Documenter: Ramiro Merino

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Council voted to approve the purchase of a new fire engine for about $774,907, using $200,000 from the Fire Engine Replacement Program. 

  • The Council voted to approve the ordinance amending the City’s Municipal Code relating to cannabis where cannabis will be allowed to cultivate and sell in the industrial zone districts. 

  • The Madera County Department of Public Health reported that covid cases in the county are currently at a plateau. 

  • Residents expressed views on the redrawing of the district boundaries — stating that they do not want a significant change in the redrawing.

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, November 3, 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 in the Council Chambers. The invocation was led by Sammie Neely from Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. 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. 

Petitions, Bids, Resolution, Ordinances, and Agreements 

  • Purchase of Rosenbauer Type-1 Custom Fire Engine and Related Budget Amendment 

Fire Chief Matt Watson said “The city has been attempting to make improvements to its fire houses and equipment. This includes the new station 58, including the ladder truck 58, parking lot rehabs at Stations 56 and 57, and a purchase of a home on 4th Street. The City maintains a fleet of engines. The most recent engine was purchased in 2018. Staff has identified the need to replace a 1990 fire engine. Engine 57 from Station 57 is from 2008. We are talking about Engine 257 from 1990, which will be replaced.” 

“The city needs a new engine because it has had 2 years of service. Based on its age, it has become less reliable. The replacement parts are becoming scarce or hard to locate. The base price for the engine is $774,907. The City created a Fire Engine Replacement Program in FY 2019/20 using Measure K revenue. $200K is assigned annually from Measure K. Fully equipped engines cost approximately $1 million. The purchase will be this year and the equipment will arrive next year.” City Manager Arnoldo Rodriquez said “Thank you to everyone who worked hard in the Replacement Program. Our plan was to save about $200K every 5 years so that we can replace the engines.” Councilmember Jose Rodriquez asked if there are financing options for this, to which Chef Watson said there isn’t one available. The City will save $23K if they can prepay for the cost of the engine. 

  • Second Reading and Adoption of an Ordinance Amending the City’s Municipal Code Relating to the Approval Authority of Vertically Integrated, Cultivation, Distribution, Manufacturing, and/or Test Labs

City Manager Arnolodo Rodriguez read the second reading for this item. The Council approved the item. 

  • Adoption of a Negative Declaration and Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance Amending the City’s Municipal Code Relating to Cannabis 

“Cannabis businesses must be 600 feet from any sensitive use such as schools, parks, and day care centers (not day care homes). The Council deemed the following locations exempt from requirement: downtown Madera, the Fresno River, parks including Rotary Park, Courthouse Park, Well Center, and Frank Bergon Park, the Library, fairgrounds, and the golf course. Councilmember Gallegos stated she will be voting in favor of the resolution. Councilmember Rodriguez said he is not ready to vote in favor of the amendment. Councilmember Montes stated he wants to do the same for all parks. Mayor Garcia said he approves the amendment, “We can use the industrial area for cannabis cultivation.” Councilmember Gallegos also stated she “hopes the Council holds true to using the tax dollars of the cannabis industry to allocate into repairing parks.” The Council voted and approved this item. 

  • Prezone of Links Ranch Tentative Subdivision Map 2021-02 (TSM 2021-02) and Precise Plan 2021-04 (PPL2021-04) and Adoption of Mitigated Negative Declaration/Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (ENV 2021-31) (Second Reading)

“CAPER is the annual Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Requirement Progress Report from the previous year Action Plan. This requires citizen participation and staff published a hearing notice inviting written comments and inviting the public to this public hearing. The report provides HUD with data regarding the individuals served, the activities performed and what outcomes were achieved. Some major accomplishments include:

  • Community Action Partnership of Madera County – Fresno/Madera Continuum of Care

    • 2019: 2,069 / 2020: 2,681. There was an increase of 612 homeless persons and a 29.6% increase. 

    • 138 households and 26 businesses received rental assistance. 

  • Supported Parks’ suite of senior and Meals on Wheels programs where 460 unduplicated individuals were served once.

  • Madera Coalition for Community Justice 

    • A total of 35 young people were served. 

  • Doors of Hope Pregnancy Care Center sered 202 clients.  

  • Pequenos Empresarios

    • During this year, 7 children tested higher on objectives compared to when they entered the program. 

    • The children were introduced to life enhancing skills encompassing nutrition, budgeting, manners and banking. 

  • Madera Rescue Mission

    • 100 unduplicated individuals were provided shler and meals. 

  • Habitat for Humanity

    • Assisted 20 household rehabilitation projects. 

Councilmember Gallegos asked if pictures can be added to the City website since “pictures help tell the story of the impact.” 


Sara Bosse, the Public Health Director for the Department of Public Health, provided an update. She said “In the last couple of weeks, we have seen ages 30 – 39 be the group who are most vaccinated. There has also been an Increase in case rate in children aged 5 to 17, but not as high as the previous group. When taken as a whole, it has plateaued. One side effect that has raised more alarms is myocarditis. The CDC has noted that the chances of developing myocarditis is really low. Parents, research has shown that you are more likely to develop myocarditis if you get covid and were not vaccinated as opposed to being vaccinated the first time. 


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 all 8 items on the consent calendar. 

  • (1) Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands for October 9, 2021 to October 22, 2021

  • (2) Ratification of COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) Amendments

  • (3) Amendments to Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)

  • (4) Waiving of fees for the Downtown Madera Christmas Parade

  • (5) Agreement for Tree Management and Maintenance Services

  • (6) Request for Connection to the City’s Water System 

  • (7) Request for Connection to the City’s Sewer System

  • (8) Engineering and Construction Management Services for the Avenue 13 Interceptor Sewer Rehabilitation

Public Hearing

  • Public Hearing #2 to Receive Input from the Community Regarding the Redrawing of Council District Boundaries

City Clerk Alicia Gonzlaez presented the second hearing for the redrawing of the council district boundaries. “The Federal Law requires that there be an equal population, that the Federal Voting Rights Act be followed, and that no racial gerrymandering take place. The California criteria for cities is that the boundaries are geographically contiguous, that there is the geographic integrity of a local neighborhood (communities of interest). Is easily identifiable and understandable, and is geographically compact. The other traditional principles include to minimize voters shifted to a different election year, to respect voters’ choices and continuity in the office, impact future population growth, and to preserve the core of the existing districts. Important considerations include the physical boundaries, such as natural or artificial barriers, roadways, rivers, railways, parks, schools, and other landmarks. The findings show that the total deviation is above the 10% where the acceptable range is at 31.9%. All six districts are either at or above minority/majority population levels when considering the Hispanic CVAP against the total CVAP. 

  • Timeline and Next Steps 

    • December 29, 2021: Publish draft map(s) on City website

    • January 5, 2022: 3rd Public Hearing / Consideration and input on proposed draft maps 

    • January 16, 2022: 2nd Community Workshop at Pan Am Community Center 1:30 p.m.

    • February 2, 2022: 4th Public Hearing Council to introduce ordinance approval final maps.

    • April 17, 2022: City deadline to adopt ordinance after the 2nd reading (effective immediately) and to submit a map to register or visitors. 

Councilmember Gallegos asked if residents who do not have access to technology can be provided with the map kit. A resident commented “I am concerned. He made it about race, that we need to redraw the district lines. He came with representatives and a powerpoint. Technically, the white people are the minorities. Imagine someone came to you with a presentation about redistricting to benefit white people?” With no further comments, the public hearing was closed. 

Administration Reports

  • E-1 Direction on Remote City Council Meetings Under New Brown Act Requirements (AB 361)

City Attorney Hilda Montoy said “It is not a legal requirement to bring this up every 30 days, but the Council has the option to bring it up.” Councilmember Rodriguez said he would like for this item to be brought up before the Council every 30 days in case there is a rise in covid cases again like last year. Mayor Garcia stated he would like for the Council to continue meeting in the Chambers, with the meeting being opened to the public and staff through Zoom. The other council members said they would like to continue meeting as is, giving the City Manager discretion in bringing up this agenda item every 30 days before Council. 

Councilmember Reports/Announcements/Future Agenda Items

  • Council Member Gallegos: “I want to do a shoutout to our community. Between Tuesday and Sunday, we had 22 events. Thank you to everyone for staying safe. I think it was a healthy way for everyone to feel like we are moving to some state of normalcy.” 

  • Council Member Rodriguez: “I want to thank Ms. Elsa Mejia for running for elections, it is not easy.”

  • Council Member Montes: “I want to thank the fellow Council members and staff. I also want to thank the two candidates for running for office, it is not easy. You both engaged the community and got more people involved.” 

  • Council Member Evans: “I want to thank everyone, it is nice seeing everyone in person. Thank you to both candidates for running and congratulations Ms. Mejia. I will be providing lunch to six youths on Wednesday for my event, Lunch with the Councilwoman.”

  • Council Member Villegas: “I saw many children out during trick or treating. I hope we can continue to be healthy.”

  • Mayor Garcia: “I participated in two events that I am proud of. There was a Dia de los Muertos event, where I was a sponsor for the event. They had excellent tamales. The other event was for the Madera Police Department.”

Closed Session

The Council went to Closed Session at 8:15 p.m. 


The Council resumed from the closed session at 9:20 p.m. With no further discussion, Mayor Garcia adjourned the City Council meeting at 9:20 p.m. 
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