Here’s what you need to know

  • The Kerman City Council met on September 28 and heard from John Coyle with Centers for Living, who reported that more than 400 clients have gone through its community living project to gain independence. 
  • The council approved using $140,000 in CDBG funds to replace the restroom facilities at Plaza Veterans Park. 
  • PBK Architects presented their Draft Community Safety Center Needs Assessment Study for a new police station to the council and are waiting for further direction. 

Follow-up questions

  • What existing building would meet the construction codes for safety and law enforcement centers should the city choose to renovate the building instead of building a new one? 
  • Where would the funds be allocated for the new police station project? Would this require an increase in sales tax and other revenue streams? 
  • How will the proposed police station project be promoted to the public and will there be public input regarding this? 

Conversation highlight

  • “The goals of the facility (new police station) are to provide a commitment to public safety; be community service oriented; a place for field training and improvement; community outreach, education, oversight, and accountability; crisis assistance; dealing with homeless and mental health needs of the community; and a safe place for infant exchange.” – Max Medina, Project Architecture, PBK Architects


Purpose of Agency:

The city council serves as the policy-making board of the city. The Kerman City Council has five members, which includes the mayor and four council members. The mayor is elected for a two-term, and council members are elected for four-year terms. The city council meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Kerman City Hall, 850 S. Madera Ave. 

Kerman City Council Board Member Duties

Council members are the leaders and policymakers elected to represent various segments of the community and to concentrate on policy issues that are responsive to citizens’ needs and wishes. The city manager is appointed by the city council to carry out policy and ensure that the entire community is being served. Kerman City Administrator Sonia Hall handles the city’s day-to-day business with an “open-door policy” to community residents and businesses, where comments, concerns, and suggestions are always welcome. 

Kerman City Council Board Members

  • Gary Yep, Mayor
  • Kevin Nehring, Council Member for District 1
  • Jennifer Coleman, Council Member for District 2 
  • Ismael Herrera, Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for District 3
  • Bill Nijjer, Council Member for District 4

The Scene

The Kerman City Council meeting was held in person in the Kerman City Chambers on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Mayor Gary Yep called the meeting to order at 6:04 p.m. Council Members Kevin Nehring, Jennifer Coleman, and Ismael Herrera were in person in the council chambers. Council Member Bill Nijjer joined the meeting virtually through Zoom. You can find the agenda for the city council meeting here. City Clerk Marci Reyes led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance. Two members of the public participated via Zoom. 


John Coyle with Centers for Living provided a presentation on the transitional home he and his wife created. “We are an organized place of living. We provide community living with accountability. We do not have a program because we help those living at home to create their own programs. The goal of this transformational home is to teach the clients how to love themselves and God, if that is what they choose to do, and in doing so, learn to love each other.” It costs $575 per month to stay in the home, according to Coyle. “After 4 years and 400+ clients, this is a sustainable model. We do not ask for federal funding. We work with the clients to get a job so they can afford to pay the fee because a lot of the time, they are people who were formerly incarcerated, went through a divorce, and became unemployed. We own five homes, one in Kerman and the rest in Fresno.” These homes can occupy 12 people each, with two managers that live in the home 24/7. Breathalyzers are done daily and drug tests are every three days, even for clients with no prior history of drug abuse. “We have had former gang members from different gangs sitting together and sharing a meal. There have been no fights in the four years of this.” A video testimony was played, where a former client shared his experience and how his life has changed since living in this home. “They help you feel proud about yourself and they listen to your problems and give constructive criticism. I am now going to school to be a CNA and have a fiance.” 

Consent Calendar

The city council unanimously approved all six items on the consent calendar. 

  • (A): Minutes
    • September 14, 2022
  • (B): Payroll
    • 08/07/22 – 08/20/22: $174,636.23; Retro Pay & Other: $1,064.59; Overtime: $7,228.56; Standby: $1,384.88; Comp Time Earned: 55.13
  • (C): Warrants 
    • 1. Nos. 24980-25125 $692,098.95 ACH $53,779.90 2. Exceptions. CK #24986 $276.00, CK #25085 $21,342.92
  • (D): Resolution Approving Ratification of Memorandum of Agreement with Mariposa County for Reimbursement of Mutual Aid Expenses for the Oak Fire 
  • (E): Adopting Amendments to the Conflict of Interest Code 
  • (F): Agreement Between the City and Yamabe and Horn Engineering Inc. for City Engineering Services 

Public Hearings

The mayor opened the meeting to a continued public hearing and adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Submission of an Application for Community Development Block Grant funds for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 for the Plaza Veterans Park Restroom. This public hearing was originally scheduled for the September 14, 2022 meeting, however, due to technical difficulties with the audio, the hearing was postponed to the September 28 meeting to allow members of the community to provide input. City Engineer Jerry Jones said, “The City of Kerman received an annual allocation of Federal CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds from HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) through an agreement with Fresno County.” This year, the city will be allocated $140,000, which will be used to replace the existing restroom building at the Plaza Veterans Park. According to the executive summary from Jerry Jones provided in the agenda, “Projects for which CDBG funds can be used must benefit areas within the city with at least 51 percent low to moderate income households, senior citizens, or persons with disabilities.” This proposed project is located within an eligible area, with over 73% of the area being low to moderate-income households, according to the summary. No one from the public spoke regarding this proposed project. There was no discussion amongst the council. The council voted unanimously to approve this item. 

Department Reports

Max Medina, Project Architecture with PBK Architects, provided a presentation of the Draft Community Safety Center (Police Station) Needs Assessment Study. Mayor Gry Yep asked Max Medina to provide a “readers digest” of the presentation since it was already presented at the September 14 meeting. However, due to technical difficulties with the audio, the presentation was provided to the Council at the previous meeting, but the Council was not allowed to ask questions or provide input since the public was not able to comment on the presentation via Zoom. Max Medina said “The processes we used to study the staff needs are staffing and organization, needs assessment, facility analysis, parking analysis, and a conceptual facility plan and site. We analyzed the needs of the current and future folks, between 2022 and 2042. The goals of the facility are to provide a commitment to public safety; be community service oriented; a place for field training and improvement; community outreach, education, oversight, and accountability; crisis assistance; dealing with homeless and mental health needs of the community; and a safe place for infant exchange.” PBK gathered data from the needs assessment and compared the data to the state standard. 

  • Current city population: 16,384
  • Current staffing level: 33 (26 sworn and 7 non-sworn personnel)
  • Current space: 8,500 sq ft (258 sq ft per employee)
  • Current parking areas: 22,000 sq ft 

Max Medina said “If we design today and not think about the future, then this is what the numbers are. But, if we are thinking about the future, then the design will need to change to accommodate the growing population.” Mayor Gary Yep asked “How can we implement this plan? This is a wishlist but we are not looking at amenities, but what the taxpayers we represent will allow us to spend.” It was recommended that perhaps certain amenities can be located in other facilities in order to save on the suggested square footage and save money. “The community meeting room can be held at the Community Center, so this will free up the square footage. The highly secure suggested storage room can be moved somewhere else. For the social services for mental health professionals, a private space might fit somewhere else.” Mayor Gary Yep suggested finding an existing facility and renovating it to fit the needs of the growing city. Max Medina said they will need to follow the specific building codes for law enforcement buildings. No decision or voting was made regarding the proposed new police station. The presentation was for information and city staff will work with PBK Architects for direction on the next steps. 

City Manager/Staff Communications

  • City Engineer Jerry Jones said, “Right now, we have two staff in San Francisco for the American Society of Civil Engineers, where we received the award for Outstanding Project of the Year for Trinity Park. I also want to thank the Council for amending the contract and extending it for 5 additional years. I really like and enjoy working with the city of Kerman.”
  • Chief of Police John Golde said “We [the Kerman Police Department] received the highest Lexipol, the Gold Standard. We have achieved the Gold Standard in the past, but they are now giving plaques.” According to, “Lexipol provides a full library of customizable, state-specific law enforcement policies that are updated in response to new state and federal laws and court decisions.” A new records clerk and two police officers have also been recently hired for the city of Kerman. 
  • Public Works Director Michael Barajas said “In October, we will start the center median renovation project at Vineland Avenue. We also installed the equipment at the wastewater treatment plant.” 
  • Unknown city staff speaker: “The auditor will be coming on October 10. We are diligently working to clean up and get everything ready to go.” 
  • Community Services Director Theresa Johnson said “We had a community forum last week, where we had great participation from those who attended. Public Works Director Michael Barajas and a police officer attended to hear the community’s input. And on a high note, the senior nutrition program will be starting up again in October.” 
  • City Manager John Jansons said, “Last night, we had a mayoral candidate orientation, where the candidate got to meet the department managers and hear an overview of the different departments.” 
  • Mayor Gary Yep said, “The Kerman Harvest Festival had a good police presence. The rides could have been a little better and some shut down early so the Chamber will need to work on this for next time. There was good food, this was definitely one of the better events put on by the Chamber. I flew to Washington, D.C. on Sunday to lobby for high-speed rail and transportation. I am also the Chairman of the water committee. I had to leave early from the State of the County. I have the COG meeting coming up. I apologize, I have been very busy these last couple of weeks. I was also late at the beginning of the meeting because some teens graffitied my bathrooms so I had to check the camera footage. And I saw them walking outside the store. I apologize for this.”


With no further discussion, Mayor Yep adjourned the council meeting at 7:10 p.m. 

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