Documenter: Josef Sibala

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Regarding COVID, the Department of Public Health is expanding its ability to provide monoclonal antibody treatment, accessible to anyone regardless of insurance status.

  • Financial Services Manager Anthony Forestiere attributed the increase in sales tax revenue in the current fiscal year to online sales and the unemployment rate drop. 

  • Ultimately, the motion to approve item D-1, which determines the number and type of cannabis business permits that may be issued in the City, failed with (3-2) votes. City Attorney Hilda Cantu Montoy reiterated that four votes are needed to pass an ordinance or a resolution under state law.

The Scene

According to its website, the Madera City Council, a board of seven, is the elected legislative body of the City of Madera. There are six council districts. The district elects members of the City Council and the Mayor at large. Members of the City Council, including the Mayor, serve four-year terms.

The meeting was in-person on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, at 6 pm, yet accessible via YouTube. Mayor Garcia was absent. 

Officials Present:

  • Mayor Pro Tem Artemio Villegas, District 6

  • Councilmember Cece Gallegos, District 1

  • Councilmember Jose Rodriguez, District 2

  • Councilmember Anita Evans, District 4

  • Vacant, District 5

Officials Absent:

  • Councilmember Steve Montes, District 3

Others Present:

  • City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez, City Clerk Alicia Gonzales, City Attorney Hilda Cantu Montoy, and Public Health Director Sara Bosse, Rico Saldivar, George De Leja, Roman Gonzales, Financial Services Manager Anthony Forestiere, Director of Human Resource Wendy Silva

Discussions/Actions

Public Health Director Sara Bosse announced a case rate of 27.6 per 100,000, with a positive rate of 7.6 percent. She added that the testing rate is “high, while “gearing up for a surge in the winter.”

She mentioned that hospitalizations are “going up” and urged Madera residents to be vaccinated.

Throughout the county, 49.4 percent are fully vaccinated, while 55.6 percent with at least one dose. Area C is “a little bit higher” for one dose at 60.8 percent. 

Last week, 1,000 residents were vaccinated, with under 400 vaccinations of the 5 to 11-year-old throughout the county population. Vaccination clinics will be closed for Thanksgiving from November 25 to 27 and will resume on November 30.

The Department of Public Health is expanding its ability to provide monoclonal antibody treatment, accessible to anyone regardless of insurance status. 

She stated that the treatment is for seniors and people with underlying health conditions and “needs to be administered early.” 

Then, she stressed the need for early testing. Meanwhile, a Community Assessment Survey is available for residents to guide public health policy in the County for the next three years. 

A-1 Retails Sales Tax Update

Financial Services Manager Anthony Forestiere stated that the City receives 1% of the sales tax, also known as “Bradley-Burns tax.”

The council can use the revenue but not transfer Enterprise funds to the General Fund.

Next, He said that the sales revenue rose in the current fiscal year due to the rise of online sales and the drop in the unemployment rate. 

On Measure K, voters approved the half-cent sales tax measure. The city is committed to spending revenue for Police and Fire Departments.

Separate accounts have segregated funds. The City will continue to budget $5 million of Measure K taxes. 

First, the Council (4-0) unanimously approved items B-1 to B-6 of the consent agenda. Supervisor Montes was absent.

B-1 City Council Minutes of July 7, 2021 

B-2 Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands for October 23, 2021, to November 5, 2021 

B-3 Informational Report on Personnel Activity

B-4 Accepting a Portion of the Improvements Required to Install in Connection with Varbella Estates II Subdivision Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution 

1) Accepting a Portion of the Improvements for Varbella Estates II Subdivision; and 

2) Filing of the Notice of Acceptance for Said Subdivision Improvements; and 

3) Record the Notice of Acceptance of Subdivision Improvements 

B-5 Modification of Assigned Salary Ranges for Professional Civil Engineers Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Modifying the Assigned Salary Ranges for the Classifications of Assistant Engineer, Associate Civil Engineer, Senior Civil Engineer, Deputy City Engineer, and City Engineer.

B-6 Side Letter Agreements with the Mid Management Employee Group and Law Enforcement Mid Management Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving Side Letter Agreements with the Mid Management Employee Group and Law Enforcement Mid Management Group to change Current Pay Reported to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System from Longevity Pay to Scheduled Compensation Retroactive to January 1, 2018

Regarding petitions, bids, resolutions, ordinances, and agreements, the Council centered on the following:

D-1 Cannabis Business Permits – Consideration of Number of Cannabis Business Permits, Procedure Guidelines and Review Criteria, and Fees 

Recommendation: Adopt Resolutions 

1) Determining the Number and Type of Cannabis Business Permits that the City may issue; and 

2) Establishing Fees for Cannabis Business Permits; and 

3) Establishing Procedure Guidelines and Review Criteria to Govern the Application and Selection Process for Various Types of Cannabis Business Permits

City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez stated that staff is recommending permits to be the following categories:

1. Standard Applications or Microbusiness

2. Social Equity Applications

3. Vertically Integrated, Cultivation, Distribution, Manufacturing and Test Labs Applications (Vertical)

Rico Saldivar from Mainstream Medicinal urged the Council for an “even” number of cannabis permits and licenses. 

George De Leja, a Madera resident representing Mainstream Medicinal, sought more representation from minorities. 

Mayor Garcia echoed the call for increasing social equity applications from 2 to 4. He is concerned that corruption could arise in undisclosed vertical applications.  

Ultimately, the motion to approve item D-1, which determines the number and type of cannabis business permits the City may issue, failed with (3-2) votes.

City Attorney Hilda Cantu Montoy reiterated that four votes are needed to pass an ordinance or a resolution under state law. 

However, the Council foresees discussing item D-1 in the next meeting.

D-2 Revisions to the Civil Service Commission Composition and Appointment Process Recommendation: Introduce an Ordinance Amending §2-2.303 of Title II of the Madera Municipal Code Relating to Number of Commissioners and Method for Making Appointments to Civil Service Commission 

Director of Human Resource Wendy Silva said that based on direction provided by the City Council at its October 20, 2021, meeting, staff had drafted an ordinance to amend the Municipal Code, precisely:

  • Modify the composition to a seven (7) member body

  • Individual City Council members may submit nominations to the elected mayor for consideration of appointment.

  • The mayor will submit appointees for consideration to the City Council. 

  • Resolution adopted by at least four (4) votes of the City Council to approve appointments

The Council (3-1) unanimously approved item D-2. Supervisor Gallegos voted no.

D-3 Authorized Terms and Conditions for Employment Agreements of Unrepresented Department Head Positions 

1) Standard Terms and Conditions for Employment Agreements of Unrepresented Department Head Positions; and 

2) Executed Individual At-will Employment Agreements within the Parameters of the Standard Terms and Conditions; and

3) Authorizing the Director of Financial Services to Designate and Classify Reserves from the General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance into the Assigned Classification for the One-time Lump Sum Payments

City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez stated that the following positions within the City’s classification plan are considered at-will and serve at the will and pleasure of the City Manager: 

  • Police Chief, Planning Manager, Director of Parks & Community Services, Director of Financial Services, Public Works Operations Director, City Engineer, Director of Human Resources, Director of Community Development, Information Services Manager, and Chief Building Official

Individuals serving in these classifications have at-will employment agreements defining compensation and benefits relative to their position. 

Staff is proposing Council adopt a standardized document, titled Authorized Terms and Conditions for Employment Agreements with Unrepresented Department Heads, that will document the compensation and fringe benefit package for individuals in the listed positions. 

If approved, this document will be posted to the City’s website to support transparency. 

Proposed Changes includes: 

  • 2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) effective upon adoption, with an additional 2% COLAs July 2022, 2023, and 2024

  • $1,500 lump-sum payment upon adoption, with additional lump sum payments July 2022, 2023, and 2024

  • Holiday Closure benefit

  • Proposed changes are consistent with new terms negotiated with the City’s bargaining units and captured in the recently adopted Memorandum of Understanding.

The Council (4-1) passed item D-3. Supervisor Rodriguez voted no. 

During the closed session, the Council discussed the items as follows:

G-1 Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation: Significant Exposure to Litigation -Under Government Code §54956.9(d)(2) 

Workers’ Compensation: Manuel Macias – One (1) claim 

G-2 Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation Significant Exposure to Litigation Under Government Code Section §54956.9(d)(2) 

Potential litigation resulting from eviction proceedings by City against Jeffrey Streeter 

G-3 Conference with Labor Negotiators – under Government Code §54957.6 

Agency Designated Representative: Arnoldo Rodriguez, Wendy Silva, and Anthony Forestiere Employee Group: Madera Police Officers’ Association

The meeting ended at 7:30 pm. On Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, the next regular meeting will be at 6:00 pm on YouTube

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at Documenters-admin@thefresnoland.com with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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