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Mendota is considering charging landlords renting out single-family homes a $188 business fee. Similar fees exist already for business properties and apartment complexes. A public hearing on this is scheduled for Aug. 24.
The city is taking applications for a program to assist Mendota residents with their broadband internet account by paying the vendor directly. Finance Director Nancy Diaz shared that a challenge has cropped up: applicants need to be a U.S. citizen or have legal immigration status because that is a funding requirement enforced by federal agencies.
The nonprofit arm of the city, the Mendota Community Corporation, has raised $7,000 in sponsorships so far for their first ever golf tournament scheduled for Aug. 21.
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
Michael Osburn, City Engineer
Nancy Diaz, Finance Director
Kevin Smith, chief of police
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 6:06 p.m. and then the council recited the Pledge of Allegiance. An invocation followed that included a prayer.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims to thank the officers of the Mendota Police Department for their assistance during the Creek Fires. She said that more than 800 structures burned but ws thankful that no lives were lost in the fires. “Talk about relationships. This doesn’t happen at the spur of the moment where it just goes right. We need to have a good relationship and we have that with the City of Mendota,” Mims said. The sheriff presented a plaque of appreciation to the Mendota Police Department.
Mendota resident Sandra Hernandez approached the council with a complaint about city code enforcement of her yard and dogs on her property. Hernandez said she felt harassed by the repeated visits, tickets, and confiscation of items including her children’s bikes, a BBQ pit, and a shed. “Everytime time officers come they say, ‘Your name comes up at every meeting’,” said Hernandez. She said she has not been able to recover her items because of the high fees. City Manager Cristian Gonzalez said he would look into the matter and Hernandez thanked the council.
The following were considered to be routine by the council and voted on in one vote with no discussion.
The July 27, 2021 city council minutes were approved unanimously.
The board voted unanimously to approve the following consent items:
Payments totaling $238,831.29 for warrant check numbers 50584 through 50634, dated July 21, 2021 through August 4, 2021.
Updated the authorized signers with the city’s bank, United Security Bank. The council approved the removal of a recently retired employee and the addition of Jennifer Lekumberry, director of administrative services.
Similarly, the council approved adding Lekumberry as an authorized signer for the city’s credit card with Westamerica Bank.
The motion to approve the Consent Agenda was made by Council Member Joseph R. Riofrio and seconded by Council Member Jose Alonso.
One item from the Consent Agenda was brought up for discussion by Alonso: the proposed adoption of Resolution No. 21-64, which would put in place new benefits for the city’s management staff. This item was discussed in a previous closed session. Alonso wanted details on what was finalized. The council voted to bring the item back for discussion in a closed session at a future meeting.
The council considered implementing new water conservation measures in response to the ongoing drought conditions. City Manager Gonzalez presented information on potential practices, such as setting times for irrigation and car washing, and regulating ornamental water fixtures. The mayor mentioned that the city had such codes in the past and that enforcement took a lot of vigilance. No members of the public offered comments. The council decided not to pass any new regulations and instead “keep what already exists on the books and educate the public” on water conservation, said the mayor.
The city council approved a business license fee for landlords of single family homes. The Mendota Municipal Code already has similar fees for lessors of business properties and apartments. This would add structures such as houses, townhouses, mobile homes, and other dwellings meant for one family occupancy. The fee is $188 for the first structure and $52 for each additional one. During public comment, Joseph Amador, who identified himself as a local business owner and landlord, said he supports the fee but hopes there is not backlash. “Hiking fees on landlords — be careful this doesn’t come back to bite us.” The council discussed the potential to pass on the fee cost to tenants. Alonso motioned to pass the fee, Rosales seconded and Riofrio abstained. The council scheduled additional public hearing time for the Aug. 24 city council meeting before taking a vote.
REPORTS & INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
Finance Director Nancy Diaz informed the council that the Mendota Internet Connectivity Project has opened to applications. The program has more than $60,000 to assist Mendota residents with their broadband account by paying the vendor directly. California State University, Fresno’s Office of Community and Economic Development will help with the intake of applications. Funds for the project need to be disbursed by November 2021. Diaz shared that a challenge is that applicants need to be a U.S. citizen or have legal immigration status because that is a funding requirement enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Mendota will send out a flyer in September’s utility billing to promote the program.
City Engineer Michael Osburn said the Mowry Bridge Replacement Project will be complete by the end of August. A ribbon cutting will be planned.
City Manager Gonzalez shared that residents have complained about the asphalt in the skate park as it doesn’t allow for skaters to gain momentum. He said the city will look into relocating ramps until repaving can happen. The city manager also shared that about 200 dogs were vaccinated at a recent public clinic.
City Clerk Celeste Cabrera-Garcia is coordinating Mendota’s first ever golf tournament, a fundraiser for the Mendota Community Corporation. This nonprofit arm of the city was started in 2015 to raise money for community events, scholarships for local students, and food giveaways during the holidays.Sponsors have pledged approximately $7,000 toward the event. Those interested in sponsoring or playing in the event can contact the city clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 655-4298. The golf tournament is Aug. 21 in Chowchilla.
The public portion of the meeting was closed at 7:39 p.m. and moved to Closed Session where the council were to discuss existing litigation: Cruz v. City of Mendota, et al., Fresno County Superior Court, Case No. 21CECG01185.
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