Why it matters?

PLHA funding helps cities meet the unmet need for affordable housing and increase the supply of housing for lower income households. By accepting the $2.5 million over a five-year period, Madera can be held accountable for complying with state housing element laws and must submit annual progress reports.

Here’s what you need to know

  • The Madera City Council met on Nov. 16, 2022 and approved three separate street vacations requested by developers, which transfers ownership of the property from the public to the developer. 
  • They also approved two developer reimbursements for park improvements. One with KB Home for up to $1 million at the Rancho Santa Fe subdivision off West Cleveland Avenue. The other with Joseph Crown Construction for the Iveywood subdivision off Tozer Street and Sunrise Avenue. 
  • They also approved a grant application for the Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) program. The city has not previously requested PLHA funds and is requesting its funding allocation back to 2019 of $422,319 with the five-year period between 2019 to 2023 totaling $2.5 million. As a requirement of the application, the city must prepare a Five-Year Plan detailing the activities that will be funded and how it will prioritize investments that increase the supply of housing for households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI).


The Scene

According to its website, the Madera City Council, a board of seven, is the elected legislative body of the City of Madera. 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. 16, 2022, at 6 p.m., yet accessible via YouTube.

Officials Present:

  • Mayor Santos Garcia 
  • Mayor Pro Tem Anita Evans, District 4 
  • Council member Cece Gallegos,  District 1 
  • Council member Jose Rodriguez, District 2 
  • Council member Steve Montes, District 3 
  • Council member Elsa Mejia, District 5 
  • Council member Artemio Villegas, District 6

Others Present:

  • City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez
  • City Clerk Alicia Gonzales
  • City Attorney Hilda Cantu Montoy
  • Kingsley Okereke
  • Chief Watson
  • Chief Ralph Duran
  • Cynthia Ordogon
  • Brandon Durran Robashod
  • Wendy Silva
  • Marcela Zuniga
  • Arnoldo Rodriguez
  • Joseph Hebert
  • Will Tacket

Public Comments: 

JD Becker wants to provide an example of how we are using city funds. They are giving out wheelchair flags. They say citizens love the extra visibility. They want to partner with the police department to purchase more flags in the future. Speaker says citizens have expressed concern about pedestrian safety. She says people are afraid to use crosswalks due to uncaring and dangerous drivers. 

Chief Watson introduced Chief Ralph Duran. Chief Duran thanks the council for the opportunity and he looks forward to serving the City of Madera and keeping it safe. 

Cynthia Ordogon submitted a written comment. She is concerned about public safety regarding pedestrians. She says that many citizens in Madera walk to locations due to Madera having such high poverty rates. She says hiring the proper amount of traffic officers is necessary. They used to have ten officers and now they have one. She asks them to consider hiring the correct number of traffic officers for the population of Madera. She remarks that it is a danger to pedestrians to travel on streets that sometimes have no sidewalks or lights.

Brandon Duran Robashod, a war veteran, asks for the support of the VFW and the Legion. He says both organizations are hurting and could use support in any way possible. He thanked Councilmember Evans for her statements at a veteran event last week. 


Proclamation for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, 2022. The proclamation celebrates and is presented to Ortiz Western Wear located in Downtown Madera which has been open since 2002. Ortiz Western Wear has donated to various youth programs that serve the Latino community. Council expressed gratitude for their presence in the community and encouraged others to shop locally. 

Presentation for National Injury Prevention Day given by the mayor to Valley Children’s Hospital. The proclamation recognizes the day on Nov. 18, 2022. Injury is the leading cause of death for children under 18 in the U.S. Recipient from V.C.H. repeated that injury is the leading cause of death for kids. Injury prevention and trauma treatment centers are both developing and doing well for the hospital. 

No introductions or workshops tonight.

Consent calendar: no comments. approved (6-0)

B-1: Approve minutes from Aug. 3, 17 and 24, 2022.

B-2: Informational Report by Kingsley Okereke. Register of Audited Demands. October 22, 2022 –  November 4, 2022. Warrant Distribution Summary and Wire Transfer Summary.

B-3: Monthly informational update on employment matter by Wendy Silvia. 

B-4: The city’s existing Medical Service Agreement will expire soon. 

Adopt a resolution approving a Medical Services Agreement with Occu-Med. Occu-Med will provide services for the city such as pre-employment physicals and drug screens, safety sensitive driver drug and alcohol testing, commercial driver physical exams, industrial injury exam and treatment, and fitness-for-duty exams. At this time, the city has two agreements it would like to finalize to handle these services for the city. However, only the agreement with Occu-Med has been solidified. The second vendor will be brought to the council for consideration of award closer to when the agreement is finalized. The financial impact of the agreement has been accounted for in the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget. 

B-5: Council will reauthorize telecommunications and teleconferences for the next 30 days.

B-6: Approve a Minute Order for the Downtown Christmas Light Parade scheduled on Dec. 1, 2022. This is an annual event for the City of Madera. City staff has the option to decorate a float. Staff is also planning a MaderaEats event with glow sticks to pass out to children. The city hopes to be more involved than in years past. The parade organizers require a Hold Harmless Agreement, and remittance of a $45 entry fee for nonprofit organizations. Waived city permit fees and costs for city personnel to assist during the parade will be implemented to help with monitoring alternative traffic patterns to ensure safety, crowd control, and returning the event area to appropriate standards of cleanliness

B-7: Madera Unified School District’s (MUSD) Application for Funding ASSETs Program and CLC. After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) Program and Community Learning Centers (CLC). MUSD is seeking funding to renew after-school and summer programming at various schools and funding to establish a new after-school program at Matilda Torres High School. The CLC program will support community learning centers that provide academic enrichment for students who are from high-poverty and low-performing backgrounds. ASSETs Program will establish funding for a new after-school program at Matilda Torres High School. It will provide academic enrichment opportunities for students nine through twelve. Not requesting funding from the city, just support. 

B-8: Adoption of Updated Conflict of Interest Code. The Conflict of Interest Code was last amended on Sept. 2, 2020. Since then, there have been changes in employment. The code is reviewed biennially. 

Public Hearings:

C-1: Public Hearing Regarding Annexation No. 13 to Community Facilities (CFD) District No. 2005-1. Authorization of the levy of a special tax and submission to qualified electors. Conduct election of qualified electors. 

Robert Smith showed a brief presentation including a map of previously annexed areas.

Public Comment: n/a

Council Comment: n/a

One Ballot was received. Yes. 

Passed (6-0).

C-2: Adopt a Categorical Exemption Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and approve the vacation of a portion of Clark Street between Owens Street and Taylor Street. Vacation means the complete or partial end of the use of public roads or highways. New Alliance Investments, LLC is the applicant. The plan is to reduce the existing street right-of-way width from 80 to 60 feet. If denied, the Bella Vita Residences project would cease to continue. 

Robert Smith speaks again. He says this is one of three vacations he is looking to get approved. He showed a map detailing the area he is looking to be vacated. The site is currently vacant between Owens Street and Taylor Street.

Public Comment: n/a

Council Comment: n/a

Passed (6-0).

C-3: Vacation of a Portion of Noble Street (Alley) along the east side and corner of Noble Street and Maple Street at the southeast corner of the right-of-way vacation. The alley vacation on the east side of Noble street south of Maple Street would reduce the overall existing right-of-way width from 40 to 30 feet east of centerline. Berry Development is the applicant.

Robert Smith showed a map of the designated area to be vacationed. He displayed surrounding zoning. The site is currently vacant. Robert Smith claims the reduction to thirty feet would not affect traffic flow.

Public Comment: On behalf of the project, he has been working with the planning department and the city for many years and is happy to answer any questions.

Council Comment: n/a

Passed (6-0)

C-4: Vacation of a Portion of Grove Street right-of-way South of Maple Street. Berry Development is the applicant. The vacation will not include the removal, construction or modification of existing infrastructure or structures. 

Robert stated it will stretch 80 feet, the site is currently vacant, and it will not affect traffic.

Public Comment: n/a

Council Comment: The mayor thanked Robert for his report.

Passed (6-0)

C-5: Grant Application for the PLHA Program. The Building Homes and Jobs Act was signed into effect in 2017. SB2 provides an ongoing source of funding to local governments for housing related projects and projects that address unhoused residents. Madera is an Entitlement jurisdiction based on the formula prescribed under federal law for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The city has not previously requested PLHA funds, therefore this PLHA application request is soliciting all PLHA funds accumulated since 2019. This is the city’s final opportunity for the city to apply for its 2019 PLHA funding allocation in the amount of $422,319.


  • The City’s Housing Element must be in compliance with State Housing Element Law.
  • City must submit Annual Progress Reports on the housing element for the corresponding calendar years for which the city is requesting PLHA funds
  • The City must submit a 5-year PLHA application that outlines a plan detailing how the allocated funds will be used.

Marcela Zuniga gave a presentation on item C-5 but it was hard to hear her introduction. Technical difficulties occurred with her microphone. 

Public Comment: A man spoke and wanted to include a stipulation that war veterans be a priority and have foreclosed houses turned into psychiatric facilities. 

Steve Montes asked what is the expected expenditure timeline. 

Zuniga responds – 2019-June 2024 every year after that follows accordingly. Five-year allocation for each year. He says he would like to get more input from the community. 

Passed (6-0)

Petitions, Bids, Resolutions, Ordinances, Agreements:

D-1: Employee Wage Adjustments to Offset Inflation, Minimum Wage Compaction, and Recruitment and Retention of Full-time Employees. 

Approves Side Letter Agreements affecting additional cost-of-living (COLA) increases and certain salary range adjustments as a direct result of minimum wage increases for the following employee bargaining units: Madera Affiliated City Employees’ Association, Mid Management Employee Group, Madera Police Officers’ Association, Law Enforcement Mid Management Employee Group. Modifies the City of Madera Classification Plan to remove job classification no longer used and add Parks Manager classification. It will modify salary range assignments for certain job classifications. 

Wendy Silva gave a detailed presentation on the implications of inflation on employee wages. She explained why wage increases for this particular employee group is not only necessary but vital to employee retention. She notes the influence of inflation on minimum wage and calls attention to the fact that at the start of 2023 minimum wage will increase to $15.50 and wages for city employees will need to increase as well. She showed various tables for different positions within the city to demonstrate how wage adjustments could potentially be implemented.

Public Comment: n/a

Council Comment: n/a

Passed (6-0)

D-2: Approval of a contract with Nastich Law, a Professional Corporation to serve as Hearing Officer for Cannabis Permitting Appeals. The City of Madera is facilitating the cannabis permitting process. The process calls for appeals by a hearing officer. A request for proposals was submitted on Sept. 30, 2022. The city received four proposals in response. The city will enter into an agreement with Nastich Law, a Professional Corporation. The firm will provide and facilitate the Cannabis Permitting Appeals. 

Summer L. Nastich, JD is the President, CEO, and sole shareholder and employee of the firm. Her rates are $200 per hour. Her wages were factored into the approval of the appeal process.

James was unable to load the PowerPoint but he detailed the general overview of the applicants and why Nastich Law is the best choice of the applicants.

Public Comment: n/a

Council Comment: n/a

Passed (6-0)

D-3: Improvement Agreement Amendment No.1 for the Rancho Santa Fe Subdivision

allowing reimbursement for park improvements.

The subdivision is located at West Cleveland on the city limits. He is requesting an amendment to the Improvement Agreement because KB Home believed the construction of the park was a part of the subdivision approval and is requesting reimbursement.

Public Comment: Robashod lives in the new subdivision area. He says Encantada Avenue is a long stretch and he is concerned about speed down this street. He requests speed bumps and crosswalks for the park. He requests fruit trees and/or a community garden. 

Council Comment: n/a

Passed (6-0)

D-4: Park Improvement Within Iverywood, Reimbursement for park improvements. The same presenter from D-2, James. He says the subdivision will allow for the park to be on Road 28. The city is working with the developer to provide additional amenities and offset some of the costs of the park with an Outdoor Recreation Legacy Grant. It is unclear what amenities will fit at this time but there are multiple ideas. 

Public Comment: n/a

Council Comment: n/a

Passed (6-0)


E-1: 2023 regular city council meeting schedule. Generally, the council meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. The purpose of this is to plan for 2023. Special Meetings may continue to be requested. Dates considered: league of CA conferences, Holidays, Madera Unified School Calendar, and community events. The calendar does not consider other commitments Council Members may have. The presenter displayed monthly 2023 calendars for the Council with projected meeting dates. 

Council Comment: Councilmember Montes wanted to mention that in February the proposed break would take too long. He worries items will need to be addressed within that time frame. He wants to meet on Jan. 18 and Feb. 1 so that meetings in the future do not run too long. Councilmember Gallegos also believes that Jan. 18 and Feb. 1 should remain as meeting dates. Councilmember Gallegos and Mayor Garcia also believe Jan. 4 is an inappropriate meeting date. 

Mayor Garcia says that the council can be flexible with meeting dates and training is important. Councilmember Mejia says the space between meetings should be considered to appropriately allow for public comment. She does not want meetings to be too far apart. Councilmember Rodriguez says he would be opposed to moving meetings too far apart. Councilmember Gallegos makes a motion to adopt the calendar as is and make changes as necessary with the removal of meetings on Jan. 4, 2023 and July 5, 2023.

E-2: Marcela Zuniga spoke about the request for a proposal for the Intelligent Transportation System Conversion for Madera Metro. The proposed RFP will only focus on tech enhancements such as computer-aided dispatch software, automatic vehicle location software, automatic passenger counts software, an infotainment system, on-board passenger Wi-Fi. 

Councilmember Gallegos is excited to see these changes in place. She believes it will help ensure citizen safety.


Council Announcements:

Gallegos: She announced that Thursday, Dec. 1 is the annual Christmas Parade in Downtown Madera. She says safe travel over the holidays.

Rodriguez: Nothing to report.

Montes: He hopes everyone has a good Thanksgiving.

Evans: She wishes everyone safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving. She thanks all Veterans for their service. December 18 will be a Christmas extravaganza. 

Mejia: Nothing to report.

Villegas: Nothing to report.

Garcia: Thanks everyone for voting regardless of who they voted for. He believes it is our civic duty. He thanks everyone who ran for office. 

General Announcements:

Next Meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

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

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.