Heres’s what you need to know:
- The recommended budget was approved; final budget for fiscal year 2022-23 will be adopted in September.
- First-round of recommendations for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocations for 22 subrecipients was approved. Proposals will be vetted from July till October, written agreements will be final in October and November.
- Two staff attorneys will be added to the Counsel’s office, to cover juvenile court. The staff additions will speed family reunification time.
Brian Pacheco, 1st District, Chairman
Sal Quintero, 3rd District, Vice-Chairman
Steve Brandau, 2nd District
Buddy Mendes, 4th District
Nathan Magsig, 5th District
Paul Nerland, County Administrative Officer (CAO)
Daniel C. Cederborg, County Counsel
Bernice E. Seidel, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
Chairman Pacheco called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m. and asked Supervisor Brandau to introduce the person giving the invocation, Will Stoll, pastor of Northwest Church in Fresno, and Brandau’s pastor. “He’s been my pastor for eight or nine years I think, but I’d have to check my calendar.” “Probably feels like 20 to you!” Pacheco said. “Yeah, totally,” said Brandau, “and him, too!” Stepping up to the podium, Stoll said, “Let’s pray together: You are all-knowing, thank you for being holy. One day we will all answer to you.” He implored his deity to “give wisdom to this council,” and concluded, “most of all, you will be glorified.” Everyone remained standing as the flag salute briskly followed. The meeting was held as usual in the Hall of Records building in Fresno with both in-person and virtual attendance. Video and copy of the agenda are available here.
Agenda Item #1 Approve agenda. Passed 5-0.
Agenda Item #2 Consent calendar, items #20-79. Items #48 and #58 were deleted, per Clerk Seidel.
Agenda Item #3 Recognition of retirement of Rachel Guzman, who worked for the Public Health department for 26 years. David Luchini, Director of the Department of Public Health introduced Guzman and her supervisor. Guzman commented, “Yay, I’m retired.” She and colleagues went to dais to pose for a photo. As all supervisors stood up, the all-male Board simultaneously buttoned their suit jackets.
Mendes asked to delay items #4 and #5, which were presented after agenda item #7.
Agenda Item #6 CAO Nerland asked for approval of recommended budget for the period between July 1 2022 and adoption of the fiscal year 2022-23 final budget. His view, he said, was “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” He mentioned, as considerations made in planning this budget, rising costs, inflation and preparation for an economic downturn. Greg Reinke of the CAO’s office gave a brief presentation. The final budget will be adopted in September, he said. There was little discussion other than Magsig asking about retirement-fund status. Passed 5-0.
Agenda Item #7 CAO staff member George Uc made a presentation about first-round recommendations for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocations for subrecipients. 47 applications were received, totaling $57 million in funds for which $14 million was earmarked. Staff was asking for the Board’s concurrence or direction on the initial list. The projects once approved would receive one-time funding which were responsive to COVID, based on need and which would not duplicate programs being carried out elsewhere. Applications have been reviewed beginning May 5, 2022. The initial list of 22 recommended non-profits and other entities include, for example, infrastructure projects in Malaga and Tranquility, Boys and Girls Clubs of Fresno County, as well as entertainment entities such as the Clovis Rodeo and the Big Fresno Fair. Uc said that the proposals would be vetted from July till October, written agreements would be final in October and November, and a progress report would be ready in December.
Magisg and Brandau comprised the ad-hoc committee on subrecipients. Magsig said they were “looking for projects with tremendous impact.” Brandau said that it could be that further grants could be considered in the fall when “other funds” will be “freed up.”
Public comment was opened on the matter. Mariana Alvarenga from the Leadership Counsel was present to ask again for a grant of these funds to cancel water debt in the communities of Porvenir and Cantua Creek, though she expressed gratitude for funds allocated for parks and community center in Porvenir. She emphasized that these and similar communities have been historically left out and reiterated her request for further allocations. Two more women, residents of Cantua Creek, were also present to reiterate the requests made by Alvarenga and ask that the community water debt be forgiven or paid with ARPA funds.
A man who is a resident of Viola was present to say he and other residents of Viola and nearby communities were extremely responsible with water and thanked the Board for funding grants. He was sorry for others who did not get funding.
Quintero asked if the staff’s report would be posted online. Uc said yes.
Pacheco said that there “simply is not enough money” for places such as Cantua Creek. He thanked Magsig and Brandau for their work on the ad-hoc committee and said that “for a city resident [Brandau] and a Clovis resident [Magsig]” they did a good job on behalf of residents in rural areas. He noted that Cantua Creek would receive funds for some of the things they requested, but not all. Passed 5-0.
Agenda Item #4 Introduced by Mendes. Proclamation in recognition of the Caruthers High School girls softball team win of the 2022 Division V So Cal State Softball Championship and to proclaim June 21, 2022 as Caruthers High School Softball Team Day in Fresno County. Mendes said he was “very proud” and quipped that the Orange Grove team (see item #5) “beat you to the dais because they took the stairs.” There was apparently a mishap with the elevator in the Hall of Records, and the Caruthers team was stuck in a stalled elevator for some time. Clerk Seidel read the proclamation. The team’s coach and the two team captains spoke briefly and thanked the Board. Quintero praised them and Brandau invited them to assemble for a group photo: “Come on up, ladies.”
Agenda Item #5 Also introduced by Mendes. Proclamation in recognition of the Orange Cove High School girls softball team winning the 2022 Division IV So-Cal State Softball Championship and to proclaim June 21, 2022 as Orange Cove High School Softball Team Day in Fresno County. Clerk Seidel was asked to read the proclamation, but she was interrupted by the girls’ coach, who approached the podium and began speaking over her. She had a surprised look on her face, but said nothing. Among his remarks, the coach said, “We teach about life.” Pacheco asked if any of the girls want to speak; the coach then pointed out his male assistant. Quintero then asked who was the team captain and co-captain, after which two girls approached the podium giggling and thanking the Board. Pacheco said, “Good thing you took the stairs.” One of the girls said, “It feels good to have support from you guys.” Everyone grouped together for a photo.
Agenda Item #8 Add staff to the counsel’s office to cover juvenile court. Cederborg spoke first in a rather dry manner; then Sanja Bugay, Director of the Department of Social Services, spoke with more feeling and persuasiveness. She said the staff additions (two attorneys) would increase attorney support by 33%. She noted that the additional staff would improve family reunification rates by shortening court time, and that it would also relieve the staff social workers’ caseloads. Pacheco remarked jocularly that the item would not pass with Cederborg making the request on his own, without Bugay. Passed 5-0.
Agenda Item #9 A first hearing to amend the Fresno County Ordinance Code, Title 9 (“Animals”) by adding Chapter 9.10 “Community Cat Population Management.” Presented by the Public Health department. David Luchini, Director of Public Health, who said that there were 66,000 homeless, free-roaming cats in Fresno County. He introduced Brenda Mitchell, President of Fresno Humane Animal Services, who talked about “trap-neuter-return” (TNR), a healthful and humane way of managing the homeless cat population. She said that in the past, cats were trapped and euthanized, and it has not been an effective means of managing this cat population. Now the cats are trapped, neutered, treated by a vet, placed in shelters for adoption, or—if they are feral—returned to the place where they were trapped. Mitchell said the County has managed dogs only, but saying “we’re not doing cats” doesn’t make the problem go away or stabilize the feral-cat population. Pacheco said this was an initiative which reflected a policy of making things “better, not just adequate.” Mendes related an anecdote: “Me and Brian [Pacheco] grew up on dairies with feral, wild cats.” He said that he and his wife now keep two cats as pets after TNRing them. Passed 5-0.
Agenda Item #10 Hearing on proposed local homelessness action plan for the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care (FMCoC) service area. Staff asked the Board to approve the plan, which includes use of homeless housing assistance grant funding allocated to the County ($2,976,820) and the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care ($3,753,702). Laura Moreno, FMCoC Chair and Program Manager, Department of Social Services (DSS), gave a brief presentation. Quintero asked if temporary housing was included, to which Moreno replied that the hope is that people will stay longer, between three and six months. Quintero asked about some agencies with temporary beds which were funded but “many beds were not filled” while the agencies kept the money. Moreno said that in all cases, beds have been filled and that they track occupancy rates, which are in the acceptable range. Sometimes, she said, a three-member family will be assigned to a five-bed room, leaving two beds empty, but they are tracked as filled, since families are housed privately. Sonia De La Rosa, Deputy County Administrative Officer, also spoke briefly and gave more background on housing. Passed 4-1, with Brandau objecting, though he made no comment.
Agenda Item #11 Hearing regarding proposed County community development,
housing, and homeless grant programs. Staff asked the Board to approve the 2022-23 Annual Action Plan, including use of Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships Grant, and Emergency Solutions Grants. The Action Plan is submitted annually and serves as the County’s application for its allocation of entitlement
funds from Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There was no discussion and just one written public comment received. Brandau was not in his seat, and there was no explanation of where he was or why he absented himself. Passed 4-0, with Pacheco confirming with Clerk Seidel that there was “one absence,” alluding to the missing Brandau.
Agenda Item #12 Supervisor comments
Quintero described going with a team of 22 to Cherry Avenue between America and North Avenues, including members of the sheriff’s department, code enforcement staff, environmental health staff, and so on, to educate street-food vendors about safety and legal requirements for them to be there doing business. Magsig could be seen using his cell phone while Quintero spoke. Quintero said they shared information about applying for a business license. Only two of the vendors were licensed. He said they will go a second time to continue circulating information to the vendors. The third time, he said, they will go with tow trucks and citations will be issued. Quintero said that while there, he observed a man stopping his car in the middle of the road, getting out to purchase a burrito from a vendor, then getting back in his car and continuing to drive on.
Mendes thanked Quintero for the above initiative.
Magsig congratulated Mendes for winning re-election in this month’s election, a race Magsig called a “slug-fest.” Pacheco ran unopposed. Magsig lost his run for Congress, but no one mentioned it. Perhaps deflecting from that fact, Magsig said that it was “a joy” working with Mendes and Pacheco.
Pacheco said that State Assembly Member Jim Patterson asked the Board for support for his proposed mental-health legislation, which has passed in the legislature, but which Governor Newsom says he prefers not to sign. Per an editorial in the Fresno Bee, the bill calls for representation of the San Joaquin Valley on the state’s Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. Pacheco said his office composed a letter of support. Pacheco said the terms of the bill “meet our legislative platform.” Nerland agreed. “All legal?” Pacheco asked Cederborg, who nodded.
Agenda Item #13 Board appointments. Brandau had one appointment but the wrong name. Clerk Seidel corrected him, but Brandau did not accept that she was right. Brandau again left his seat. Mendes and Pacheco each had one appointment. When Brandau returned, he said that the clerk was correct.
Agenda Item #14 Public comments regarding items not on the agenda. The only speaker was a man who has been appearing before the Board regularly. This time he said there was a carbon monoxide leak in his house in 2016 and read documents which seemed to be medical reports about his children; he also read some violation notices, said that the leak was never fixed and that he and his family were “kicked out.” He said that someone had gone to the sheriff and the DA about it, but, he said in a low voice, “that somebody is dead.” He concluded with, “Have a nice day.”
Sean and Brent Burdine, were seen sitting in the room, but they did not comment.
The Board went to closed session about 11:20a.m. Cederborg said that there would be one matter to report from the closed session. Pacheco announced a recess to return at a time uncertain. When they returned, Cederborg said that the Board had voted 5-0 to initiate litigation against the owner of a property on Peach Avenue, for nuisance violations.
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