June 27, 2023 — Reedley City Council

Documented by Ramiro Merino

Here’s what you need to know

  • At its June 27 meeting, the Reedley City Council proclaims July as Parks and Recreation Month. 
  • Reedley was awarded $1.5 million in state funding, which will cover the purchase of a new Police and Fire Safety radio communications system. 

Follow-up questions

  • When will the public hearing for increasing the membership fee in the downtown Scaping District take place? 


  • Mayor Anita Betancourt called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. 
  • Reedley Public Works Manager Russ Robertson led the invocation. 
  • Betancourt proclaimed July as Parks and Recreation Month.
    • Parks and Recreation staff said “Students learn how to play African drums, participate in a six-week kickboxing class. Students also participate in field trips, including water parks, aquariums, and touring the Warner Brother Studios.”
    • Staff member Andrea Trinidad said the city serves students from kindergarten to fifth grade. “We have enrichment-themed experiences, like participating in the Tour of Reedley. We will also be picking up trash along trails,” she told the council.
    • Student interns in the program shared their experiences:
      • “One of my favorite things is going on field trips”
      • “I really like building bonds with the kids.”
      • “I have been able to form bonds and be someone the kids can depend on.”
      • “My favorite thing is getting to know them.”
      • “I enjoy getting to work with the different grade levels.”
    • Betancourt said “I am so overwhelmed with joy. I appreciate everything you do for the city. Thank you so much.”
  • Council Reports
    • Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Tuttle said the downtown Reedley fireworks show will be held  Friday evening. He also complimented the Street Eats event. 
    • Council member Mary Fast said she was approached by several people about flying the Rainbow Pride Flag at Reedley College. She learned that the decision is made at the State Center/Chancellor’s office, so she will be contacting them . 
    • Council member Scott Friesen said he passed his swimming classes. 
    • Betancourt asked what the status of the library is. City Manager Nicole Zieba said the architects have submitted plans and are waiting for approval.
  • Staff Reports
    • Zieba said amending the city’s contract with the chamber of commerce will be on the agenda for the July meeting. She said that three of the four items the council submitted are “halfway approved.” “I am shocked this even happened, I almost nearly fell out of my seat,” she said.
    • She said the Stop the Hate Townhall will be held at 5 p.m at the Reedley First Mennonite Church. 
    • She said that the water level of local rivers has been dropping. “The Kings and San Joaquins are in good shape. I can’t speak the same for Tulare because they have a different dam system. You will see an ebb and flow. We also have the live status tracker. We will keep the beaches closed by order of the sheriff. The San Joaquin River is open to the public but Kings River will remain closed.” 
    • Community Services Director Sarah Reid said that pickleball is offered at no cost to the public every day from 1 to 3 p.m. There are members of the community willing to help those who stop by to learn how to play pickleball. 

Actions/Discussions/Public comment

  • The council unanimously voted to approve the consent calendar as presented, with the exception of item 3.
  • (2) Approval of minutes of the regular council meeting of June 13.
    • (4) Adopt Resolution 20
    • 23-043 Declaring Listed Vehicles and Equipment as Surplus
      • Council member Mary Fast said, “I see we are putting this out to go away. Will it be stored at our Fire Department and is this something we can use?”
      • An unnamed firefighter said “It will be stored elsewhere.” 
    • (5) Adopt Resolution No. 2023-045 approving the final map for Tentative Parcel Map No. 2021-03 and authorizing the city manager to execute a subdivision improvement agreement by and between the city of Reedley and the United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley 
    • The council voted unanimously to table item 3:
      • Adopt Resolution No. 2023-038, opposing initiative No. 21-0042A1, the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act
        • Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Tuttle said “Be fiscally responsible and look out for our residents. I would like more time to look into this.”
        • Zieba said “The liability that it opens up is scary. You will see more of the bigger cities standing up and I want you to see why. This is brought by the developers, if you want a clue. There is no requirement to vote on this item now.”
        • Council member Suzanne Byers said “At first I thought this was a good thing for taxpayers but after I looked into it, I am skeptical.”
        • Council member Scott Friesen said “We are jumping into this too soon and do not have all of the information. The League of Cities is very one-sided.”
  • Approve and authorize city manager to execute all documents pertaining to a sole source purchase and installation of police and fire public safety radio communications system up to a total cost of $1.26 million, with appropriations previously approved
    • Assistant City Manager Paul Melikian called it  “a positive thing to finally get the resource.” He said Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Fresno “had submitted several budget requests on behalf of Reedley, including a request for $1.5 million to replace and upgrade Reedley’s aging police and fire public safety communications equipment. Some time had passed and we did not know the status. We were informed in spring 2022 that this was funded by the record budget surplus. We did not know how this money would work. … We have to report it on our financial statements but as long as we spend it like we said we will, this is the nicest way to receive money. These are complex systems for fire and the police departments to talk to each other. It has to work all of the time, no matter what. Because of that, these systems are very expensive.”
    • Byers asked if the towers were secured. Melikian said they are secured 24/7. 
  • Adopt Resolution No. 2023-044 accepting and approving the Reedley Downtown Parking and Business Improvement Area fund status and proposed assessment increase report dated June 2023, and setting the public hearing date to consider the proposed assessment fee changes
    • Tuttle recused himself from this portion of the meeting.
    • Public Works Director Russ Robertson said that in 1986 a group of business owners asked the city to create a downtown streetscape district. On May 23,  the Reedley Downtown Parking and Business Improvement Area Committee (Streetscape Committee) “recommended increasing the assessment fee to businesses within the area boundary in order to keep pace with the rising costs of maintenance and improvement projects. The increase is needed to sustain maintenance and improvement efforts within the area boundary and for the fund to remain solvent.” 
    • Betancourt asked how many members the district has. Robertson said about 100 members. 
    • Byers asked if the committee considered a sliding fee where smaller businesses pay less compared to larger businesses. Robertson said that all businesses in the district benefit from the benefits of membership. 
    • The council voted unanimously to approve the increase. 
  • Betancourt adjourned the meeting at 8:17 p.m. 

Conversation highlight

  • “It is such a positive thing to finally get the resource. Senator Hurtado submitted several budget requests on behalf of the City of Reedley, including a request for $1.5 million to replace and upgrade Reedley’s aging police and firm public safety communications equipment,” said Paul Melikian, Reedley assistant city manager.

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