Documented by Kristina Mansfield

 Here’s what you need to know

  • The Madera City Council adopted a resolution approving a $2.9 million contract for work on the renovation of the Loy Cook Water Tower, located on the southwest corner of South and Columbia streets.
  • A resolution was adopted approving a tax share agreement with the city and county of Madera. 
  • The Madera Place Apartments Project is proceeding with the annexation process. The project includes the development of 32 affordable multi-family residential units; the city will receive $225,299 in prepaid taxes from the developer. 

Follow-up questions

  • Is it reasonable to expect Spanish/Hmong/Chinese-to-English translators to always be available at city council meetings without requesting one in advance? This week’s meeting included a speaker who invited council members to attend an event in three different languages, none of which this documenter understood. 
  • What was the timeline on the creation, execution and adoption of the tax share agreement? The presentation contained a lot of legalese that the council made note of in member comments, 

The Scene 

The regular meeting of the Madera City Council took place Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at 205 W. 4th St. in Madera. Already a full house, eight extra chairs were brought out to accommodate all of the in-person attendees. The meeting was also live-streamed at and a recording is available after it ends on the city’s YouTube channel

Madera City Council meetings are open to the public and also available for public viewing and participation through Zoom. Members of the public may comment on agenda items at the meeting or remotely through an electronic meeting via phone by dialing (559) 900-6833 (enter ID: 837 7675 6202#). Comments will also be accepted via email at or by regular mail at 205 W. 4th St., Madera, CA 93637. Detailed instructions on the many ways you can participate in the council meetings can be found on the agenda here. Regular meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. 


Mayor Pro Tem Elsa Mejia called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. 

In attendance were: 

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

Mayor Santos Garcia was absent. City Clerk Alicia Gonzalez was also present.


Pastor Sam Neely, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, led the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance.. 


The agenda was approved without any edits. 


The first 15 minutes of the meeting are reserved for members of the public to address the board on any items not on the agenda but within its jurisdiction. Each speaker has three minutes to address the board. 

  • Anthony Duran, a student from Kerman High School, along with four others and an advisor, invited council members to attend the school’s upcoming College and Career Day. “We’re setting up colleges for people who want to seek education or other opportunities after high school,” Duran said. “The military is going to be there, different colleges like Merced, Madera Community. Everyone is welcome.”  
  • Rosa Hernandez, a resident of Madera, made a comment in Spanish. She spoke uninterrupted for 2:30 seconds. No translator was provided. You can hear an audio recording of the meeting here.
  • Maria Mendoza, a resident of District 2, also made a comment in Spanish. You can hear an audio recording of it here. Her comments were about Guelaguetza. 
  • Ulyessa Torres, a member of the Comite Guelaguetza Madera, invited council members to attend the upcoming Guelaguetza – an indigenous and ancestral celebration in the Mexican state of Oaxaca – Sunday Oct. 8 at Sunrise Rotary Sports Complex. “While this is an Oxacan celebration, it’s also about community and you’re all our community.”
  • Uma Gomez, member of the community: “This year I have a community group that will be taking over the Dia de los Muertos celebration the community started two years ago. I am reaching out to you today to request your sponsorship for a Day of the Dead event to cover event decorations, group performances and community outreach.”


There was no written public comment. 



  • A proclamation was presented recognizing Oct. 9, 2023, as Indigenous People’s Day. 
  • Gallegos presented a proclamation recognizing October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Two-time breast cancer survivor Caroline Williams said, “It really does affect families — not just the individuals going through the treatment. And also men.”
  • Mejia presented a proclamation recognizing the month of October 2023 as Disability Awareness Month. The recipient D.J. Becker joined the meeting via Zoom. “I sound like a frog, but I’m here,” he said. “Thank you very much to the city for all the progress. We’re looking forward to reducing barriers for all Maderans. I’m happy to say we’re making real progress with sidewalks and infills.” 
  • A proclamation was presented recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Mattie Mendez and Jennifer Coronado from CAPMC (Community Action Partnership of Madera County) received the proclamation and shared statistics from their organization. During an 11-month period, 497 people contacted them for information about services, and 1,013 “just bed nights” of adults and children were provided and 29 children stayed at their shelter. 
  • Rosa M. Galindo, Madera Unified School District (MUSD) program manager, gave a five-minute overview of education mandates and services offered by the Children & Youth in Transition Program (CYT). 




  • Kendall Flint, regional director of Community Engagement and Strategic Planning at DKS Associates, a firm hired to do public outreach and education, gave an informational update about Measure T alongside Deputy Director at Madera County Transportation Commission Troy McNeil.
  • Informational updates require no actionable items from the City Council.
  • Flint said they are recruiting for four representatives in each of the five supervisorial districts in Madera County for the citizen-driven process. “The idea is that we want a very diverse group of people, we want a group of people of all ages, all ethnic backgrounds, all different types of political views, in order to make the research into Measure T as comprehensive as possible.”
  • Gallegos asked about the time commitment for each committee member. Flint said they’re looking at five to six 90-minute meetings. “Forty-seven percent of the maintenance and operations budget comes from Measure T funds,” said Villegas. “It is important and essential that we keep that funding coming.” 


A motion was made by Montes, which passed unanimously. 


C-1: A public hearing and presentation was given regarding Program Year 2022-23 Community Block Grant (CDBG) Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) and financial summary was held. 

  • The CAPER provides an overall update to HUD. It reflects the city’s continued progress in both spending its CDBG funds in a timely manner and meeting the program’s primary objectives.
  • The city received $922,010 for its program year 2022-23 CDBG allocation. The total disbursement amount was $350,478. It is expected that significant reductions in the remaining project balances will be made before June 30, 2024. 
  • Montes moved to adopt, which the council approved unanimously. 

C-2:  A public hearing was held regarding Annexation 1 (Madera Place Apartments) into Community Facilities District 2013-1 under the Mello Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 and Related Actions..

  • Will Tackett, community development director, presented the item to the council. 
  • On March 20, 2013, by Resolution 13-41, the council established CFD 2013-1, a Mello Roos Community Facilities District, with the intention that future development within the city would be annexed into this district.
  •  “The special taxes collected from the property owners are used for the funding of police and fire protection services, storm drain infrastructure maintenance and operations, and park maintenance,” Tackett told the council. Phase 2 of the Madera Place Apartments Project is proceeding with the annexation process. The project includes the development of 32 affordable multi-family residential units.
  • As an alternative to the annual assessment of the special tax which typically occurs, the developer has proposed to prepay the special tax for a period of 30 years, totalling $7,040.58 per unit for the 30-year term, collected prior to the issuance of occupancy. The estimated total revenue that will be received by the  city for the 32 units for the initial 30-year term is $225,299.
  • Montes made a motion to approve that was carried unanimously.


D-1: Modifications to the city of Madera Classification Plan and Adjustment of Salary Ranges for certain positions.

  • Wendy Silva, director of Human Resources, made the presentation. The City Council voted 5-1 to adopt resolutions that:
    • Modified the City of Madera Classification Plan by replacing the existing park planning manager classification with parks project manager and replacing information services manager with director of information technology; 
    • Approved a side letter agreement with the Mid Management Employee Group regarding adjustment of salary ranges for represented professional civil engineer positions; and
    • Modified and set the assigned salary ranges for the classifications of associate civil engineer, senior civil engineer, deputy city engineer, city engineer, and director of information technology, and adopted the city’s full-time salary schedule.. 

D-2: Consideration of adoption of a tax-sharing agreement between the City of Madera and the County of Madera

  • Tackett presented the item. 
  • Adopted a resolution approving a tax-sharing agreement between the city of Madera and county of Madera. 
  • Gallegos made a motion to approve, which carried unanimously. 

D3: Contract award for the renovation of the Cook Water Tower, City Project W-22 and W-34

  • Adopted a resolution approving a $2.9 million contract for work on the renovation of the Loy Cook Water Tower. 
  • Steve Bettencourt, senior civil engineer, presented the report to the council about the contract award.. Located on the southwest corner of South and Columbia streets, the water tower was built in 1962, and has a capacity of 1 million gallons of water. 
  • The highly specialized work contract will include scaffolding on the interior and exterior of the tank to perform a variety of work on all surfaces, structural upgrades to the tower by replacing bracing between the legs and tank and repainting the MADERA logo and sign to its original size and color. 
  • The tower was due for updates including: structural upgrades required to bring it up to seismic codes, removal/replacement of interior coating, removal/repainting of the tank’s exterior and replacement of the 16-inch water supply line and valves supplying the water tower. 
  • Adopted a resolution approving a project funding amendments appropriating $604,078 to the fiscal year 2023/24 CP budget. The project is programmed in the capital improvement projects budget for fiscal year 2023-24 using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Water utility funds are programmed for the project in the fiscal year 2023-24 Capital Improvement Projects.. 
  • Unified Field Services Corp. is the contractor. Per their website, the company offers a wide array of industrial, mechanical and civil construction services. The council also approved a contingency of 10% of the contract amount and a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Class 1 Categorical Exemption (existing facilities). Class 1 consists of the operation, repair, maintenance, permitting, leasing, licensing or minor alteration of existing public or private structures, facilities, mechanical equipment or topographical features, involving negligible or no expansion of existing or former use. 
  • Rodriguez asked why there were only two bids for the project. “It’s a specialty kind of work, a speciality kind of paint, sand blasting. The entire tank will be tented, like a house. Full-time inspection, which the engineer will be providing. There’s not a lot of contractors to pull from,” Bettencourt replied. 
  • Rodriguez also talked about the integrity of the structure and mentioned specific improvements that need to be done. “We were surprised that the tank was sound because it was built in 1962 and seismic codes were much different back then,” he said. 
  • Gallegos made a motion to approve, which carried unanimously. 


E-1: Riverview Park Playground Equipment Installation

Joseph Hebert, Parks & Community Services director, gave a summary report about the playground equipment installation at Riverview Park Playground. 

  • The Department of Transportation awarded $832,350 to Madera via its Clean California Local Grant Program. The programs goals include:
    • Reduce waste and debris 
    • Beautify and improve public spaces 
    • Enhance public health and cultural connection by improving public spaces for walking and recreation 
    • Advance equity for underserved communities 
    • Litter abatement along the Fresno River 
    • Restoration of the Vernon McCullough cross-city trail system
    • Installation of exercise equipment in a section of the trail
    • Removal of current trash bins and installation of new trash receptacles along the trail
    • Installation of playground equipment with a swing set at Riverview Park (which sits adjacent to the Fresno River) 
    • Installation of educational signs and trail markers along the trail
    • Installation of trash receptacles 
  • Community feedback in opposition to the installation of the playground equipment:
    • The playground will bring unwanted noise to a quiet neighborhood. 
    • Some neighbors were not aware of the project.
    • Playground will obstruct the view of the river, increase/attract activity of homeless people.
  • Community feedback in support of the installation of the playground equipment:
    • Increase value of neighborhood 
    • Having a park with a playground brings increased Police Department patrols. 
    • The addition of a park would not either increase or attract additional illicit activity to the area.
  • Hebert said park improvement plans include the installation of a 90-foot by 40-foot toddler lot play area geared toward 2-5 year olds. There are no restrooms, picnic areas or grills. “This isn’t a recommendation – we’re asking for direction. I’ve been here a few times talking about this.” 
  • Montes said, “I’m always trying to advocate for amenities in my district. I’m not rich and we don’t have a lot of swings on my side of town. It’s in my district and I think we will continue to move forward, and hopefully the people who were opposed will get to know their neighbors.” Hebert said he understood the council’s feedback and will move forward with installation. 


  • Gallegos gave a shout-out to Nick Salinas for chairing the Old Timer’s Day Parade. She mentioned her brother recently had a park named after him. 
  • Montes echoed the sentiments of others on the board and thanked “Joe and Jaime in Public Works for taking care of some issues from the community about roadways.” Rodriguez also acknowledged October’s breast cancer awareness programs and thanked Evans and Gallegos for their participation in the efforts.  
  • Villegas thanked Madera’s police force for the city’s event and parade. Evans invited the public to attend an upcoming event hosted by the NAACP at the Burrito King. 


The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 p.m. into closed session. 


The Madera City Council will meet again on Nov. 1. There will not be a quorum for the Oct. 18 meeting due to a scheduling conflict. 

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The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...

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