July 19, 2023 — Madera City Council

Documented by Josef Sibala

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • During the July 19 meeting, the Madera City Council adopted a resolution approving the purchase of bus shelters from Duo Guard for $108,967 and solar lighting for $163,455 from Tolar Manufacturing with the Public Transportation Modernization, Improvement, and Service Enhancement Account Program (PTMISEA) Funds and Senate Bill (SB) 1 Fund.
  • DJ Becker raised issues of widespread blight and trash neglect in Madera. She said that power washing, planting shrubs and basic cleanup should be the responsibility of the city. 
  • The council (6-0) adopted a resolution approving the contract award for the Alley Paving at Various Locations Project, a federal project, for $880,791 to Witbro, Inc. 
  • The council adopted a resolution approving Amendment 6 to the agreement for managing and operating Madera Transit Services, correcting the vehicle service hourly rate and the fixed monthly fees effective July 1, 2023

Follow-up questions:

  • How will the city address issues of trash and weeds?
  • When will residents reap the benefits of the Madera Transit Plan?
  • When will staff finalize work on the Madera Transit Plan?

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 council, including the mayor, serve four-year terms.

The meeting was in-person on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at 6 p.m., yet accessible via YouTube.

Officials Present:

  • 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

Officials not present:

  • Mayor Santos Garcia 

Others Present:

  • City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez
  • City Clerk Alicia Gonzales
  • D.J. Becker
  • Hilda Cantu Montoy
  • Senior Planner Robert Smith
  • Administrative Analyst Nicole Say
  • Marcela Zuniga
  • Steve Bettencourt from the Engineering Department 
  • Administrative Analyst Gabriela Salazar


During the public comment period, D.J. Becker raised issues of widespread blight and trash neglect in Madera. She noted that trees and shrubs are dying due to the lack of water, and weeds and trash are everywhere downtown.

She said downtown business owners are giving up, while good employees have left. She requested an update of an ordinance, giving employees support, especially in littering.

Moreover, she mentioned that the bench planters are full of dried dirt, plants and trash. She mentioned that there needed to be a consensus regarding revitalizing the downtown. 

She said that power washing, planting shrubs and basic cleanup should be the responsibility of the city. She also said she hopes for an end to bickering among council members. 

First, the council (6-0) unanimously approved B-1 to B-14 of the consent agenda.

B-1 The council approved the City Council minutes of June 7, 2023, June 21, 2023, June 28, 2023, and July 12, 2023 

B-2 An informational report on the register of audited demands 

The council received the register of audited demands report for June 10, 2023, to July 7, 2023.

B-3 The council reviewed the informational report on personnel activity 

B-4 Council members adopted a resolution continuing to support Madera County’s proclamation of a local emergency due to the closure of Madera Community Hospital for 30 days

B-5 The council received an informational report on contract city attorney services and litigation expenditures 

B-6 Medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability, and employee assistance program plan renewals

1. The council approved the renewal of the city’s medical, dental, vision and life and long-term disability plans.

2. The council ratified participation in the Employee Assistance Program under the Central San Joaquin Valley Risk Management Authority.

3. The council authorized the city manager to execute documents necessary to move forward the plan renewals.

B-7 The council adopted a resolution approving the revised City of Madera Full Time Salary Schedule reflecting a 2% cost-of-living adjustment effective June 17, 2023.

B-8 The council adopted a resolution continuing the declaration proclaiming the existence of a local emergency – January 2023 Winter Storms – under Madera Municipal Code Title III, Chapter 2.

B-9 The council adopted a resolution approving a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the county of Tulare and the city of Madera for mutual aid due to flooding 

B-10 A portion of the improvements for the Iveywood I Subdivision 

1. The council accepted some off-site improvements for the Iveywood I Subdivision.

2. The council authorized the filing of the notice of acceptance for off-site improvements 

B-11 The council approved Improvement Agreement, Amendment 2, for the Iveywood I Subdivision (Tract No. 12 S03), allowing for the reimbursement of the construction of a storm drainage basin. 

B-12 Consideration of a request by Olegario H. Romero and Ines Romero for connection to the city’s water system 

The council adopted a resolution approving an agreement for outside city limits water connection for 26307 and 26319 Martin St. (APN 038-010-007) 

B-13 The council adopted a resolution approving Amendment 6 to the agreement for managing and operating Madera Transit Services, correcting the vehicle service hourly rate and the fixed monthly fees effective July 1, 2023. 

B-14 The council adopted a minute order accepting a charitable contribution from PG&E for Movies in the Park for $10,000 for the fiscal year 2023/2024 

The public hearings focused on the following:

C-1 Public hearing to consider the proposed annexation of property within the Crown Tozer II (Iveywood II) Subdivision into Landscape Maintenance District Zone of Benefit 51 for the fiscal year 2023-24

Under section 22554 of the Landscape and Lighting Act, annexing any parcel into a Zone of Benefit requires both a public hearing and a published notice of public hearing. A public notice was posted in the July 6 edition of the Madera Tribune.

New development within the city is subject to annexation into a Landscape Maintenance District. 

Assessments are levied to pay for each property’s fair share of landscaping maintenance. These properties will be assessed the fees included in the annual engineer’s report once they are granted occupancy. 

Administrative Analyst Nicole Say said the Ivywood II Subdivision has an assessment fee of $7.40 per parcel.

The council (6-0) took the following actions:

  • Resolution Approving Annexation 2023-07 for annexation of the Iveywood II Subdivision (Tract No. 21-S-01) into Zone of Benefit 51, 
  • Accepted the Diagram and Assessment for Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) Zone of Benefit 51 for fiscal year 2023-24; and 
  • Authorized the city clerk to file the Diagram and Assessment with the Madera County auditor (Report by Keith Helmuth) 

C-2 George Washington Elementary School Public Service Easement Partial Vacation (ABN 2022- 02) 

Planner Smith said the site lies south of East Lincoln Avenue and north of East South Street. The easement runs along the west side of the parcel, down the center of the open space. 

The original 60-foot-wide easement was requested to be reduced to 20 feet along the central section of the easement where the storm drain runs underground. 

A preliminary environmental assessment has determined the project is exempt under Section 15305, Minor Alterations in Land Use Limitations. The project will not result in any changes in land use or density. None of the exceptions under Section 15300.2 of the CEQA Guidelines apply to this project.

Other CEQA sections that also provide an exemption include 15301 (Existing Facilities), 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures) and Section 15314 (Minor Additions to Schools). 

Council member Montes asked whether the project area would be in the periphery and not inside the fields. Smith said that the project area is within the school’s open space.

Smith said that the school intends to reduce the size of the easement to install an array of solar panels in the north area.

The council (6-0) adopted a resolution adopting a categorical exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Sections, 15301 (Existing Facilities), 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures), 15305 (Minor Alterations in Land Use Limitations) and Section 15314 (Minor Additions to Schools).

The council (6-0) approved the vacating of a portion of the public service easement between East Lincoln Avenue and East South Street. 

Petitions, bids, resolutions, ordinances and agreements consisted of:

D-1 Procurement of fixed route amenities using the remaining Public Transportation Modernization, Improvement, and Service Enhancement Account Program (PTMISEA) funds

Zuniga said that the city received $2.2 million from the PTMISEA, which was partially used to fund the construction of the Madera Transit Center.

The council approved allocating the remaining $836,556 for other eligible capital projects within the City Transit and Fleet Maintenance Section.

It had been stipulated that all remaining PTMISEA funds would be encumbered and liquidated by June 30, 2023. However, an extension was granted through July 2023. As of June 30, 2023, $205,748 of the PTMISEA funds remained.

The council (6-0) adopted a resolution approving the purchase of bus shelters from Duo Guard for $108,967 and solar lighting for $163,455 from Tolar Manufacturing with PTMISEA funds and the Senate Bill (SB) 1 Fund.

D-2 Contract award for the Alley Paving Various Locations Project 

Bettencourt of the engineering department said the city received a Congested Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant of $150,000 for paving unpaved alleys, specifically Torres Way, ALY-0001 (ALY-01). 

The city received an additional CMAQ grant of $610,000 for alley paving for City Project ALY-0003 (ALY-03).

The CMAQ funding for these projects aims to help the city meet air district requirements for eliminating particulate matter from unpaved roads. With the project, the city intends to pave as many unpaved alleys as possible within the funding restriction.

In collaboration with the Public Works Department, 16 unpaved alleys were selected based on available funding, for those with heavier vehicular traffic and deteriorated condition.

The general scope of work for all alleys includes 14 foot-wide new permanent pavement, including a concrete valley gutter and alley approaches at each end where needed.

To mitigate flooding, all pavement surface water drains to the adjoining streets.

Nine construction firms were directly solicited to provide construction bids in addition to posting on PlanetBids through the city’s website and advertising in the Madera Tribune on two occasions. 

The bids were broken down into a base bid (consisting of 13 alleys) and two additional alternate bids (consisting of one alley and two alleys).

Additional funds were anticipated for this project and included in the fiscal year 2023-24 budget. Once the budget is approved, the funds will be appropriated.

Because the money is only available within the amount of money appropriated in the fiscal year 2023-24 budget, the bid alternate, including alleys D185 and D186, is not included in the award recommendation.

However, Public Works is looking into possibly adding those alleys into their annual alley -paving contract.

Responding to Montes, Bettencourt clarified that the base bid is used for comparison for selection.

The council (6-0) adopted a resolution approving the contract award for the alley paving at Various Locations Project, a federal project, for $880,791 to Witbro, Inc. dba Seal Rite Paving & Grading. 

D-3 Ordinance relating to City Council and resolutions relating to Council Protocols Guidebook and Council Meeting Rules of Procedure 

Montoy said that state legislation mandated an increase in City Council salaries. She mentioned that the protocol update aims to be consistent with the Madera Municipal Code.

Referring to the proposed guidebook and rules of procedure, Rodriguez asked Montoy what conduct constitutes “loud.” Montoy said that “loud” depends on the context, and officials must urge the public to refrain from unnecessary clapping during meetings. 

Council member Gallegos made a motion to approve item D-3 and alternate voting in roll call. Rodriguez voted no. 

1. The council (5-1) waived the full reading and introduced an ordinance adopting new Chapter 1 of Title II of the Madera Municipal Code relating to the City Council and repeal of current Chapter 1 of Title II; and 

2. The council (5-1) adopted a resolution approving the Council Protocols Guidebook; and 

3. The council (5-1) adopted a resolution approving rules of procedure for conducting City Council meetings

Administrative reports centered on: 

E-1 Ceremonial documents guidelines

As part of the ongoing development of a protocols guidebook, the council requested the preparation of a policy outlining the issuance of ceremonial documents.

The council issues proclamations, City Council certificates of recognition and Mayor’s certificates. The draft document proposes five categories. 

Two required council majority action; three did not require council majority action.

Documents not requiring council action are as follows: 

  • The mayor will sign certificates requested by the public
  • Certificates requested by a council member will be signed by the member making the request.
  • When a certificate of commendation is to be issued, the city clerk will advise all members of the council of the nature and intent of the certificate. Council members will have five business days to request inclusion on the signature block and provide a signature.
  • Certificates may be presented at a council meeting, an off-site event or in person with the city clerk.

Rodriguez said he prefers recognition to a commendation to an individual. 

The council discussed the Protocols Guidebook section concerning ceremonial documents. 

E-2 Direction regarding city councilmember Golf Course Advisory Committee appointment 

Salazar noted that on June 21, 2023, the Ninth Amendment to the Madera Municipal Golf Course Operation and Management Lease Agreement with SGM Inc. was established. 

The amendment extended the lease agreement term to five years and made various economic modifications.

One new term included forming a Golf Course Advisory Committee with seven members. 

The seven-member body to consist of the following:

1. One city councilmember

2. Parks and community services director

3. Sierra Golf Management (SGM) Inc. representative

4. Service organization representative

5. Golfer-at-large community member

6. Food and beverage director or representative

7. Nongolfer-at-large community member

A nongolfer/at-large community member was added on June 21, 2023, upon council recommendation. Upon council suggestion and approval, the final committee appointments will be mutually agreed upon by the city and SGM Inc.

City and SGM Inc. will work to finalize the remaining committee representatives and present recommendations to the council.

The council (6-0) adopted a resolution approving the appointment of Jose Rodriguez to the Golf Course Advisory Committee.

E-3 The council received an informational report on the implementation of the Madera Transit Plan

Zuniga said that the revised Fixed Route System increased routes, new route names and new route identifiers.

An additional route was added to the Fixed Route System, which will promote equitable access and may increase ridership throughout city limits.

Route names were changed. The shift to multiple modes of route identification is intended to target individuals with different capacities, promoting inclusion. New bus stop identifier signs include color, route number and shape. 

To date, the staff has finalized the following:

  • A new Madera Metro Transit brochure
  • Individual route maps
  • All systems map
  • Designed new bus stop identification signs
  • Procured bus stop equipment

The new fixed routes were anticipated to be serviced on July 1, 2023. However, as a result of supply delays and other challenges, staff now anticipates that service on the new routes will begin by the end of August.

Staff will begin finalizing the transition by:

  • Providing public notice of bus stop closures/new bus stop locations
  • Removing bus stops
  • Relocating bus stops
  • Installing new bus stop identification signs
  • Relocating bus shelters  

Responding to Mejia, Zuniga said that the Madera Metro Transit brochure still needs more feedback from the council.

Closed sessions are as follows:

G-1 Conference with legal counsel – existing litigation under Government Code §54956.9(a) One case: Madera Police Officers’ Association; Randall Williams; Thomas Burns vs. City of Madera (MCV 088246) 

G-2 Conference with legal counsel – existing litigation under Government Code §54956.9 (d) (1) 

Name of case: Phenos of Madera, Inc. dba Phenos of Madera Cannabis Appeal Before Hearing Officer 

G-3 Conference with legal counsel – anticipated litigation under Government Code §54956.9(d) (4) Deciding Whether to Initiate Litigation Number of Cases: One case

The meeting ended at 9:08 p.m. The next regular meeting will be on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m.

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

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