Documenter: Ramiro Merino
Here’s what you need to know
The Council approved the proposed adoption of Resolution No. 21-35, regarding the School Resource Officer Agreement with the Mendota Unified School District. MUSD agrees to fully fund two full-time SROs and fund 75% of the third full-time SRO, with the City covering the remaining 25%.
The proposed fiscal year 2021/22 budget for the City is approximately $4,353,385.
The Council agreed on initiating and designing the new City Hall/Police Department Project, which will cost the City approximately $7.5 million. With a one-time gift of $1 million, the City will look into the new tax-exempt bonds to cover the remaining costs of the project.
The City was awarded $3,822,800 for the Mendota Stormwater Improvement Project pending results of Prop 68: Urban Flood Protection Grant Program, which will be announced in July 2021.
Purpose of Agency
The City of Mendota was incorporated in 1942, and has been a general law city ever since. The City government is headed by the Mendota City Council, which consists of 5 at-large elected council members. The members’ terms are staggered, and are set at four years in length, meaning that two or three council members are elected every other year. The positions of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore are elected amongst the council members by the Council itself.
Mendota City Council Members
Rolando Castro, Mayor
Jesus Mendoza, Mayor Pro Tem
Jose Alonso, Council Member
Joseph Riofrio, Council Member
Oscar Rosales, Council Member
The Mendota City Council meeting was held virtually on Zoom on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Mayor Castro called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. The in-person meeting consisted of the five council members, including Mayor Rolando Castro and City Councilmembers Jesus Mendoza, Jose Alonso, and Joseph Riofrio. Councilmember Oscar Rosales joined about 8 minutes later due to technical difficulties. There were about 13 other people in the Zoom meeting besides myself. A camera was directed at the Councilmembers, where most wore a mask during the meeting.
Citizens’ Oral and Written Presentations
Mayor Castro opened the discussion for citizens’ oral and written presentations, of which there were none.
Approving of Minutes and Notice of Waiving of Reading
The City Council members unanimously approved the following (5-0):
Minutes of the regular City Council meeting of May 25, 2021 and special City Council meeting of June 2, 2021.
Notice of waiving of the reading of all resolutions and/or ordinances introduced and/or adopted under this agenda.
The City Council unanimously approved the items on the agenda (5 to 0).
May 25, 2021 through June 2, 2021
Warrant List Check Nos. 50342 through 50392
Proposed adoption of Resolution No. 21-35, approving the School Resource Officer Agreement with the Mendota Unified School District.
City Manager Christian Gonzalez thanked the Councilmembers for joining the special meeting last week. Finance Officer Nancy Diaz reported on Resolution No. 21-34 regarding the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 operating budget for the City. Diaz reported that the budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 is approximately $4,353,385. Mayor Castro asked for Diaz to clarify the amount for cannabis funds, for which it was unclear on the amount as there were some technical difficulties on my end at this moment. When I rejoined the meeting, Councilmember Oscar Rosales stated he would like to “table this meeting and have the budget broken down. This should have been addressed a long time ago, I really do think we need to get together and table this.” Mayor Castro said “We can ask questions and have them answered right now as much as we can and then determine if a special meeting is determined.” The Mayor then stated “I don’t know why we are dipping into money that we should not be touching. We need to prepare for the future.”
Finance Officer Nancy Diaz also reported on Resolution No. 21-36, regarding conditionally approving the remaining exclusive-use permits for City facilities for 2021. According to the Staff Report, “The Mendota Municipal Code allows to submit an application for the exclusive (reserved) use of City facilities for approval at the first Council Meeting in March. Any applications submitted after this will be secondary to these permits and may be approved by the City Manager. However, with the recent pandemic restrictions, submitted applications have been tabled until the County of Fresno moves into the tier which activity is allowed.” The following events were submitted for approval: Annual Backpack Giveaway, Red Ribbon Trunk & Treat, and the Annual Christmas Parade-Food Court. The Annual Senior Center Thanksgiving Lunch will be omitted from the remaining list of facility use applications since the Mendota Unified School District will be taking back the Community Center facility. The Council unanimously approved this resolution, conditionally approving the remaining exclusive use permits for 2021.
City Manager Chrsitian Gonzalez reported on Resolution No. 21-37, which authorizes staff and consultants to prepare necessary documentation for the issuance of bonds to refund and repay certain outstanding obligations and to finance a new City Hall and Police facilities; and approve financing team members in connection therewith. According to the Staff report submitted by Gonzalez, it read “On October 13, 2005, on behalf of the City of Mendota (the “City”), the Mendota Joint Powers Financing Authority (the “Authority”) issued its Wastewater Revenue Bonds, Series 2005 (Bank Qualified) (the “2005 Bonds”) in an original principal amount of $3,725,000 to finance capital improvements to the City’s wastewater treatment system, refund certain prior bonds and for other costs relating to such bonds. On January 26, 2010, the 2010-1 Certificates of Participation (the “Certificates” and, together with the 2005 Bonds, the “Prior Obligations”) were executed and delivered to the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture in an original principal amount of $2,250,000 pursuant to a trust agreement by and among a trustee thereunder, the Authority and the City to finance additional capital improvements to the wastewater treatment system. With interest rates currently at historic lows, there is a market opportunity for the City to cause the refunding and prepayment of all of the outstanding Prior Obligations, to restructure the debt service to a more level structure, and achieve savings for the City’s wastewater system.” Furthermore, the resolution also calls for initiating the design and planning process for the new City Hall/Police Department Project, where both functions will be housed in the same building. “The Project is expected to cost approximately $7.5 million. Fortunately the City has received a one-time gift of $1 million that is available to reduce the Project’s cost, and the remainder of Project costs may be funded with proceeds from new tax-exempt bonds. Financing the Project costs now through tax exempt bonds will allow the City to take advantage of historically low interest rates, free-up the general fund for other vital needs and minimize the impacts of inflation and ever-increasing construction and material costs.” The Council unanimously approved this resolution.
Department Reports and Informational Items
Nancy Diaz, the Finance Officer for the City, gave an update regarding grants. According to the agenda and the attachments, the following are grants that the City has been applied to and is waiting to hear back from: County of Fresno Urban Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, County of Fresno Urban Community Development Block Grant Program for Eligible Activities to Support Coronavirus and Other Infectious Disease Response, FEMA-4482-DR-CA California Covid-19 Pandemic, Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program (SPP), Wonderful Community Grants, Urban Flood Protection Grant Program, Stormwater Improvement Project, Proposition 64 Public Health and Safety Grant Program, Floodplain Management Services (FPMS), Public Benefit Grant Program, Office of Traffic Safety, and Tire-Derived Product Grant.
Michael Osborn, the City Engineer, provided an update regarding engineering projects, planning/development projects, and the status of grant applications. The current engineering projects include: the Rojas Pierce Park, the Mowry Bridge Replacement Project (MBRP), the Well 10 and Water Main Relocation, the Mendota Meter Reading Project, the Citywide RRXG improvements, the MJHS Safe Routes to School Project, the Safe Routes to School Master Plan, and the 2021 Alley Paving Project. The planning/development projects in the works include: the Salomon Multifamily Project at 755 Marie Street, the Rojas Pierce Park Annexation, the CES Mendota Project, the Axiom/Valley Ag Holdings, the Left Mondta II Project, and the Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
Regarding the grant application for the Mendota Stormwater Improvement Project, $3,822,800 was awarded to the project pending results of Prop 68: Urban Flood Protection Grant Program, which will be announced in July 2021. The City submitted an application for the Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant for funds to prepare the Derrick & Oller Corridor Enhancement Plan to improve the safety and circulation in these major corridors. The City was awarded $10,000 for the REAP grant to develop GIS (geographic information system) mapping for the City.
John Kinsey, the City Attorney, stated “We posted notices on the property we have been talking about. We have been working with the police department and close conduct. We will have a special meeting at the next city council meeting since we cannot discuss it publicly.”
Christian Gonzalez, the City Manager, stated “Something came up and it has to do with the bridge project. Now we are at the point where they have to remove the big materials, but there is nowhere to place them. It is about $15,000 worth of material. They are asking the City to have the materials be placed at their location, perhaps for three years. They are hoping they can find a new home in about a year.” The Mayor said he is worried about liability first and foremost. It was agreed that the City will reach out to the company and “work it out”. Gonzalez also reported “someone drove over the basketball court and left tire marks.” Councilemmember Oscar Rosales asked “When will cameras be installed because that is not cool that you guys barely installed the court and someone is already doing this.” Gonzalez said they have cameras installed already and that they will take a look and see if they can identify the perpetrators. Gonzalez also stated that “If everything goes well, Little Caesars will open the 19th of this month.”
Mayor and Council Reports and Informational Items
Councilmember Rosales – “Whatever we decide here in council, it is making the community move forward. I would rather you explain things to me rather than have doubts so thank you for your patience.”
Councilmember Jose Alonso – No report.
Councilmember Jesus Mendoza – “Thank you to the staff of PD. I know you work hard in keeping our community safe.”
Councilmember Joseph Riofrio – No report.
Mayor Rolando Castro: “I attended an event and there was state legislature representation and I brought up water to them. I will be meeting with Fresno EOC tomorrow for 3 different programs that will be starting soon in Mendota.” He then asked Chief Kevin Smith if “we can work on creating flyers for the illegal fireworks. It will be anonymous, just send us your neighbor’s address and no one will know it was you.” Chief Smith said he will reach out to the Fire Department Chief. Mayor Castor ended his report stating that got reelected to the Fresno Transportation Committee. We will now have representation for Mendota.”
With no further discussion, Mayor Castro adjourned the City Council meeting at 8:02 p.m.