Here’s what you need to know:

  • After hearing from three concerned property owners, the council approved a Master Clovis Trails and Right-of-Way Use Agreement and Memorandum of Interpretation between the City of Clovis and Fresno Irrigation District. It will allow the city to connect existing trails and extend the system by using canal banks.

  • The council also approved an assessment increase election in Landscape Maintenance District No. 1 pertaining to Zones 1 and 5. Residents will receive ballots after March 29 and vote on an annual rate increase from $78.50 to $99.50 in Zone 1 and from $50.10 to $72.30 in Zone 5. The increase will fund the replacement of aging playground structures and landscape maintenance.

  • Council Member Bob Whalen announced that this will be his last term serving on the council since no one has run against him for Fresno County Superior Court Judge. He has served on the council since 2003 and his last meeting is expected to be early December after a new council member is elected.

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on Feb. 14, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live.

The agenda no longer states that face masks are required for those who attend in person. Ashbeck was the only council member who wore a face mask. Per the direction of the council at the last meeting, more space was added between the council members on the dais.

Six attendees were present via Webex and four were watching live via Youtube.

Names of officials:

Jose Flores, Mayor (also Chief of Police, State Center Community College District Police Department)

Lynne Ashbeck, Mayor Pro Tem (also Senior Vice President Community Engagement and Population Wellness, Valley Children’s Healthcare)

Vong Mouanoutoua, Council Member (also External Relations and Project Development Director, Community Medical Foundation)

Bob Whalen, Council Member (also Fresno County Deputy District Attorney and candidate for Fresno County Superior Court judge)

Drew Bessinger, Council Member (also Chief of Police, Fresno Yosemite International Airport)

Bessinger led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance.

From there, the meeting was open for public comments:

  • Cheryl Medrano is in council chambers again updating the council on her home that flooded after a water main broke on Jan. 3.

    • She said an engineer that the city hired was supposed to be there on Tuesday and didn’t show up.

    • Whalen asked about a fifth-wheel “potential resolution.”

      • She said if they could park a fifth wheel on their property and a pod with their belongings, but she said that “we were shot down with that twice.”

    • Flores asked if that is it and Medrano said she has been the one initiating contact, not the city.


  • Approved minutes from the Feb. 7 meeting.

  • Received and filed the Economic Development Corporation Serving Fresno County Quarterly Report, October-December 2021.

  • Approved street closure requests from Rare Earth Coffee and Fresno Street Ears for special events in Dry Creek Industrial Park.

  • Approved temporary street closure of various Old Town streets to hold the annual Fall Glorious Junk Days Antique and Collectible Show on September 18.

  • Approved a resolution amending the City’s classification and compensation plans to adopt the Landfill Supervisor classification and salary range of $7,875 to $9,572 per month.

  • Approved a bid award to Central Valley Asphalt in the amount of $338,142.00 for Sunnyside Avenue site improvements.

  • Approved a Notice of Intent to CalRecycle to Comply with SB 1383 Regulations via SB 619.

  • Approved Master Clovis Trails and Right-of-Way Use Agreement and the Memorandum of Interpretation between the City of Clovis and Fresno Irrigation District.

    • Presented by Public Utilities Director Scott Redelfs:

      • He said they have been working on the agreement for many years.

      • The Master Trails Agreement (MTA) paves the way

      • “The Fresno Irrigation District wanted indemnity if they were even going to consider this use of their canal banks,” he said.

      • Redelfs said the agreement allows the city to use canal banks as part of the trail system.

      • He said it will allow the city to address overgrowth along the Dry Creek Trail.

      • He said it’s redundant in the sense that Clovis enforces the homeless abatement along the canal banks, but the agreement reinforces that.

    • The known financial impacts are about $117,500 annually in maintenance obligations.

      • $54,000 comes from the General Fund

      • $49,000 from the Water Enterprise Fund

      • $14,500 for toter pick up comes from the Refuse Enterprise Fund

        • This will provide trash cans for trail users that will be maintained.

    • “We have not maintained canal banks before,” he said.

    • “The Dry Creek is a real special, unique thing and in the agreement it says we’ll put together a 10-year plan with the district because we can’t just go in there and clear cut,” he said. “

    • Redelfs said the agreement may make homeless abatement easier for Clovis Police or “give them more work.” “They are very active at removing the homeless camps from the embankment and the bushes,” he said.

    • He said one thing he wanted to point out was the difference between Clovis and Fresno’s agreement with FID.

      • He said that Fresno worked with FID for 15-20 years and they’ve only worked with them for a few years.

      • He said the goals are similar, “but where we differ is that our agreement also includes the sphere of influence like county islands.”

      • He said that Fresno also has to do Common Use Agreements any time they want to use canal banks, which he said takes a long time. “It becomes red tape and cumbersome to getting things done and this agreement covers all that.”

    • He said that it will take a while to put all the plans in place to connect and extend the trail. “What we’re trying to do is use the canal banks as a passive trail for the city,” he said.

      • He said it will take a lot of discussions with property owners and the County.

    • Mouanoutoua asked how it works with canals that go into other jurisdictions, like Fresno.

      • Redelfs said that if there is no gate on the canal bank then it transitions naturally.

    • Mouanoutoua then asked if it would create different rules for them. “We will be putting in signage in line with what FID wants to see in terms of trail usage.” Redelfs said they may include no swimming.

    • Redelfs said the Active Transportation Plan is being updated and these trails will be identified for funding opportunities.

    • Bessinger said he resides within the conflict of interest within the Dry Creek Canal. “I love our trail systems, they are truly a neighborhood enhancement,” he said.

      • He pointed out that there was no mention of the Gould Canal.

      • He said he would like to focus their efforts in older neighborhoods. “We have existing canals that would link existing shopping and parks,” he said. “These neighborhoods really struggle and this is probably the area in town that has the lowest socioeconomic level and need the most help.” “I would like us to focus on that before we enhance existing canals, which were already pretty great.”

        • Redelfs said they will look at that.

        • Bessinger said he hopes they can use some Measure C funds, due to “some of the social justice things being pushed.”

        • “This is something that could be a force multiplier for us because we can’t spend money on parks and trails that isn’t there,” Bessinger said.

    • Ashbeck agreed, saying that was something they could advocate for.

      • She asked him to address the two public comments they received from property owners.

      • Redelfs said that his discussion with the Police Chief went well, in that “he didn’t hit me.”

      • Ashbeck asked if they talked to Clovis Unified School District and he said they haven’t yet because they wanted to get it solidified before sharing.

    • Whalen said that it appears this was an important step. “Anyone that has an opportunity to get out on the trails realize the value,” he said.

      • He asked about the value of having “more eyes on the canal banks” and whether that was a concern “about those that are homeless or engaging in poor behavior.”

      • Redelfs said they would incorporate a routine route all the way from the East to where it comes out on Willow Avenue. “We sure can put more of a presence on there,” he said.

      • He said they wouldn’t be in police vehicles, but would be in city vehicles.

      • Whalen commented that people are using the City’s app to report homeless encampments already.

      • Redelfs said they could also use signage to deter unwanted behavior.

    • Flores congratulated FID and the City of Fresno for the recent Midway Trail expansion. “It could link all our trails in the Fresno Clovis Metropolitan Area,” he said.

      • He asked if the homeless abatement agreement goes into effect immediately and Redelfs said it would and it is in effect.

      • But Flores said with the County Islands, it “isn’t quite true” and they are going to need a formal agreement or an MOU with the Sheriff’s Office for that.

    • Tom Krazan was in council chambers. He said he owns property at Shepherd and Sunnyside Avenues and right next to the Dry Creek trailhead.

      • He said he is in favor of the trail and recently Lennar has come to them and requested property to create a light in an area.

      • But he said that he has a “prescriptive easement” and that he has to carry liability insurance because part of the trailway is on his property.

      • He said there is also a water hazard upstream from his property.

      • He also said they get a lot of trash and are recently seeing “needles and used condoms.” He’s also seen human excrement in the nearby bushes.

      • He said two of his neighbors are also in chambers who weren’t called for their input.

      • He held up maps and pointed out issues with the planned parking lot and trail system and how it differs from what has actually occurred.

      • He said that he’s received death threats after putting up a “do not enter, private property” sign that blocks part of the trail.

      • “We’re here to be part of the community whether we’re an island, but if there’s an issue our only option is to call the Sheriff’s Department,” he said. “And we don’t have access to police as quickly as you do.”

        • To which, Flores told him that if there is a problem on the canal bank, with the new agreement, they can call Clovis Police.

      • Krazan said he doesn’t feel confident that his fence won’t be taken down or that they will “sue him” to get access.”

      • Mouanoutoua said that he thinks that Krazan will be better protected with the agreement because they can then work together to move forward.

      • Krazan said that “there’s nothing to negotiate, just fix it and move it to the north.” He said the trail maps aren’t showing what can actually happen because it includes private property.

      • Ashbeck asked him to clarify the “exception language.” To which, he said that if they could identify the APN numbers within the agreement because they would “have no privacy” on their property and is “super invasive.”

    • Another resident Rebecca said that they had hundreds of people coming behind their home during the pandemic and made the decision to put up private property signs because they were “literally not safe.”

      • She said they have lived in the home for nine years.

      • She said she has a shop that is right on the canal bank.

      • “It’s clearly been planned to go around me,” she said.

      • “We want you to define us out of this moment,” she said. “We’ve already done our time fighting out of this situation.”

    • Carey Bricks was in council chambers and said she has grandkids that play in the yard regularly. She said they can’t use their pool and they only have a chicken wire fence between their yard and the canal bank.

    • Adam Claes from FID was in council chambers.

      • Mouanoutoua asked if there are any exceptions in their agreements with other cities. Claes said that in Fresno, common use agreements are needed with any property along the canal. But that wouldn’t apply with this agreement.

    • Mark Kepler participated via WebEx. He said that he has good news for Krazan is that he would not be liable for anything that occurred on his property per the agreement. But any property agreement needs to be done in writing.

      • He said that FID would like to see monuments along the trail.

      • He said there is also money for maintenance of trails and they asked for a Measure C amendment for just that a few years ago. “You could have $50,000 over a five year period to maintain trails,” he said.

    • Holt asked about a plan and map that was sent by Kepler earlier in the day.

    • Ashbeck asked if there is a dispute resolution strategy and how they would handle Krazan’s gate. “Does it presume the removal of the gate?” she said.

      • She was told they would like to remove the gate but there are a lot of steps to get there with the property owners.

      • She asked how it got this far without talking to those four property owners.

      • She asked if other homes are right along the canal trail.

      • Flores said he can think about another area that will be impacted and those property owners aren’t there.

        • He said it wasn’t “time yet” to work with the property owners.

      • “This memorializes something that’s going to impact these four homeowners and we need to engage them,” she said.

      • Flores said “today we’re making a decision for the whole of Clovis and its sphere.” “Today’s not about those hot debates, it’s about the agreement between FID and us.”

    • Flores went on to say that the development of the “dangerous, curved road” in front of them hasn’t happened yet and when it does, that is the time they should discuss that area.

    • Whalen said he doesn’t know that they agree with the homeowners but they certainly want to talk to them.

      • He said the concerns that Ashbeck expressed about notice were valid, but that the homeowners have been engaged in discussions months ago about the trail use along the canal bank in general.

    • Mouanoutoua said that he thinks there are “so many other property owners potentially affected” and that when that portion of the trail becomes impacted those discussions should happen.

      • “This needs to be approved today so that the Southwest that has never had a nice trail can move forward,” he said.

    • Ashbeck said that this does memorialize the homeowners’ concerns.

    • Flores said that he thinks they will “get this at every point along the trail that we try to develop.”

  • Approved an Assessment Increase Election in Landscape Maintenance District No. 1.

    • Presented by Assistant Public Utilities Director Glenn Eastes:

    • Landscape Maintenance District No. 1 is comprised of 47 benefit zones.

    • Zone 1 is located between Herndon and Shepherd Avenues.

      • The rates in Zone 1 have not increased since 2004 and the expenditures have exceeded the revenue.

      • The recommended annual rate increase is $21, from $78.50 to $99.50.

    • Zone 5 is located south of Herndon Avenue between Sunnyside and Locan Avenues.

      • The rates in Zone 5 have not increased since 2013 and expenditures exceed revenues.

      • In 2016, a rate increase election failed by a “narrow margin”.

      • The recommended rate increases to $22.20, from $50.10 to $72.30.

      • Average age of playground structures is 16 years old.

      • He said they will be able to replace a playground structure in Zone 5 every other year.

    • Ashbeck said “I love everything about the City of Clovis, except one thing, ‘How do we not ask for a rate increase for 20 years? Is there any way we can keep an eye on it?” She also asked if they were asking for enough.

      • Eastes said they are planning for the next five years with this increase. And if they ask for too much then it doesn’t pass.

      • She said that she hopes a mailer on the increase is readable and appealing for voters.

    • Bessinger asked about the park structures and if they have value to offer them to smaller cities in COG.

      • The parks director said he doesn’t think Silverton does, but there might be some opportunity for other swing sets.

    • Mouanoutoua asked if services will go back to 100% in Zone 1. He was told that they will get better landscaping and more often.

      • He was told that in Zone 5, they can replace two play structures and go to weekly mowing.

      • He asked if they could share about the election. He was told that the city can’t advocate for it, but can share information.

    • A resident, Eric, who lives on Nees and Fowler was in council chambers. He said he is in support of this and there is an area along the Dry Creek Trail that is torn up and needs to be replaced.

Flores opened the meeting for comments by City Manager John Holt:

  • In his COVID update, Holt said

Flores then opened the meeting for council comments:

  • Whalen said that it will be his last term as a Clovis City Council member because no one ran against him for Fresno Superior Court Judge. Holt said his last meeting would likely be the first meeting of December.

  • Bessinger said in the League of California Cities meeting and they’ve been discussing Prop. 47.

  • Ashbeck said that she hopes Mouanoutoua will comment on the Measure C steering committee.

  • Mouanoutoua said that the Measure C committee passed their goals. He said they got a plan from the working committee and it’s pretty similar to the current Measure C.

    • He said a big decision is whether it will be 20-30 years or vote to end. He said he thinks it will be 20 or 30 years.

    • He said that he thinks a big decision moving forward will be “the definition of local control.” He said a lot of cities don’t have the same definition that they do of what local control is and they interpret it as less local control. “It will potentially really change what League of Cities stands for,” he said.

The meeting adjourned at 8:21 p.m. to move into closed session regarding the Sunnyside Avenue water main break on Jan. 3.  The next meeting will be March 7.

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

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.

One reply on “Clovis City Council (2/14/22) Fresno Irrigation District trail agreement + landscape maintenance rate increase”

Comments are closed.