Documenter: Olivia Muñoz

Here’s what you need to know

  • A new officer, Anthony Aguilar, was sworn in to the Mendota Police Department. 

  • The city repaired a flooding water pipe. The Rojas-Pierce Park Expansion Project will move forward with the expansion of lighting and a concession stand.

  • The council tabled the discussion and voting on an item related to municipal employee union matters. A special meeting was scheduled for July 15, 2021 at 5 p.m. An item brought up by a member of the public requesting a letter in support of immigration reform was added to this special meeting. 



Mayor Rolando Castro

Mayor Pro Tempore Jesus Mendoza

Council Member Jose Alonso

Council Member Joseph R. Riofrio

Council Member Oscar Rosales


Cristian Gonzalez, City Manager

Celeste Cabrera-Garcia, City Clerk

Jennifer Lekumberry, Director of Administrative Services

John Kinsey, City Attorney 

City Engineer Michael Osburn

The Scene

The meeting was held in person at the council chambers at 643 Quince Street in Mendota and virtually on Zoom. The meeting was brought to order at 6:05 p.m. and then the council recited the Pledge of Allegiance. An invocation followed that included a prayer by local pastor, Arturo Montejano.

A new Mendota police officer, Anthony Aguilar, was sworn in. Chief of Police Kevin Smith gave a personal anecdote about knowing Aguilar since the new officer was a child. Aguilar was sworn in by City Clerk Celeste Cabrera-Garcia, followed by photo-taking with family, other officers, the council, and a prayer. Each member of the council congratulated the new officer, gave reflections on public safety, on how Mendota is a tight-knit community, and some jokes and stories. 

Public Comment

Manual Cunha with the Nisei Farmers League asked the council for letters to senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla in support of the legalization of immigrants. The mayor agreed with Cunha’s sentiment and various council members shared personal immigration stories about their families. The council wanted to vote on whether to write the letter but had to hold that over to another meeting to follow proper public notice laws. City Attorney John Kinsey gave guidance.

Community member Jonathan R. Leiva asked when the council chambers would be reopening to the public. Staff said that was being evaluated and that they were taking “baby steps” to fully reopen. 

Consent items

The following were considered to be routine by the council and voted on in one vote with no discussion. 

Minutes of the June 22, 2021, meeting of the city council were approved unanimously. 

The board voted unanimously to approve the following:

  • Payments totaling $802,826.86 for warrant check numbers 50444 through 50521, dated June 16, 2021 through July 6, 2021.

  • Application for the State & Federal Surplus Property Program.

  • Authorization allowing Fresno County to submit a regional grant application to CalRecycle for the Oil Payment Program.

  • Claims for local transportation funds for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. 

  • Adoption of a Debt Management Policy. 

  • Approval of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Mendota and Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, on behalf of the Mendota Police Officers Association.

  • Revision of the Management Benefit Resolution.

  • An agreement with RRM Design Group for serves needed by the City and Police departments. 

  • Agree to a proposal from Haaker Equipment Company for a sewer combination unit truck.

One item on the Consent Agenda was identified for discussion: Number 8 on the agenda or Proposed adoption of Resolution No. 21-49, which was the approval of a MOU between the City of Mendota and Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, on behalf of the Mendota Police Officers Association. Councilman Alonso said he thought it would be beneficial to have more time to review. Rosales motioned to approve and Riofrio seconded. All council members Yes except for Alonso who voted No. ]

Another item on the Consent Agenda was tabled in a unanimous vote: Number 7 on the agenda or Resolution No. 21-48, approving the MOU between the City of Mendota and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2703 Mendota Chapter. Council wanted more time to review the MOU. A special meeting was scheduled for July 15, 2021.


Voting Delegates for the California Cities Annual Business Meeting 

The council voted unanimously to send Mayor Castro, Mayor Pro Tempore Jesus Mendoza and Council Member Alonso to Sacramento for the California Cities Annual Business Meeting. The mayor will serve as the voting delegate and Mendoza and Alonso are alternates. No one from the public had comments. Rosales motioned to approve and Riofrio seconded. 

Rojas-Pierce Park

The council voted unanimously to approve spending current Program Income Funds for the development of the Rojas-Pierce Park Expansion Project. The city held a public hearing on the issue on June 14, 2021, and the available money will fund lights, a concession stand, and other updates, said Finance Officer Nancy Diaz. The park project had been on hold because the council couldn’t approve the spending previously since part of the park technically fell outside of the city limits, Diaz said. However, Mendota is annexing that part to move forward with park work. No one from the public had comments. Rosales motioned to approve and Riofrio seconded. 


Finance Officer Diaz said she planned to apply for grants for future community recreation activities. 

City Engineer Michael Osburn reported that a water pipe was recently repaired through an urban flooding protection grant program, fixing flooding that occurs on Naples between 9th and 10th streets. 

Council announced that the city will continue with an intern program with the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission. Mendota will host four interns completing one thousand hours learning local government practices and will be joining upcoming city council meetings. 

Staff announced a few new businesses opening in Mendota in August 2021: a car wash and a Little Caesars pizza shop.

Closed Session 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m. and moved to Closed Session where the council were to discuss the following: 

  • Conference with labor negotiators regarding unpresented management employees. City Manager Cristian Gonzalez was to represent the City. 

  • Conference with legal counsel on one potential case of anticipated litigation.

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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