Aug. 2, 2023 — Madera City Council

Documented by Alejandra Obregon

 Here’s what you need to know

  • Madera’s Measure T is not providing adequate funding to improve road conditions throughout the city. According to Ellen Bitters, deputy city engineer of capital projects, said,  “We are underfunded for our street program. Currently, we are receiving approximately $2.5 million in funds, but it takes $6 million to fix the roads annually.”According to Ellen Bitters, deputy city engineer of capital projects, said,  “We are underfunded for our street program. Currently, we are receiving approximately $2.5 million in funds, but it takes $6 million to fix the roads annually.”
  • The council approved the annexation of the Madera Place Apartments Project that would allow 32 affordable units.
  •  Mayor Pro Tem Elsa Mejia voted as the voting delegate to represent Madera at the League of California Cities 2023 Annual Conference in Sacramento 

Follow-up questions

  • What is the timeline for the reconstruction road project on Adell Street and Park Street?
  • Who will qualify for the Madera Place Apartments Project?
  • When will the staff finalize the artwork project on State Route 99?

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 held in person on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2023, at 6 p.m., yet accessible via YouTube.

Officials Present:

Mayor Santos Garcia

Mayor Pro Tem Elsa Mejia, District 5

Council member Cece Gallegos, District 1

Council member Jose Rodriguez, District 2

Council member Steve Montes, District 3

Council member Anita Evans, District 4

Council member Artemio Villegas, District 6

Public Comment: 

A resident of Madera shared her devastating story of a family member being hit by a drunken  driver. She explained that the man who hit her had three DUIs and a suspended license, and she wanted to know why he is not in jail. She demanded to know from the public and the council who should take personal responsibility so this does not happen again. 


A-1: Continuation of Presentation of the Draft Fiscal Year 2023-24 to Fiscal Year 2027-28 Capital Improvement Program (CIP): Fire, Parks, Sewer and Water 

  • Joseph Hebert, Parks and Community Services Department director, explained the five-year plan based on public service projects. They are moving forward with facility improvements at McNally Park Rehabilitation and have a CDBG award of $609,307. 
  • Hebert said the goal is to finish the project by the end of September. 
  • Council member Anita Evans shared her gratitude for improving the parks. She said that parks bring the community together and is appreciative of the hard work. 
  • Mejia asked a question about the play area, and she mentioned the presentation from last year. She said the city did apply for a grant but did not receive it. 
  • Hebert answered that the team is reaching out to another vendor, and this is on their radar. He explained that they have gone through the process of determining what equipment is damaged and what else needs to be done. He said they are waiting for a rough estimate of the cost. Currently, there’s no timeline.
  • Ellen Bitter, deputy city engineer of capital projects, said all $23 million of the American Rescue Plan Act funds went to water and sewer infrastructure “with the intent to alleviate the burden on the ratepayers. with our long list of needs in both water and sewer.”
  • Ismeal Hernandez, Public Works Department director, said “We are replacing older chlorine units that are 20-plus years old.” 

Consent Calendar:

B-1: Approve the City Council Minutes of July 19, 2023.

B-2: Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands Recommendation: Review Register of Audited Demands Report for July 8, 2023, to July 21, 2023.

B-3: Second Reading and Adoption of an Ordinance Relating to City Council and Resolutions Relating to Council Protocols Guidebook Recommendation: Waive Full Reading and Adopt an Ordinance Adopting New Chapter 1 of Title II of the Madera Municipal Code Relating to City Council and Repeal of Current Chapter 1 of Title II

  • Approval of Consent Calendar as presented – Unanimously 

Public Hearings:

C-1 Public hearing for the Measure T Annual Expenditure Plan (AEP) for Fiscal Year 2023-24  Recommendation: 

1. Adopt a resolution approving the Measure T AEP for fiscal year 2023-24 and authorizing submission of the AEP to the Madera County Transportation Authority (MCTA) for adoption.

  • Bitter said “We are underfunded for our street program. Currently, we are receiving approximately $2.5 million in funds, but it takes $6 million to fix the roads annually.” 
  • She said that  measure T provides 53% of the funds for the city street rehab program.
  • Alexis Raymundo, an assistant engineer, said the city has a system called the payment condition index (PCI), which shows all the streets and which part of the city has the worst or best conditions. They are working on an expensive reconstruction project between Adell and Park streets. 
  •  Raymundo said, “Full reconstruction costs about $450,000. The worst streets are not necessarily the first to receive funding.”
  • Council member Jose Rodriguez asked about the funding for the table. 
  • Bitter said certain funds were allocated for the rehab center and that the rest of Measure T will be used to work on the three R projects: resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation. The bicycle and pedestrian projects are those that are currently funded through various sources, including CMAC and Measure T.
  • Mayor Pro Tem Mejia asked, “What is the process for selecting where the bike lanes go?” 
  • Bitter responded, “Actually, we conducted the study for active transportation. The bike lane projects are for the AHST grant that we got related to the veterans housing project, and so the bike lane is tied to the grant.”
    • Approval of C-1 – Unanimously 

C-2 Initiation of Proceedings for the Annexation of Madera Place Apartments Project (Phase 2 of the Madera Family Apartments Project) into Community Facilities District 2013-1

1. Adopting a boundary map showing the territory proposed for 

annexation to Community Facilities District No. 2013-1; and 

2. Declaring its Intention to annex territory to Community Facilities District No. 2013-1 (Public Services), Authorizing the levy of special taxes, and setting a public hearing (Annexation No. 1).

  • Will Tackett, development director, said Phase two of the project would allow 32 affordable units and would cost $225,298.64 for the 30-year term, which breaks down to just over $7,000 per unit for the entire term of the 30 years.
    • Approval of C-2 – Unanimously 

Petitions, Bids, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Agreements: 

D-1: Adoption of Ceremonial Document Guidelines Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving the Protocols Guidebook Section Concerning Ceremonial Documents 

  • Arnoldo Rodriguez explained that the guidelines were based on the council’s recommendations. Moving forward, the council will be receiving stock reports and annual lists of proclamations. 
  • Mejia requested to add Indigenous Peoples’ Day to the annual list.
    • Approval of D-1 with the addition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day to the annual list – Unanimously 

D-2: Designation of a Voting Delegate and Alternates for the League of California Cities 2023 Annual Conference. Adopt a resolution to designate a Voting Delegate and up to two Alternates for the 2023 League of California Cities Annual Business

  • Council member Cece Gallegos nominated Mejia as the voting delegate to represent Madera 
  • Villegas volunteers to be an alternative voting delegate
    • Approval of D-2, Mejia as the voting delegate and Villegas as alternate – Unanimously 

D-3: Legal Services Agreement for City Attorney Services to adopt a resolution approving a Legal Services Agreement with Aleshire & Wynder, LP, to provide city attorney services

  • Wendy Silva explained that the term of the agreement is for two years beginning Aug. 3, and it will renew annually thereafter based on satisfactory performance reviews. The firm must provide the city with 75 days’ notice of an intent to terminate, and it is up to the designated City Attorney, Chaffin.
    • Approval of D-2 – Unanimously 

D-4: State Route 99 Block Wall Enhancement Project Artwork Selection

Recommendation: Consider the Recommendations of the Arts Selection Committee and

Adopt a Resolution Approving Artwork for the State Route 99 Block Wall

Enhancement Project

  • Gabby Salazar, Community Services administrative analyst, explains, “The approval of a Transportation Arts Agreement between the Department of Transportation to create artwork on the newly constructed block wall on the east side of State Route 99. The artwork would be looking northbound on State Road.”
  • Salazar says that art maintenance will be established with Caltrans, and any damage to the frame will be the city’s responsibility. She assured the council that they will be working with the artist to try to use anti-graffiti frame holders 
  • Jim Kocher, executive director of the Madera County Arts Council, said, “The high-grade vinyl would make it easier to clean without destroying the art underneath it.” 
  • Council member Steve Montes said, “Graffiti is bound to happen, and it should not stop us from making art.” 
  • Kocher explained that the order of the panels is based on the Madera Art Council’s decision. He clarified that they have worked closely with the project and picked the order of options for a specific reason  
  • Most of the council members disagreed with Kocher, and decided on four favorite works of art that would best represent Madera.
  • Ultimately, the best course of action was to choose option 1 as is. 
  • Approval of D-4 option 1-  Unanimously 

Administrative Reports 

E1: Informational Report on USGA Site Visit to the Madera Municipal Golf Course

  • Hebert said the recommendations from USGA, which include upgrades to the irrigation system, increased weed control and putting greens. Funding for the Gold Course Capital Improvements is outlined within the contracts of Amendment Nine. 
  • Rodriguez said preferred to discuss in committee where the funding could go and what should be prioritized for the clubhouse.
  • No action is necessary 

Council member reports, announcements and future agenda items:  

  • Gallegos said, “We are cleaning out the river. Thank you for everyone’s hard work.”
  • Rodriquez asked if the future agenda item can also showcase the trails along the railroad tracks for cleanup. He said that accessible trails with potholes make it hard for people to enjoy the community trails. 
  • Evans said that seniors who are 55 and older qualify to receive free food in the park from the food bank at 7 a.m.
  • Mejia requested an update on Mulberry Park.
  • Villegas and Garcia talked about the back-to-school event that the community is hosting and is giving away backpacks for students. 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 p.m. The council’s next meeting will be Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.

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