At its Tuesday meeting, the Lindsay City Council reviewed the city budget and directed city staff to hire a finance manager.

June 13, 2023 — Lindsay City Council

Documented by Esteban Solis Loya

 Here’s what you need to know

  • The city budget, although 4 months late, is in the black and will operate under “status quo” conditions. At the council’s direction, the city will work to hire a finance director. 
  • The intersection renovation at Foothill and Tulare avenues will continue to be designed under certain considerations and amendments. Council members think it will increase pedestrian and student safety, but won’t necessarily mitigate traffic congestion.
  • The council asked city staff to extend the application period for the Water Ad-Hoc Committee. Residents may apply by submitting a one-page application to the city clerk. Individuals can also pick up an application in the finance department at City Hall.

The Scene

The Lindsay City Council meeting was held on June 12, 2023. The meeting began at 6 p.m. and was adjourned at 8 p.m for a closed session. The meeting was made available to the public to live stream and to provide public comments via Zoom

Follow-up questions

  • Will the Wellness Center continue to operate the pools without a lifeguard on duty at all times?
  • What will the finalized city budget look like and what projects will be prioritized?

Names of Officials and Attendance

  • Mayor Hipolito Angel Cerros: Present
  • Mayor Pro Tem Yolanda Flores: Present
  • Council member Ramiro Serna: Present
  • Council member Ramona Caudillo: Present
  • Council member Rosaena Sanchez: Present
  • City Manager Joe Tanner: Present
  • Director of Public Safety Rick Carillo: Present
  • City Clerk Francesca Quintana: Present
  • City Attorney Megan Dodd: Present
  • City Services Director Neyba Amezcua: Present

Cerros opened the meeting and Caudillo led the council, city staff and members of the public in the Pledge of Allegiance. Cerros made a motion to approve the agenda, which was seconded by Caudillo. The agenda was unanimously approved 5-0.

Public Comments

  • Resident Evelia Alvarez purchased a property in Lindsay about five months ago. Once she made an offer, she and her husband discovered that the property was zoned as commercial. Alvarez was hoping she could get some direction about rezoning the property to residential, as she was told that some documents need to be completed along with paying a $3,000-$4,000 fee. Her concern is that, even with submitting documentation and paying the fee, there is no guarantee the rezone would be approved.
    • Amezcua: Because the application to rezone the property is a discretionary item, there is a charge to pay city staff to complete an environmental review, which is why the typical resident customer is advised that they could pay the fee with a possibility of the City Council rejecting the rezone. Alvarez: The property is a former church by a packinghouse. She doesn’t want to take the financial risk and doesn’t want to have to pay the fee if she’s not assured the rezone would happen.
    • Sachez: We should talk about this further elsewhere, as the property’s zoning status should’ve been communicated to you when you bought it and we would like to address this issue.
    • Alvarez: Homeless individuals have been trying to gain access to the buildings on the property, so her husband has fortified the entrances in the meantime, but we can’t do more because we can’t use the property yet.
    • Cerros: Please leave your contact information with the city clerk and the city will get back to you as soon as possible.


  • Council Report
    • Cerros
      • Congratulations to the Class of 2023, particularly to graduates of our alternative education program.
  • Attended the Lindsay Beer Fest organized by the Chamber of Commerce. Cerros thanked Roxanne Serna, president of the Chamber,  for her hard work.
  • Cerros also attended the Memorial Day service at the Lindsay-Strathmore Cemetery and lamented not being able to participate in the city’s Veteran’s Banner ceremony, as he attended a downtown partnership event in Livingston put on by Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation. Cerros networked with the foundation’s director and secured their commitment to put on a similar event in Lindsay.
  • Cerros reminded the council and the public that the second City Sign Ordinance Committee meeting will take place next Wednesday, June 21.
  • Flores
    • She attended the Veteran’s Banner ceremony. She felt that the organization and execution of the event was beautiful and spot on.
  • Serna
    • Welcomed everyone present and shared that he also attended the events mentioned by Cerros and Flores.
  • Caudillo
    • She attended brewfest and had a good time, until she broke her hand while assisting a resident in need.
  • Sanchez
    • She had a sprained foot and was out for a week. Sanchez thanked Matt from The AWAKE Foundation. She had family visiting from Texas to attend a funeral. Her family returned to Texas the day after the funeral and were able to take home a Veteran’s Banner featuring their family member. Sanchez thanked Chief Carillo for being helpful and accessible while getting banners done.
  • City Manager Report
    • Tanner recounted the City Hall Cleanup Day last Friday and mentioned that it had been decades since the last cleanup. They were able to fill two large trash receptacles by 1 p.m. and need about five more for another planned cleanup day in the fall. He apologized for any delays residents faced when paying bills and reiterated that there will be no late fees issued.
    • Tanner has had several conversations with the owners of Elevate Lindsay regarding delays in their building renovation downtown. This topic will be a future agenda item sometime next month with amendments.
    • He remarked on the additions of taps and the singers during Lindsay’s Beer Fest.
    • The city is conducting  interviews for a new finance director.
    • The senior center will be open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Tanner reminded those present that the next Drive-In Movie Night will take place this Thursday
    • Firework sales will begin soon, so city staff have approved three fireworks stands around town.
    • Police cars have finally been delivered and decals have been put on.
    • Tanner recommended an extension for the city Water Committee member application period.
    • Cerros: How do individuals apply?
    • Tanner: Community members may apply by submitting a one-page application to the city clerk. The application will also be reposted on Facebook and individuals can pick up an application in the finance department at City Hall.
    • Caudillo: Can council members join the committee as residents of Lindsay?
    • Dodd: Under the Brown Act, council members may not join outside of the two existing council member spots. If we had three or more council members on the committee, we would need to agendize meetings and make them public.
  • Presentation Items
    • Retail Strategies Retail Recruitment – Requested by Flores
      • Brookley Valencia of Retail Strategies presented their progress via Zoom with her colleague, John Mark. They are thrilled to continue their partnership with Lindsay, and said they spent time with Cerros earlier in February.
      • Their focus is on getting retailers to expand to this market and speaking with city points of contact so the city can aid deals going through.
      • Economic impact of potential deals in the pipeline for Lindsay
        • A potential gas station C-store (name redacted) could bring in $2.2 million in economic impact.
          • Located on West Mariposa Street along Highway 65. This property is zoned as commercial and enjoys continuous high traffic volumes.
        • A potential Mexican QSR eatery could bring in $1.4 million in economic impact.
        • The combined impact would bring 19 permanent jobs and a total revenue of $36,000 in taxes.
        • They are conducting research on the upcoming Highway 65 project, and Valencia remarked on an off-market highway site with potential for retail development located on the west side of the highway.
        • Gas station sites have been identified for renovation or buyouts. These possibilities depend on if the owners are willing to sell.
          • Serna: How many gas stations have been identified?
          • Valencia: Possibly three or more have been identified, but interested buyers can’t contact gas stations themselves and would need to be put in touch with them through us and the city. These include G1 Gas, Fastrip and Valero along the Old Tulare Highway.
        • Currently conducting outreach to grocers, coffee shops, fast-casual eateries, fitness stores, light manufacturing and sit-down restaurants.
        • Most recently, Valencia attended the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) convention in Las Vegas ISCS LV in May and plans to attend ICSC San Diego and ISCS Monterey.
    • Tulare and Foothill Intersection Treatment Options for Pedestrian Safety – Requested by Serna
      • Soo Ho Park of Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group presented treatment options for the intersection in question. 
      • Serna suggested mitigating traffic congestion, so Amezcua thought it would be a good opportunity to utilize the talents of Soo Ho, who completed the Hermosa Avenue renovation with minimum change orders.
      • Provost and Pritchard is working on the Tulare-Foothill intersection.
        • Existing conditions: a wide north leg of 72 feet, with the shortest leg on the south end being 46’. The intersection is a four-way stop. Their first consideration is to shorten the crosswalk with bulb-outs, or curb extensions, which comes with east-west drainage and 40-foot school bus access considerations.
        • Ho’s recommendation:
          • Build a curb extension while shortening the intersection crossing about 5 feet
          • Install high-visibility crosswalks
          • Keep an all-way stop control (AWSC) status
        • Serna: The concern is that multiple intersections are congested and the city’s layout of schools leads to more congestion. What would be the cost of installation?
        • Ho: Approximately $500-$600,000 for a traffic signal installation.
        • Flores: Have you spoken with the school district?
        • Ho and Amezcua: Yes; based on data from a previous traffic survey the school district requested during September 2022, the numbers didn’t justify a warrant for a traffic signal. It turned out that lower numbers were recorded farther away from Highway 65. We even suggested staggered school release times, but the school district couldn’t accommodate the request.
        • Sanchez: I like the recommendation for bulb-outs and for the renovation of the intersection.
        • Public comment from resident Serna: She has children at Lincoln Elementary. She and other parents are being bounced between the city and school district with seemingly no ability to get clarity or help from either. She explained that it’s frustrating worrying about her children’s safety because of the traffic congestion and high traffic speeds along Tulare Road.
          • Serna and Sanchez exchanged words regarding each having children attend schools and dealing with high traffic volumes.
          • Quintana and Cerros: Reminded the resident that public comments are limited to three minutes and refocused the conversation to the traffic/pedestrian issues.
  • Discussion Items
    • City Council Chambers Building Upgrades
      • Tanner: Over the last two years or so, the city has made modest upgrades to city hall office spaces for employees.
      • Plans include painting the council chamber room either white, off-white or gray. Tanner also suggested getting a new table, new chairs and finding a use for former mayoral pictures, as many are missing. Solutions could include taking them down and showcasing them in a museum or giving them to families of former mayors via dedication ceremonies. Tanner is also looking at carpet replacement costs and Cerros remarked that he’d like to see a painting of the city of Lindsay. Tanner suggested an art contest for high school students to submit their work to be reviewed and Cerros mentioned he’d like to see the city seal displayed in the council chambers.
      • Serna: What would be the cost for these council chamber renovations?
      • Tanner: Approximately $10,000. City staff will do as much work as possible to save costs.
  • Consent Calendar
    • Caudillo pulled item 10.3 – treasurer’s report
      • Caudillo asked where the May report was and if the council had received it.
      • Tanner said staff is a month behind, and they still have to reconcile this month’s report. 
    • Caudillo pulled item 10.5 – Lindsay local hospital district minutes for May 18.
      • He said that in 2021, the Wellness Center gave the city money over a span of three years – funds were in the hundreds of thousands.
      • Da Silva said that most projects have been completed with those funds and the city has come out under-budget. But because the city still has outstanding projects to complete, the city will go to the hospital board to see if remaining funds could be used to complete the HVAC repair/replacement. HVAC systems are currently back-ordered, so if the council approves, “we can call the HVAC supplier afterward and hopefully complete the project by Christmas 2023. Other projects include making Wellness Center entrances more ADA compliant.”
    • Caudillo pulled item 10.6 – job posting for a recreation-1 full-time pool manager
      • This is a new position with the city and is budget neutral. The reasoning for this position is that the Wellness Center needs a life guard on deck every time pools are in use. According to the California Pool & Spa Association, the city is liable “when we don’t have a lifeguard on duty and when there are active swimmers.”
    • Caudillo pulled item 10.7 – Recreation coordinator job
      • Pool manager job: start at mid-$60,000 max out at $84,000
    • Serna pulled item 10.8 – renewal of the Lindsay-Tulare County Sheriff’s dispatcher contract
      • This contract dates back to 2018
      • Comprises $95,000 for 24-hour dispatcher positions
      • The city of Lindsay did away with an internal dispatch department and began a contract with the Sheriff’s Department beginning July 2023 to July 2024
      • Flores remarked that this partnership with Tulare County has been working out great and has resulted in quick response times.
      • Caudillo asked if the city has this money available. Tanner answered that the city does, and added that operating an internal city dispatch service would result in $3 million-$5 million in startup costs alone. Carillo also added that the city can not go back to operating an internal dispatch service per state law and that five to six dispatchers would be needed if the city operated on its own.
    • The council approved all items pulled for discussion in one motion by Flores with a second motion from Cerros. There was unanimous approval.
  • Action Items
    • 11.1 City Financial Update and Consideration of Approval from Fiscal Year 2022-2023
      • Finance director interviews are ongoing.
      • Department issues:
        • Audit – auditors in town finalizing fiscal year 2022
        • Bank reconciliations / ledger
        • Next year’s budget
      • The city is four months behind schedule, but they are making progress. Like surrounding cities, there are delays in approving budgets due to:
        • Staff transitions
        • Flood response from this winter’s heavy rainfall
      • Economic environment
        • The sales tax situation for the city is bullish, as fiscal year 2022 saw $3.2 million in revenue while fiscal year 2023 saw $3.3 million in revenue. This is a 3% increase in sales tax revenue.
        • Building/planning permits activity remains strong.
        • The city is experiencing low unemployment rates.
        • Reimbursements from FEMA are estimated to be $400,000
        • Bearish things to watch in the near future:
          • Unstable stock market
          • Inflation is leveling off, but still high.
          • Insurance markets
            • Natural disasters / police settlements / wildfires
            • Increase of $284,000 in insurance fees
          • A 30% decline in cannabis market sales is occurring regionwide.
        • General fund revenues
          • Total revenue (inflow) from the adopted budget is $8.245 million.
          • Unaudited estimated actual – $8,766,540
          • Total expenditures (outflow) from the adopted budget – $8.03 million  Unaudited estimated budget is $7,401,083
          • Unaudited surplus total including transfers out to enterprise funds (water, sewer and Wellness Center with $100,000 allocated to water and $227,000 allocated to the Wellness Center) – $1,365,457
        • ARPA funds
          • Expenditures claimed leave the total cost at $653,784.
          • Pending projects leave the total cost at $2.56 million.
        • Flores: What is the status of the Downtown fires cleanup?
          • Tanner: a bid is out for the demolition of the debris and remaining structures. We will be closing bids by the end of this month.
          • Amezcua: The two-story property across the street needs to be treated as its own cleanup project, as it’s a very complex process with its own liabilities and safety procedures.
        • Of the $2 million received from Sen. Melissa Hurtado, $1.89 million remains.
        • Public safety vehicles include 10 total cars, five of which are arriving now with the remaining five arriving in the next two months.
        • Recommendation for the council:
          • Next steps: hire a finance director to keep things “status quo,” come back with recommendations for how to spend the $1.89 million, a policy on capital outlay projects and more analysis with our insurance plans and SIRs (Self Insured Retention) policy.
          • The staff  hope to finalize the audit in late July/early August, depending on the auditor’s schedule.
          • Asking for a 60-day extension on budget
        • The city currently uses MBS Technologies to buy long- and short-term bonds with lowest interest rates. About every three months, bonds turn over, and another one is bought with the accrued interest.
        • The council voted to approve the recommendation made by Tanner, with 4 yes votes and 1 abstention by Cerros.

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