use the Sing Mixed Use Project as just one example shall we.  According to the record, in-lieu parking fees are “determined at the discretion of the the City Council”.

City Manager Warne….said the City Council has to make a decision on the in-lieu parking fee because this fee is determined at the discretion of the City Council. (He) stated that the City Council set the fee at $1,000 per parking space for a previous development.

Council Member Espinoza commented that at the last City Council meeting Mr. Singh said that he was willing to pay $500 per parking space….  He would rather have a new building in the downtown than an empty lot. Council Member Espinoza said this would be his motion unless you want him to wait for closing comments. – Excerpts from January 5, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes

So, seems to me one of the questions before the house (and why the lawyers make the Big Bucks) is: Are these fees really required, and if so, how much?

Or is the whole thing about “in lieu” parking fee requirements just a pretext: A way of preventing the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit for a Bar/Club at 444 Main St………Guess that’s up to the lawyers to figure out now

And now on to the

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CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JULY 17, 2012

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 July 17, 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. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(a)] – Michael Sperry vs. City of Livingston, et al,

Merced County Superior Court Case No. CV002762

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: 2012-50

Next Ordinance Number: 600

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza of Recognition Certificates to Police Explorer Post Volunteers at Sweet Potato Festival.

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

2. USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Grant Program for funding year 2012-2013 in the amount of $30,000 for the purchase of two police patrol vehicles.

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

3. Proceedings under the 1972 Landscape and Lighting Act, California Streets and Highways Code 22500 , et seq.: for the Approval to Levy Annual Assessments fot the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District No. 1, Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2012/2013.

4. Proceedings under the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982, Government Code Section 54717, et. seq.: for the Approval to Levy Annual Assessments for the Livingston Benefit Assessments Districts, Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2012/2013.

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.

5. Resolution for the Acceptance of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Grant No. CBG-09-093- “Replacement of Motors at Water Wells 8,9,11 and 13”, and “Citywide Streetlight Retrofit Project”, Authorizing the City Clerk to Record Notices of Completion with Merced County and Authorizing the City Manager to Release Performance and Material Bonds and to Make Final Payment of Retention Monies to Shannon Pump Company and to Tennyson Electric, Inc.

6. Adopt Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute Agreements with the Stewardship Council for a Grant Application.

7. Resolution Approving a Two (2) Year Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the AFSCME Public Works and Parks Employees Unit.

8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated July 13, 2012.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

9. Approval of Investment Grade Audit Contract with Schneider Electric, Inc.

10. Rental of Max Foster Sports Complex Picnic Shelter.

ADJOURNMENT