Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez


  • The council approved a citywide vehicle miles traveled (VMT) analysis and supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) assessment pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act by Kittelson and Associates, Inc. In doing so, the council hopes it will streamline future housing development since it may save developers from having to perform their own EIRs on future developments in Clovis. The additional analysis will cost $90,685, in addition to the original contract amount of $164,820 bringing the total contract amount to $255,505.

  • The City of Clovis estimates it will receive a total of $18.7 million in American Rescue Act funding. The first allocation will be available in May of $9.35 million and the second allocation of $9.35 million  in Spring 2022. The funds may be spent to address the negative economic impacts of COVID-19, which includes assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits. It must be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.

  • The council approved a $347,565 per year contractual services agreement with Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Agency for the provision of Fire Department Dispatch Services. Whalen pushed for quicker emergency services response times by questioning whether a $250 per day non-compliance fee was high enough and whether they could request a decreased response time from two minutes to a minute and a half, so that ultimately the response time to the scene of emergencies could be less than five minutes. 

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on Monday, April 5, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting followed the Easter holiday and was the first after the special reorganization meeting on March 22 when Flores was elected as the new mayor.

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. Whalen arrived about 30 seconds after the meeting began. 

Names of officials:

Jose Flores, Mayor (also Chief of Police, State Center Community College District Police Department)

Lynne Ashbeck, Mayor Pro Tem (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)

Drew Bessinger, Council Member (also Chief of Police, Fresno Yosemite International Airport)

The meeting opened with Ashbeck leading the council in the Pledge of Allegiance. The council was then updated on the Clovis Culinary Center by Shawn Miller, Clovis Business Development Manager. He said the center served as a safety net for many restaurant industry employees during the pandemic and introduced several who have started successful businesses out of the center.

From there, the meeting was open for public comments. A man was in council chambers and also sent an email to the council regarding excessive noise in his neighborhood off Villa Avenue, due to modified exhaust systems and loud stereo systems. Flores also acknowledged the receipt of three emails received regarding the backyard chicken ordinance


  • Approve minutes from the March 15 and March 22 council meetings. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve purchase of the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement to Dell. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve request from Business Organization of Old Town for temporary street closure of various Old Town Streets to hold the annual car show on May 15, 2021. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Receive and file the Community and Economic Development Department July to December 2020 report and department overview. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Receive and file investment report for January 2021. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Receive and file treasurer’s report for January 2021. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve contractual services agreement with Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Agency for the provision of Fire Department Dispatch Services. Item was pulled from the consent calendar by Flores and Whalen. Approved unanimously with some discussion between Whalen, Binaski and Flores. 

    • Whalen raised concerns with the fee for noncompliance being just $250 per day on a contract that is $347,565 per year for the next three years. He asked Clovis Fire Chief John Binaski to request them to decrease the response time from two minutes to a minute and a half, so that ultimately the response time to the scene of emergencies could be less than five minutes. 

    • Fire Chief John Binaski said the contract has been in place since 2006. 

    • “What is most important, at least in my view, is that we get to someone that has called 911 within five minutes and the reason for that, as you know, is that within five minutes of someone not being able to breathe that’s when brain damage can occur also when a fire exploding, it generally takes five minutes from a little fire to a fire that consumes the whole room,” Whalen said. 

    • “We’re into the double digits of millions of dollars, maybe up to $20 million invested by the citizens of Clovis into the fire department,” Whalen said. “It doesn’t seem to me to be a big ask to get the response time down here on this contract from two minutes to a minute and a half and if they say they can’t do it, then that’s fine, we’ll accept that.”

    • “I don’t think we’re pressing them enough to do more and I want you to continue to be as bright and creative as you’ve been in the past to get somebody to a 911 caller within five minutes to suppress a fire or provide some type of medical aid,” Whalen said. 

    • Binaski explained they were looking at the cumulative of all calls that come in, which some take longer because they aren’t considered rapid dispatch. “At the end of the day for a code three known fire duress, chest pain, shortness of breath, we go to every one of those calls, they are dispatched much more rapidly than water flowing in the streets or a fire alarm through an alarm company,” he said. 

    • Whalen ultimately moved to approve the contract, but asked Binaski to consider his concerns in the future and possibly amend the contract to just pertain to rapid dispatch calls. 

  • Approve amending the city’s classification plan by revising the bus driver and lead bus driver classifications. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve amending the FY 2020-2021 position allocation plan by deleting one business workflow specialist position and adding one business workflow analyst position. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve extension of workers’ compensation claims administration services contract to Acclamation Insurance Management Services, Inc. (AIMS). Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve amending the FY 2020-2021 transit budget to add $159,242.48 to purchase three Braun vans using state transit assistance funds and approve waiving the city’s usual purchasing procedures and authorize the purchase of three vans utilizing the CalACT competitive bid award. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve a side letter agreement with Clovis employees association to adjust the salary schedule for recreation leader. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve bid award for CIP 21-01, rubberized cape seal 2021. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve consultant service agreement between Toole Design Group, LLC and the City of Clovis for the 2021 Active Transportation Plan Update. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve waiving the formal bidding requirements and authorize the purchase of a landfill service truck from Pape Kenworth using the Sourcewell Purchasing Contract. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve waiving the formal bidding requirements and authorize the purchase of replacement streets paint striper from EZ Liner using the Sourcewell Purchasing Contract. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve awarding bid for Pasa Tiempo Park pour-in-place rubber surfacing, amend the 2020-2021 parks budget to allocate funds for the project. Whalen asked for this to be pulled from the consent calendar. Approved unanimously with little discussion.

    • Whalen asked whether other materials have been researched since this material tends to get torn up. 

    • Civil Engineer Sarai Yanovsky explained that rubber mulch or wood chips are an alternative, but that since this park was built around the pour-in-place surface it would cost more to retrofit it to use a different soft surface covering. 

    • Bid award was approved with little discussion. 

  • Approve waiving the formal bidding requirements and authorize the purchase of two commercial front loading refuse trucks and one residential side loading refuse truck from E.M. Tharp Inc., DBA Golden State Peterbilt Western, using the Sourcewell Purchasing Contract. Approved unanimously with no discussion.

  • Approve declaring the city’s intent to reimburse expenditures related to the purchase of police vehicles from tax exempt lease purchase financing and authorize the city manager to sign the lease purchase agreement and related documents. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve various actions associated with an existing consultant agreement between the City of Clovis and Kittelson and Associates, Inc. related to preparing a citywide vehicle miles traveled (VMT) analysis and supplemental environmental impact report (EIR). The amendments were approved unanimously after much discussion. Senior Planner Ricky Caperton presented the following items:

    • Approve amendment to an existing consultant agreement between the City of Clovis and Kittelson and Associates, Inc. for additional analysis related to vehicle miles traveled and environmental assessment pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act. The additional analysis would cost $90,685, in addition to the original contract amount of $164,820 bringing the total contract amount to $255,505. Caperton expects the additional work will take from six months to one year. 

    • Approve a request to initiate an amendment to the circulation element of the 2014 Clovis General Plan to modify, add and/or edit policies to ensure compliance with VMT guidelines. 

      • “Staff has worked diligently along with the BIA and members of the development community to kind of navigate how VMT is going to be analyzed in the future,” Caperton said. “ It’s been a little more cumbersome that I think everyone anticipated, which is why we’re still here working on this.” 

      • He noted a letter from the BIA included in the agenda packet showing their support for the direction they are going in. 

      • “One of the things we’ve noticed is that larger projects, in particular residential, have slowed down from what we hear; it’s been partly attributed to VMT for projects that couldn’t screen out based on the size, and certainly COVID had some impact as well,” Caperton said. 

      • Caperton shared a map showing more than 13% above regional average in Harlan Ranch, Loma Vista and Heritage Grove development areas. VMT per capita regional average is 16.1 miles and many Clovis neighborhoods were ranked at greater than 50 miles.

      • Ashbeck asked what the nexus was between this work and the standard development objective standards. Caperton responded by saying they were only related in the way that, “Right now VMT has really slowed down the amount of residential development that’s come forward, again that’s partly because of the VMT and the concern for doing a full-blown EIR, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, mixed in with a little bit of COVID,” he said.  “VMT has played a role in the slowdown in residential projects, especially the larger ones.” 

      • Mouanoutoua asked if the city is still on target to meet housing allocations for the year and Caperton said they would and that he didn’t foresee this would impact its ability to meet basic housing requirements.

      • Mouanoutoua said since they will be the first to do this in the Central Valley he would like the consultant to be available to attend more meetings, if needed. 

      • Whalen noted that there has been a switch to telecommuting for a lot of the community in the last year, which could have some impact on VMT. He noted the miles traveled in Harlan Ranch of 47.7 VMT and commented that, “one of the frustrations for me has been that they have never followed through on their promise to build retail or some commercial in that area so that there could be a lot less distance traveled for the folks of Harlan Ranch if they wanted to.”

      • “I’m wondering if at some point, it might make sense, rather than having retail follow rooftops, which is kind of the development model when it comes to these mixed-use concepts,” he said. “Maybe we could allow for some offsetting or adopt some mitigation that would require some retail built around the same time as rooftops.”

      • “What the state of California is asking us to do is consistent with what we’ve been trying to do in the City of Clovis for a number of years,” Whalen said. “The whole village concept and mixed-use concept is really designed around the idea that we can get people to really live, work and play within that village. So I anticipate that as things start to be built out that we’ll start to hopefully have some of this VMT reduced.” 

      • Whalen also noted an, “in lieu fee,” that could help offset VMT due to an increase of pedestrian or park trails in Clovis.

      • Building Association Industry (BIA) President and CEO Mike Prandini was in council chambers. “The development community right now is on pause for larger projects,” he said. “Anything subject to VMT is not getting pursued, until this is done and the development community can get some certainty on what this is going to cost, they aren’t going to be buying or contracting any new land because they don’t know what the cost of the VMT will be to meet that requirement…nobody can tell you what it’s going to cost.”

      • “It may come down to…the council has to decide whether the project is worthy or not and possibly adopt overriding consideration saying we need the project, we need the houses,” Prandini said. 

      • “We’d sure like to see it in six months because it would go a long way to easing concerns in the construction and homebuilding industry for getting projects back online and getting them moving again,” Prandini said. “Otherwise you’re going to come to a point where you’ve built out all the projects that have approved tentative maps that aren’t subject to VMT, but once those are gone there’s nothing new coming through the door; so you need to get this done as fast as possible so we can finally get to a point where we think the projects can start being submitted for approval.” 

      • Whalen asked about when they are measuring from and Prandini said it was July 2020 when they adopted the guidelines.

      • “This is a Central Valley issue, the Bay area doesn’t have it because they set the standard and L.A. set the standard,” Prandini said. “They didn’t think about the impact of the law on the Central Valley or what is referred to as the Inland Empire…Maybe that’s their intent is to get everybody to move into the City of Fresno in a 40-story building, you know that could be really what their intent was to make it look like downtown San Francisco and save all the farmland for the gophers and the rabbits because they aren’t giving you any water.”

      • Mouanoutoua asked if mitigation fees would result in higher priced homes in the future. Prandini said the market will dictate the prices and if buyers can’t afford homes with an additional $20,000 in mitigation fees, they’ll likely start by trying to buy land at lower prices so they can price homes that will work for buyers. “That’s part of why builders aren’t entering into land contracts because they need to know what it’s going to cost them to develop it, build it, pay the fees, pay all the salespeople and overhead and come out with a product that they can sell at X price that the buyers can afford.”

      • Flores said, “Or we’ll be building houses for people that don’t live in our Valley today, we’ll import the buyer.” To which, Prandini said buyers are already coming from out of the area and telecommuting. 

  • Approve contract for Harold Eidal as a contract extra help business workflow analyst in accordance with government code section 21224. Presented by Risk Manager Lori Shively. Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approve reappointment of Planning Commissioner Brandon Bedsted. Approved unanimously with little discussion.

    • Bedsted was on Webex and said he was, “under the weather,” and apologized that he couldn’t be there in person. “While my current appointment has been just under three years, I’ve really learned so much,” he said. “I see Clovis experiencing significant growth and to that end we have to continue being thoughtful and deliberate in our actions, it’s important for us to look to the future and make those sound decisions.”

    • Flores thanked him for his service. 

    • Ashbeck said she had known him since he was five because he had lived in her neighborhood and learned to ride his bike in front of her house. 

  • Approve various city council committee appointments. Approved unanimously. 

    • Following past precedent of having the mayor and mayor pro tem serve on committees, Flores was appointed as member replacing Bessinger and Ashbeck as alternate. 

    • Ashbeck requested to remain on the Fresno County Transportation Authority Board. Her current term expires in May 2021. 

    • The North Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board of Directors was a conflict for Flores and Ashbeck, so Whalen offered to serve with Bessinger as alternate. 

  • Approve change of council meeting schedule and canceled April 12 meeting be canceled. Approved unanimously. 

  • Approve a letter of opposition to proposed legislation SB 556 (Dodd) regarding attachments to street light poles, traffic signal poles, utility poles and support structures. Serpa said Dodd is mandating that municipalities would be required to provide space for 5G cell on its utility poles. 

City Manager Luke Serpa gave an update on COVID-19 cases in the state and local area. He said cases in California and Fresno County are declining. In Fresno County,  8.2 adjusted new cases per 100,000 population, 3.8% positivity rate, 4.3% health equity quartile positivity rate. He noted Fresno County is in the red tier and to move into the orange tier, the county must remain in the current tier for at least three weeks.

Serpa said the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is increasing. He said 415,461 doses have been administered in Fresno County to date and 25.6% of residents have received at least 1 dose with 12% of residents being fully vaccinated. The county is currently vaccinating any individual age 50 or older and on April 15 or sooner any individual age 16 or older will be eligible. 

Community and Economic Development Director Andrew Haussler gave an update on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which the latest portion of $1.9 trillion passed in March 2021. $360 billion goes to governments, of which $155 billion goes to local governments. The City of Clovis estimates it will receive $18.7 million. Haussler read the guidelines for funding uses, which included negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits. It states that it must be used by Dec. 31, 2024. First allocation available in May of $9.35 million and second allocation in Spring 2022 of $9.35 million. 

Ashbeck asked Haussler how they can get community input on gaps in assistance. He said some of the most valuable information they get is from one-on-one discussions and that doing some survey sampling could help. Bessinger said he was glad to see broadband on the list of possible expenditures to help students learning online. Haussler said they should be receiving guidelines in early May on ways the money can be spent. 

In closing, Serpa said that city staff had worked with the mayor to send a letter in support to Congressman Costa for funding of the, “Dry Creek repurposing project.”. He said it was routed through the North Kings GSA and the FID and that they are partnering with the stream group with the goal of using it as storm storage during wet years. 

From there, Flores opened it up for council comments. Whalen shared a photo of pink blossoms on a tree at the Clovis Botanical Garden. He also commented on the backyard chicken ordinance and said that the City of Bakersfield recently had significant issues after they passed a chicken ordinance. “I think we had tabled it for a year and I have no interest in bringing it back up on my own,” he said. Ashbeck suggested that the mayor does a Facebook Live. “I just think we’ve gone a long time without talking to people,” she said. She joked that they didn’t know what would happen with the variants and in October they could be back in the purple tier. To which Flores responded, “Don’t be a debbie downer, we are going to get through this.”

Ashbeck said the Rodeo Association had reached out to Valley Children’s and she suggested they reach out to United Health Centers since it had worked with the City in the past, regarding testing for the event. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:29 p.m. Future meetings are scheduled for April 19, May 3, 10 and 17. 

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