Documenter: Ramiro Merino

Here’s what you need to know

  • Madera citizens submitted two public comments to consider adding additional equity slots for the dispensary permits.

  • Mayor Garcia read two proclamations recognizing June as Pride Month and recognizing Madera born Olympic Hall of Famer Lee Edward Evans. 

  • Caltrans presented their project proposal for a “road diet”, where the number of lanes will be reduced in downtown, which includes rehabilitating SR 145. The Council expressed their agreement to get more information regarding this project, including maps and additional data of the project. 

  • Fire Chief Matt Watson for CAL Fire, presented the agreement overview between the City and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire) from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 for Fire Service Operations. The Council unanimously approved the agreement, which will cost the City $5,530,761, a decrease from the current year. 

  • Roger Sanchez, the Financial Director for the City, provided an overview of the 2021/2022 fiscal year budget regarding expenses and debt, which totals approximately $150 million. 

Purpose of Agency

The Madera City Council, a board of seven Council Members, is the elected legislative body of the City of Madera. Members of the City Council are elected by district, and the Mayor is elected at large. There are six (6) Council districts. Members of the City Council, including the Mayor, serve four-year terms.

Madera City Council Board Members

  • Santos Garcia, Mayor

  • Cece Gallegos, Councilmember for District 1

  • Jose Rodriguez, Council Member for District 2

  • Steve Montes, Council Member for District 3

  • Anita Evans, Council Member for District 4

  • Vacant, District 5

  • Artemio Villegas, Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for District 6

The Scene

The Madera City Council meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 by Mayor Santos Garcia. The meeting was streamed live virtually through the City of Madera’s website at, the City’s Youtube channel and conference call. The meeting consisted of the six council members, including Mayor Santos Garcia, Councilmembers Cece Gallegos, Jose Rodriguez, Steve Montes, Anita Evans, and Artemio Villegas. Council member Jose Rodriguez joined five minutes after the meeting started. All of the Council Members participated in the meeting at home so they did not wear masks. The invocation was led by Pastor Fred Thurman from the New Life Assembly. Wendy Silva, the HR Director for the City, led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Public Comment

Mayor Garcia said that the first 15 minutes of the meeting are reserved for members of the public to address the Council on items which are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Council. Alicia Gonzales, the City Clerk, read two public comments that were submitted via email. The first from Marlyn read, “I am one of the representatives for the Medicinal Club. I would appreciate that you consider adding two more equity slots for the dispensary permits. Please consider either 8 total (4 equity and 4 normal) or 10 total (4 equity and 6 normal). This is a better opportunity for local business owners to get one of the permits. What we fear is that bigger corporations will get the permits. I would also like to address the planning committee to rezone the City of Madera to make it easier for business owners to revitalize downtown and bring in more business.” The second public comment is from Angelina Garcia, which stated “I would like to comment on the number of equity permits. Please add more equity permits and limit the permits for big corporations. Please give business owners and potential business owners the same opportunity.” 


Mayor Garcia read the Proclamation recognizing June as PRIDE Month. He stated, “The City of Madera is committed to supporting visibility, dignity, equality for LBTQ people in our diverse community. Celebrating pride month influences awareness and provides support and advocacy for Madera’s LGBTQ community. It is an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue to strengthen alliances, build acceptance and advance equal rights.” Velvet, a resident of Madera, thanked Mayor Garcia and the Council members. “On behalf of the LGBTQ community, I am happy to accept this. Since the 1960s we have strived to be recognized. You Mayor by presenting this in the month of Pride month (June), it is especially significant so thank you for that.” As a resident of Madera and a champion for the LGBTQ community who works for Planned Parenthood. “I thank you on behalf of the LGBTQ youth for standing with them.” 

Mayor Garcia also read the proclamation recognizing Madera born Olympic Hall of Famer Lee Edward Evans, who passed away. The Mayor stated, “Lee Edward Evans was born in Madera on February 25th, 1947. He never lost a race during his high school career. Mr. Evans won 5 U.S. 400 titles and 2 olympic gold medals. He was better known by the public at large for protesting the treatment of African Americans. He was a 1991 Nelson Mandela Award Recipient. He also worked coaching national teams in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Cameroon. He passed away on May 19, 2021. It is an honor to honor a fellow Maderan who achieved so much and continued to serve his community.” 


Randy Bell, the Deputy City Engineer, stated “Caltrans is working on a project to rehabilitate SR 145. From the discussions, they are considering adding street elements to the project. The purpose of this workshop is to let Caltrans introduce their project and open it up for discussion.” Eric Karlson, the Project Manager, presented on the project. “We are proposing a road diet in downtown Madera, which includes a pavement rehabilitation project that goes to downtown Madera. Eric stated, “It’s going to cause a change in driving behaviors. You might see travel shifts, such as less traffic on SR 145. Reduce the lanes of SR 145 to 2 and compare the current four lanes and we found there is a 10% change in traffic. We also look at the critical intersections. A few reduced lanes means more traffic on other roads. Due to COVID restrictions, we are not able to count traffic at the intersections. We have pretty good information for annual accounts for SR 145, but we don’t have info for all of Madera. We do all of that to come up with a base model to come up with all of the intersections. We then look at a future model of the growth we expect of all of the locations. This information is given to our Operations Branch and they do the analysis. This is like a crystal ball. It tells us a picture of where the impacts will occur, but we also want to understand the reliability of the project. Once the project is completed, we observe the intersections to see where improvements need to be made. Councilmember Jose Rodriguez asked “Can you expand on how far back the other studies are for the other highways?” Eric said they have information from “the Traffic Volumes Report by Madera County and the Yosemite Avenue Commercial Project.” Councilmember Gallegos asked, “Is this project different from the past talks about revitalizing downtown?” Eric Carlson responded, “This is completely different from the relinquished project. Maybe the City has, but I don’t know if we have been eagerly pursuing it. If this is not a great opportunity for a road diet, now is the time to tell us so that we don’t continue to expend resources on something that is not going to happen.” 

Councilmember Montes asked the Council their thoughts on this proposal and if they preferred a “road diet “, reducing the number of lanes, or a downtown revitalization. Keith Helmuth, the City Engineer, said, “Caltrans is here so they can get a feel from the Council on this project. COVID has made it difficult for Caltrans to do the kind of job they would like to do with vehicular traffic. They don’t have data for the side streets. There are in fact a lot of unknowns. Reducing SR 145 down to two lanes does represent a distribution of traffic. It may not work in five years from now. Backing up would not be cheap.” Arnoldo said, “I think it would be appropriate if we can have copies of the map you just showed so the Council can digest the information. This way we can reach out to the downtown business owners and get feedback. This is the first time some Council Members have heard about this project so we will need time to have better discussion points.” At this point, Mayor Garcia lost connection to the meeting. By the time he came back, the discussion was over. He was updated with what was discussed. He said “That sounds like a perfect plan for Caltrans to provide us with a map so we can provide them with a meaningful response.” 

Consent Calendar

The Council unanimously approved the items on the Consent Calendar. 

  • Minutes – 02/17/21

    • Recommendation: Approve the City Council Minutes of February 17, 2021 

  • Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands for May 8, 2021 to May 21, 2021

    • Recommendation: No Action Required (Report by Roger Sanchez) 

  • Informational Report on Contract City Attorney Service and Litigation Expenditures

    • Recommendation: This report is submitted for informational purposes only and there is no action requested from the City Council (Report by Arnoldo Rodriguez)

  • Appointment to the City’s ADA Advisory Council (MADACC)

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving Councilwoman Evans’ Appointment of Muhammed Latif to the City’s ADA Advisory Council (Report by Wendy Silva)

  • Special Services Agreement with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (LCW)

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Minute Order Approving a Special Services Agreement with LCW for Contract Legal Services (Report by Wendy Silva)

  • Joint Powers Agreement to join Public Risk Innovation, Solutions, and Management (PRISM)

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution 1) Confirming the City of Madera’s desire to join Prism; and 2) Approving the PRISM Joint Powers Agreement; and 3) Appointing the City Manager and Director of Human Resources to act on the City’s behalf in matters related to PRISM (Report by Wendy Silva) 

  • Appointment to the City’s Planning Commission

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving Councilwoman Evans’ Appointment of Balwinder Singh to the City’s Planning Commission (Report by Gary Conte)

  • Surplus Property

    • Recommendation: Approve a Minute Order Declaring Certain Property as Identified on the Surplus Property List to be Surplus Consistent with the City Purchasing Policy (Report by Roger Sanchez)

  • Preparation of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving an Agreement with Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group for Preparation of the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan (Report by Daniel Foss)

  • Project List for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021/22 Funded by Senate Bill (SB1) Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (RMRA) – Local Streets and Roads Funding Program

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Adopting the City Project List for FY 2021/22 Funded by the SB 1 RMRA Account of the Local Streets and Roads Funding Program (Report by Keith Helmuth)

  • Facilities Use Agreement between the City of Madera and Madera County Superintendent of Schools (MCSOS)/Madera County Office of Education (MCOE)

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Minute Order Approving Facilities Use Agreement with MCSOS and MCOE and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute Facilities Use Applications on an ongoing basis between the City and MCSOS/MCOE (Report by Dino Lawson)

Keith Heluth asked to remove agenda item Applications for Transportation Development Act (TDA) – Local Transportation Funds (LTF) and State Transit Assistance (STA) Funds for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021/22 due to a typographical error. 

Public Hearing


Petitions, Bids, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Agreements

Matt Watson, the Fire Chief, presented on the new schedule “A” agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire) from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 for Fire Service Operations. He stated “The City has been in a cooperative agreement with CAL FIRE in 1993. There is a decrease in the cost proposal which is attributed to changes in the Staff Benefit Rates. Retirement contributions were shifted from the employer to the employee. The 2020/21 agreement budget was $5,676,191. The budget agreement for 2021/22 is $5,530,761, which is a decrease. The fire service for the city includes: one command vehicle (a utility and air unit), two type-1 fire engines, one ladder truck, one type-6 fire engine, and 30 total personnel, of which 10 personnel are on duty per day (prior to Station 58 opening, it was 6). Regarding staffing, for 2020/21, this included two Battalion Chiefs, seven fire captains, nine engineers, seven firefighters, 1.5 communications operators (dispaters), and a half of an office assistant. For 2021/22, the agreement would include the same staff, with the addition of three engineers. The additional staffing for Station 56, if approved, would not take place until January 2022. The additional staffing for 56 is proposed to combat the increased fires in the river and overall emergencies within the City.” 

Councilwomen Gallegos asked “For the fire that happened at the gym, were the firefighters paid overtime or did it come from the City, county or the facility?” To this, Chief Watson said the overtime is built into the pay. She then asked “How does the Chief balance his responsibility when he is only working three days a week? This concerns me because I don’t want to reach out to him when he is off.” “He has to be a supervisor seven days a week for his fire captains. The fire captains manage the firehouse and the fire chief manages the fire captains. He’s doing that on his days off via phone, text, email. If there is an immediate need for an emergency, then the county battalion responds to that. If someone gets hurt, then we’ll pull a liaison somewhere from the unit, typically a staff, to take them to the hospital. It’s just a balance between the cooperative fire agreement. If there are new resources needed, we ask and we’ll get help.” She also said “I want to congratulate the community members for passing Measure K for allowing us to create a new station and fire truck. A lot of this comes out of that budget so thank you to everyone who purchases from the City of Madera.” Councilmember Evans said “Thank you all for your service. I stood out there with my own water hose and I’m telling you, it’s a lot.” Councilmember Rodriguez asked “As the senior employees continue to retire, would the budget for the younger employees decrease?” Chief Watson said yes, that that was probably the intention of voters a few years back. He asked “If the firefighters retire, does the pension get paid from the state?” at which Chief Watson said also yes. The Council unanimously voted to approve this item, which Chief Watson thanked “the Council and the citizens of Madera for passing Measure K and allowing for this to happen.” 

The next item discussed was by Roger Sanchez, who reported on the deficits related to the technology fund and facilities maintenance fund. He stated “An internal service fund is a fund used in governmental accounting to track goods or services shifted between departments on a cost reimbursement basis. As of June 30, 2021, the facilities fund has a deficit of $1 million. There is no cash impact to moving the reserves from the General Fund and Various Enterprise Funds to the IT and Facilities Funds. If approved, the audit finding will be cleared. Mark Souders, the Information Service Manager for the City, stated ““We are on track to keep with the status quo to keep up with replacing equipment every 4-6 years with the same budget as we have now.” Arnoldo Rodriguez, the City Manager,  stated “The money that is being asked to move is $1 million from the unassigned funds to the two funds, which will not affect the general funds budget.” Roger Sanchez said that the “pension obligation is what has caused this deficit.” Mayor Garcia asked if “we could move onto the item at hand since Councilmember Rodriguez was asking about the funds regarding water and sewer, when we were originally talking about the IT.” The Council voted 4 to 1 to approve the recommendation to authorize the Director of Financial Services to transfer existing reserves from the general fund and various enterprise funds to the technology fund by $650,000 and $1.1 million to the facilities maintenance fund. Councilmember Rodriguez voted against this item. 

Administrative Reports

Hilda Montoy, the City Attorney, presented on the Redistricting of City Council Districts in California. She stated that “AB 849: Fair Maps Act applies to cities and other entities that elect governing board members by districts. There are specific criteria and deadlines for adjusting new district boundaries. It is mandatory that there be a specific hearing procedure that would allow the public to provide input on the placement of boundaries and on proposed boundary maps. The Council is required to take specified steps to encourage City residents to participate in the redistricting process with extensive outreach requirements. With this legislation, we have to implement this by April 2022, so we have 8 months to make it happen.” City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez said ‘“Tonight is the first discussion, we are asking for the goal to be informative. As we begin the process, this will be a lengthy process. It’s going to require a lot of meetings.” City Attorney Montoy stated “The City Clerk, City Manager and myself are here to assist you. We have already been in dialogue to ensure this process is done in the proper manner. The overriding consideration with respect to redistricting is Population equity, which is the goal. The main thing is that the historical politics (not necessarily in Madera) regarding redistricting procedures locally, statewide, and nationally are not there.” 

“Following each decennial federal census, and using the census as a basis, the Council shall, by ordinance or resolution, adopt boundaries for any or all of the council districts of the City so that the council districts shall be substantially equal in population. The boundaries shall be adopted no later than 151 days before the City’s next regular election occurring after March 1 in each ending in the number two thereafter. This means by April 17, 2022. Effective January 1, 2020, the AB 849 Fair Maps Act became law. This act applies to cities and other entities that elect governing board members by districts. This specifies criteria and deadlines for adjusting new district boundaries. It specifies hearing procedures that would allow the public to provide input on the placement of boundaries and on proposed boundary lines. To the extent practicable, the Council shall adopt district boundaries using the following criteria as set forth in the following order or priority: 1) Council districts shall be geographical contiguous; 2) The geographic integrity of any local neighborhood or local community of interest should be respected and included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation in a manner that minimizes its division. A “community of interest” is a population that shares common social or economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation; 3) Council district boundaries should be easily identifiable and understandable by residents. To the extent practicable, council districts shall be bounded by natural and artificial barriers, by streets, or by the boundaries of the City; 4) Council districts shall be drawn to encourage geographical compartments in a manner that nearby areas of population are not bypassed in favor of more distant populations and were doing so does not conflict with higher-ranked criteria.” She also stated that the requirements for hearings include “provide live translation of a public hearing or workshop if requested. Generally, requests must be made at least 72 hours in advance. Publish the date, time, and location for any public hearing or workshop on the internet at least five days before the hearing or workshop. A calendar listing that includes the time and location of the public hearing or workshop satisfies the notice requirement. Record or prepare a written summary of each public comment and Council deliberation made at every public hearing or workshop and make available to the public within two weeks.” 

She went on to state that for public testimony, “The Council shall allow the public to submit testimony or draft maps in writing and electronically. The City shall either record or prepare a written summary of each public comment and Council deliberation made at every public hearing or workshop held pursuants to this article. The City shall make the recording or written summary available to the public within two weeks after the public hearing or workshop. Live translation is required if requested. Regarding the publication of draft maps, “draft maps must be published on the internet for at least seven dys before being adopted as a final may by the City Council, provide that, if there are fewer than 28 days until the deadline to adopt boundaries, the draft map may instead be published on the internet for at least three days. Each draft must be accompanied by information on the total population, citizen voting age population, and racial and ethnic characteristics of the cistin voting age population of each proposed council district.” Mayor Garcia stated “The people in the room have not been through this process before. It’s very important that we engage the community. As you went through the laundry list of the things we need to get done, it’s important for us to get it done.” City Manager Rodriguez said “We are not taking any action tonight. Thank you Hilda for the overview.” 

Roger Sanchez presented the fiscal year budget, with a focus on expenses related to materials and services and other expenses. He said “We have operating expenses, debt information, and capital outlay. There are increases in costs, of which one of the significant increases is historial liability and property insurance due to the pension obligation. The expenses for 2021/22 is projected for $1.5 million. The other increase in expenses is the pension obligation of the annual payments to CalPERS which is projected to be $4.8 million for the next fiscal year. For the general fund group M&O by department, the total projection is expected to be $5.2 million, which excludes the fire department. The agreement for the fire department partnership totals $6 million, which includes the operational services and agreement services. The enterprise funds expenses are projected to cost the City $10.5 million, which includes water, sewer, drainage, solid waste, air port, golf course, and dial-a-ride. There are pending items of labor costs, which includes wage increases, health insurance, worker’s comp, and PERS (employee portion). The City is projected to pay approximately $5.4 million in debt payments, which includes the principal and interest amount for the general fund, water, sewer, airport, and golf services. The long term liabilities for the City is projected to cost about $117.5 million, which includes the net pension liability, long-term liabilities, and other for governmental funds and business-type funds. The fleet acquisition requests total $1,439,000, which the Council can still review and decide what to approve. There are also other requests from the City, from various funds, that will cost about $267,857. Mayor Garcia asked if Mid-Valley is up for renewal this year or next year. Arnoldo Rodriguez stated that “they are up for renewal at the end of 2022.” None of the other Council Members had questions regarding the budget expenses. 

Councilmember Reports/Announcements/Future Agenda Items

  • Council Member Gallegos: “The Farmers Market will be starting up again this Thursday from now until the end of June.” 

  • Council Member Rodriguez: No report. 

  • Council Member Montes: No report. 

  • Council Member Evans: “Thank you everyone for your work. We will be celebrating the life of Olympic Lee on June 19th.” She also asked if anyone knows of taco trucks, that they can come that day to the library and they will be able to open it up to the public to sell. 

  • Council Member Villegas: No report. 

  • Mayor Garcia: “We had the honor of visiting the memorial and hanging out with the families. It was well put together. I want to thank you all for joining us today and to all the staff for all that you do.”

Closed Session

The Council went to Closed Session at 9 p.m. 


The Council resumed from the closed session at 10:04 p.m. With no further discussion, Mayor Garcia adjourned the City Council meeting at 10:05 p.m.

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