Documenter: Ramiro Merino

Here’s what you need to know

  • The City Council proclaims June 16, 2021 as Juneteenth Day, which was also recognized as a federal holiday by President Biden earlier this week. 

  • The Council approved to allocate a total of $402,643 from the CDBG COVID-19 Round 3 funding to two organizations focused on rent/mortgage assistance, food assistance, utility billing assistance, and small business assistance

  • The Council approved allocation of a total of $1,312,191 from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan funding to 12 organizations that serve low to moderate income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, and/or meet a need in having a particular urgency. 

  • The Council approved the zoning ordinance update that would allow for the retail sale (as in stores) of cannabis products in the C-1 and C-2 zone districts, which would increase the revenue from the cannabis business. 

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 16, 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. 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. There were no public comments. 


Mayor Garcia read the Proclamation recognizing Juneteenth Day. He stated “African Americans enslaved in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln. It is recognized as the oldest celebration in recognising the end of slavery in the United States. This not only commemorates African American freedom, but it emphasizes education, self improvement and the achievement of the African American community.” He invited the community to celebrate the federal holiday this Saturday, June 19, 2021 at the Courthouse Park.


City Engineer Keith Helmuth reported on the Street Cross Sections. He stated “The Council approved in concept the new cross sections in a June 2015 council meeting. No member from that council is on this current council. The current standards have been in place since April 2005. The vision and general plan objectives of the program include: walkable and bikeable city, transit oriented, aesthetically pleasing streets, and maintaining existing and future vehicle capacity. The approved changes resulted in a complete street or close to it. A complete street is designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street. The approved standards include dedicated bike lanes, improved pedestrian amenities, wider sidewalk, wider arterial island, and wider collector media lane. For aesthetic purposes, wider strip walks are considered. Future considerations include transit turnouts, intersection details (pedestrian refuge itself), wheelchair ramps, ability to make u-turns where needed, and arterial intersection lane needs (dual left turn lanes, right turn lanes). City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez said “Since this is a presentation and a very technical project, we can come back at a future meeting to discuss the project. We all want more lush landscaping, wider sidewalks, but it will cost the developer and property owners.” Councilmember asked what the timeline for this project looks like. Arnoldo Rodriguez said “The sooner the better, we are being aggressive with the study.” Several council members expressed needing more time to process the information and have the proposal be presented at a future council meeting. 

Consent Calendar

The Council unanimously approved the first four items on the consent calendar. Councilmember Gallegos asked to remove the last item, Reimbursement Agreement with Full Throttle Suspension for Storm Drain Public Improvements (Site Plan Review No. 2019-05), to the next City Council meeting.  

  • Minutes – 02/17/21

  • Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands for May 22, 2021 to June 4, 2021

  • Informational Report on Personnel Activity

  • Side Letter Agreements Regarding the City’s Contribution to Health Insurance

Public Hearings

City Manager Arnolodo Rodriquez introduced Alex Estrada, the Interim Program Manager, who is working on grants for the City as there is a need. 

  • Public Hearing to Approve the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID-19 Round 3 Funding Allocation and Approve Subrecipient Agreements Recommendation: Conduct the public hearing to receive final public input and 1) Adopt a Resolution Approving a 2020/21 CDBG Subrecipient Agreement for Services ($122,322) with Community Action Partnership of Madera County, Inc. 2) Adopt a Resolution Approving a 2020/21 CDBG Subrecipient Agreement for Services ($280,321) with Madera Coalition for Community Justice

    • Ivette Iraheta, the Grant Administrator, stated that “The City received notification from HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on September 11, 2020, that it was eligible to receive $402,643 for the CDBG COVID-19 Round 3 funds. During the Council meeting on May 6, 2020, the Council identified the top priorities to allocate these funds too: rent/mortgage assistance, food assistance, utility billing assistance, and small business assistance. The Council approved to allocate $280,321 to the Madera Coalition for Community Justice – Madera Eviction and Utility Shutoff Prevention and Rental Assistance and Utility Shuttoff Prevention. They also approved to allocate $122,322 to the CAPMC – Housing Stabilization Program Rental Assistance and Utility Shuttoff Prevention.” This allocation will not impact the General Fund. Mayor Garcia opened the meeting for a public hearing, at which there was no one from the public that commented on this topic. 

  • Public Hearing on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2021-2022 Action Plan Funding Allocation 

    • Ivette Iraheta thanked the staff for all of their work. “On May 13, 2021, the City received notification from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that it was eligible to receive an allocation for the CDBG 2021-2020 Action Plan funds, in the amount of $949,042. There are also unidentified funds from the previous year of $363,150 that can also be used. The City has a total of $1,312,191 to allocate to organizations that are committed to serving low and moderate income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or meet a need having a particular urgency (referred to as urgent need).” Iraheta also stated that “Through community surveys and outreach, the City has identified the following primary and second-tier priorities: primary – quality housing (rent affordability and rental assistance) and homelessesness (supportive services and prevention); second tier – neighbrohood reviliation (infrastructure improvements) and street/roads/lighting and community centers/parks. 

    • “In the Spring of 2021, City staff released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) inviting eligible and interested entities to submit applications for CDBG 2021-2022 funds. There were a total of 15 applications received. The BGC convened a meeting on June 7, 2021 to review applications, listen to presentations made by the interested entities, and to deliberate over the merits of each applicant due to receive CDBG funding. Their primary objective was to derive a consensus on funding distributions, to make such recommendations to Council.”

      • BGC Recommended Administration total allocations: $189,808

        1. City; Action Plan Administration: $169,808

        2. CAMPMC – Fresno Madera Continuum of Care: $20,000

      • BCG Recommended Public Service total allocations: $142,356

        1. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California: $5,000

        2. Doors of Hope Pregnancy Care Center – Building Better Parents: $5,000

        3. Madera Coalition for Community Justice – Madera Youth Leaders Street Art Project: $0

        4. Madera Rescue Mission- Homeless Services Program: $20,356

        5. O.L.I.V.E. Charitable Organization – O.L.I.V.E. Safe House: $39,000

        6. Pequeños Empresarios Inc. – Virtual Program: $0

        7. Madera Coalition for Community Justice – Madera Rental: $38,000

        8. City of Madera, Parks & Community Services – Madera Senior Nutrition & Recreation Programs: $35,000

      • BCG Recommended Capital Projects/Public Improvements total allocations: $980,027

        1. James Mekalian- James Mekalian DBA La Madera Accessible Living Studios: $60,000

        2. CAPMC- CDBG 2021-2022 Housing Stabilization Program: $345,027

        3. Habitat for Humanity Greater Fresno Area – City of Madera Exterior Paint Grant Program: $75,000

        4. City; Parks & Community Services – McNally Park Rehabilitation: $0

        5. City; Public Works Department: $500,000

    • During the public hearing, a representative from Habitat for Humanity stated “We serve Fresno county too. The program will include bedroom remediation and exterior wall renovation. We serve low-income homeowners. This program is all encompassing and provides the first safeguard element to the houses. We help revitalize houses in Madera.” Councilmember Jose Rodriguez asked why the other two organizations under the public service category, Madera Coalition for Community Justice and Pequenos Empresearios, were not allocated funds. Ivette Iraheta stated that “The applications were scored based on a rubric. Pequenos Empresarios scored very low, they did not have a budget and lacked the narrative section. The Madera Coalition did not address tiers 1 or 2 of the requirements.” The Councilmembers discussed taking some of the recommended funds made by the Budget Grant Committee and allocating them to the organizations that were not provided with any funds to be fair. However, some Councilmembers also opposed this and said that “You can say that for a lot of these organizations, they all do work to help the community. The point of the commissioners is to review the applications, I believe the commissioners take this very seriously. They have seen what we had in the past. I appreciate their input. My vote is to leave the allocations as is.” After discussing alternative allocations, the Council voted: 

      • Administrative applications: leave allocations as is, 6 yes, 0 no;

      • Public Service applications: leave allocations as is, 5 yes, 1 no (with Mayor Santos Garcia voting no);

      • Capital Projects/Public Improvements applications: leave allocations as is, 5 yeses, 1 noes (with Councilmember Anita Evans voting no). 

    • Ivette Iraheda thanked the Council for approving the recommended allocations. Mayor Garcia thanked the CDBG Committee for all of their hard work in reviewing and interviewing the applicants. 

  • Public Hearing for Second Reading Adoption of Two Ordinances Relating to Cannabis to the Municipal Code Recommendation: Conduct a public hearing and waive the full reading of two ordinances amending the Madera Municipal Code as follows: 1) A Zoning Ordinance Amending Sections §10-3.802 (Light Industrial), §10-3.902 (Heavy Commercial), §10-3.1002 (Industrial zones), and §10-3.11.503 (Industrial Park Zones) of the Zoning Ordinance 2) A Regulatory Ordinance Adding Chapter 5 to Title VI of the Madera Municipal Code Relating to Cannabis Businesses; Repealing Section §4-15 (Medical Marijuana and Cultivation; Chapter 15 to Title IV: Public Welfare); and Adding Section §6-1.95 (Cannabis; Chapter 1 to Title VI: Businesses, Professions, and Trades) 

    • “The zoning ordinance update would allow for the retail sale (stores) of cannabis products in the C-1 and C-2 zone district by right. This would not permit cultivation in the Commercial District. New buildings would still be subject to City regulations. A use permit would not be required. This would allow cannabis activity in the I and IP Zone Districts: industrial and industrial park.” 

    • As there was no public comment, the Council voted 5 yeses, 0 noes. 

Petitions, Bids, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Agreements

  • Memorandums of Understanding with the Madera Police Officers’ Association (MPOA) and Law Enforcement Mid Management (LEMM) Recommendation: Adopt a Minute Order Approving

    • The staff report states “ The major components of the proposed four (4) year agreements are a two percent (2%) cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in each year of the agreement, a lump sum payment to each employee of $1,500 each year of the agreement, and the City’s contribution to health will be set to the Core Anthem and Core Kaiser plans.” The Council voted 6 yeses, 0 noes. 

  • Lease Agreement with Pistoresi Ambulance Paramedics for Space at Fire Station 57 Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving a Six-Month Lease Agreement with Pistoresi Ambulance Paramedics beginning on June 16, 2021, in the amount of $2040 per month 

    • “Pistoresi, a private ambulance company, and the City have enjoyed a long-term partnership serving the City’s citizens. In addition to the City, PAP serves the City of Chowchilla and a portion of the County, primarily the Valley floor, while Sierra Ambulance serves the foothill communities. As part of this partnership, the City has allowed PAP to house an ambulance at Fire Station 57 since 1982. This arrangement has served PAP and the residents well, allowing PAP to deploy personnel rapidly. In addition to being stationed at Station 57, PAP also houses an ambulance at Madera County Station 1 located on Tozer Road (i.e., Road 28) and prior 2021 at Chowchilla City Fire Station 1. The lease agreement is expected to generate $13,260 in revenue should PAP remain for the duration of the agreement. Should PAP vacate before the end of the agreement, this would decrease. From these funds, a portion will be used for utilities and maintenance costs. Any remaining funds will be used to make improvements at the station.” Councilmembers discussed the partnership the City has had with Pistoresi and expressed allowing for the lease agreement while the private ambulance company looked for a more permanent site. The Council voted 4 yeses, 2 noes (Mayor Garcia and Councilmember ArtemioVillegas voted noes). 

  • Consideration of Demographer Consulting Services for the 2020 Census Redistricting Process Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving an Agreement with Best Best & Krieger LLP (BB&K) to perform consulting services for the 2020 Census Redistricting Process and Approving Amendment to the General Fund Fiscal Year 2020/2021 Budget for a Line Item Increase of $50,000 within the Contract for Legal Services Account 

    • City Clerk Alicia Gonzlez stated “Every 10 years after the U.S.census, state law requires the City Council to examine and, if necessary, adjust the district boundaries. The redistricting process is important in ensuring each city council member represents the same number of constituents.” The recommendation is for the Council to adopt the resolution approving an agreement with Best Best & Krieger LLP to perform coluntiling services for the 2020 Census Redistricting Process. The Council voted 6 yeses, 0 noes. 

Councilmember Reports/Announcements/Future Agenda Items

  • Council Member Gallegos: “I appreciate the time staff put in, we were behind. I just got a notice that we can look into. The Madera district fair means a lot to us. We have food banks there, and lots of events. This is not the best interest for our community. We also look forward to seeing you all in person at our next council meeting.”

  • Council Member Rodriguez: No report. 

  • Council Member Montes: “The Rescue Mission showed off their new housing project they have going on. I met one of our new planners. Thank you Rescue Mission and the county for hosting this. This is for the homeless.”

  • Council Member Evans: “I want to give a special shoutout to Chief Watson. I also want to thank the staff for producing and promoting the Juneteenth event. We changed the event time to 9 o’clock. The family of Lee Evans will be there. Please, I would like to see you all there. It’s the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

  • Council Member Villegas: No report. 

  • Mayor Garcia: “Thank you very much everyone. Thank you all for attending. Try to stay cool and hydrated.”

Closed Session

The Council went to Closed Session at 9:28 p.m. 


The Council resumed from the closed session at 9:53 p.m. With no further discussion, Mayor Garcia adjourned the City Council meeting at 9:53 p.m. 

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