Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez
The Clovis City Council meeting took place on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was pushed from Monday to Tuesday due to the President’s Day holiday. Fresno County has started offering vaccines to residents 65 and older and a CVS location is expected to be the first vaccination site in Clovis, when supplies become available. Clovis Unified School District has some elementary school students back on campus and recently got the green light to allow junior high and high school students back on campuses starting Feb. 22.
The meeting was the second to last before the March 2 election, where the seats of Ashbeck and Mouanoutoua are up for reelection. Following the election, the council will also elect a new mayor and mayor pro tem among themselves.
The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda states that face masks are required for those who attend in person due to COVID-19. Ashbeck was the only council member to wear a face mask throughout the meeting. The other council members did not wear face masks while seated during the meeting.
Names of officials:
Drew Bessinger, Mayor (also Chief of Police, Fresno Yosemite International Airport)
Jose Flores, Mayor Pro Tem (also Chief of Police, State Center Community College District Police Department)
Lynne Ashbeck, Council Member (also Senior Vice President Community Engagement and Population Wellness, Valley Children’s Healthcare)
Vong Mouanoutoua, Council Member (also External Relations and Project Development Director, Community Medical Foundation)
Bob Whalen, Council Member (also Fresno County Deputy District Attorney)
The meeting opened quickly with the Pledge of Allegiance. From there, the meeting was opened for public comments. No public comments were made in council chambers or online. The council did receive one piece of correspondence that was noted, but not discussed further.
Receive and file the Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T.) second quarter report from Oct. to Dec. 2020. Approved unanimously with no discussion.
Approve the denial of a general liability claim for George Beal, the owner of Johnny Quick at Temperance and Owens Parkway. Beal filed a claim for loss of revenue in gasoline sales of $268,358 due to the construction of a roundabout and the traffic control methods used for the project. Approved unanimously with no discussion.
Approve final tract map for Wilson Homes development in the southeast area of Alluvial and Fowler Avenues. Approved unanimously with no discussion.
Approve final tract maps for Woodside Homes developments at the northeast area of Leonard and Barstow Avenues. Approved unanimously with no discussion.
Approve an annual levy of assessments for landscape maintenance for district number 1. Approved unanimously with no discussion.
Consider actions related to annexation of territory on the southeast corner of Sunnyside and Teague Avenues to the City of Clovis Community Facilities District for police and fire services. Approved unanimously with no discussion.
Declare results of a special landowner election and directing recording of the Notice of Special Tax Lien. It was stated that one ballot representing 32 votes had voted unanimously to pass the tax.
Approve an interfund loan between the general government services fund and the water service fund to finance the construction of fire station 6 in the Loma Vista area. The loan will come from $20 million that is set aside in the water services fund to treat TCP contamination, which came from legal settlements. Approved unanimously with some discussion.
Finance Director Jay Schengel explained that $5.3 million was awarded to Seals Construction on Jan. 11, 2021, but the total cost will be $7.9 million, including architecture, land improvements, furnishings and a 9.5% contingency cost on any category. He said they have development impact fees of $400,000, leaving a need for $7.5 million through an interfund loan.
Ashbeck asked about the current sources of fire department funding. Mouanoutoua asked more about the loan itself and whether any of them had not been paid back previously. Staff said it was designed to be flexible and anticipated that it would be paid back on time within the 10 year period.
Whalen asked about the treatment of TCP. City Manager Luke Serpa said they don’t anticipate needing the funds to treat the water for TCP in the next ten or even 20 years.
In closing, Serpa gave an update on COVID-19 cases in the state and local area. He said cases in California and Fresno County are sharply declining. In Clovis, he said they did not see the summer increase, but did see the most recent wave. He shared a chart showing 11 deaths due to COVID-19 in Clovis in the last week, following the prior week’s high of 18 deaths. Fresno County is reporting 22.8 adjusted new cases per 100,000 population, a 7.9% positivity rate and 10% health equity quartile positive rate. The region is reporting 17.2% ICU availability.
Serpa said the supply of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be a limiting factor. There have been 126,794 doses administered in Fresno County. The county is scheduled to receive 15,000 to 19,000 doses per week and appointments are available by signing up online. He said the county is notifying qualified residents who have completed interest forms online.
Ashbeck asked if the Clovis Police Department had been vaccinated and Serpa said that they have been. Flores asked if there was spread from the Super Bowl and Serpa said it is hard to tell. Mouanoutoua asked about how the public transit was working to help residents get to their appointments. He also asked about the number of cases with city staff members, Serpa said they had approximately 50 city employees test positive, but only one or two cases were work related.
At the previous city council meeting, Ashbeck asked if staff could look into the City of Davis, Calif. and how they created a, “COVID bubble.” Andy Haussler, Community and Economic Development Director, presented information about Davis and how they were able to keep COVID positivity rate at 1.9% with 1,864 total cases. With support from U.C. Davis, they offered free twice weekly testing for all residents with quick and accurate results. They also offered university housing for those who tested positive so they could isolate, free personal protective equipment, public health coaching to businesses, and environmental design expertise.
A member of the public that was in chambers asked about the, “transient population,” and how they were testing them for COVID-19. Ashbeck said the county has done some good outreach to give them housing and test them. Another resident in council chambers also asked about the transient population and what they could do to prevent them from taking over the streets. Serpa said certain areas aren’t within the city’s jurisdiction, but that police officers will try to have them voluntarily seek help. “We try to dissuade them, so maybe they’ll move away from Clovis and go to where they face no resistance,” Flores said. “It’s called displacement, it’s what law enforcement does everywhere and that’s the only thing that will work during these times when the governor says, ‘you can’t touch them’ and CHP will not go and touch them.” To close the conversation, Bessinger said, “We don’t want to violate their rights to exist either, and I know it’s frustrating, but from a human standpoint we should be as kind as we can be whenever we can be and I think that’s what we’re doing,”
Serpa made note that the flooring from the city hall lobby has been removed and will be replaced after the city election, since it will be used as a polling place starting on Saturday. He also told the council that they would plan to discuss Senate Bill 9 will be discussed at the next meeting on March 1. The proposed bill would allow for up to two duplexes in most single-family neighborhoods.
The council members all commented on the groundbreaking event that was held earlier in the day for the Landmark Square development. The $19 million project at 3rd Street and Veterans Parkway will include a new transit center, senior center and county library.
The meeting adjourned at 7:13 p.m.
The council approved a $7.5 million interfund loan to pay for a new fire station in the Loma Vista area. The loan will come from the water services fund, which has more than $20 million that has been set aside to treat TCP water contamination.
The council denied a general liability claim for George Beal, the owner of Johnny Quick at Temperance and Owens Parkway. Beal filed a claim for loss of revenue in gasoline sales of $268,358 due to the construction of a roundabout and the traffic control methods used for the project.
Two residents expressed concerns about “transients,” in the city, particularly at the intersection of Clovis and Ashlan Avenues, which they were informed is county property and the city does not have jurisdiction.