Documented by Josef Sibala

Here’s what you need to know

  • At Tuesday’s meeting, the Reedley City Council authorized the city manager to submit a financial assistance application and related items to the California State Water Resources Control Board to install a water main on Parlier and Columbia avenues. 
  • The council authorized the grant application to the California Natural Resources Agency Urban Greening Grant Program for improvements to the Reedley Community Parkway. The total cost of these improvements and project oversight is approximately $500,000. The available funding for this round is $23.7 million. 
  • The council approved and authorized the city manager to execute all renewal documents and plan changes necessary to provide dental, medical and vision coverage for eligible city employees, retirees and dependents for 2024.
  • Reedley residents Martha Robles and Rosalda Morales asked for police patrol due to graffiti in their neighborhood. City Manager Nicole Zieba referred her to Police Chief Jose Garza for information. 

Follow-up questions

  • How will the changes in the new plan affect city employees?
  • How will the county promote business activities?

The Scene

According to its website, the City Council regularly meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Reedley City Council Chambers located at 845 “G” St. in Reedley,, 559-637-4200, ext. 212.

Reedley City Council members present:

  • Mayor Anita Betancourt
  • Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Tuttle
  • Council member Mary Fast
  • Council member Suzanne Byers
  • Council member Scott Friesen

Others present:   

  • City Manager Nicole Zieba
  • City Attorney Laurie Avedisian-Favini
  • Assistant City Manager Paul Melikian
  • City Clerk Ruthie Greenwood
  • Chief of Police Jose Garza
  • Assemblyman Devon Mathis 
  • Martha Robles and Rosalda Morales
  • City Engineer Marilu Morales
  • Community Services Director Sara Reed 
  • Greater Reedley Chamber Of Commerce President Erik Valencia


1. Presentation of a check to the city from Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia. 

Zieba said that $350,000 of the $600,000 check will go toward the sports park and $250,000 will help Family Assistance In Transitional Housing (FAITH) houses. 

Martha Robles and Rosalda Morales sought police patrols in their neighborhood because of graffiti. City Manager Nicole Zieba referred her Police Chief Jose Garza.

On the consent agenda, the council (6-0) approved the following items:

3. Minutes of the regular council meeting of Oct. 10

4. Authorization for the city manager to execute an agreement with the Giants Community Fund, allowing Reedley to provide the Jr. Giants Baseball Program.

According to the agenda packet report, Jr. Giants Baseball is a free program for children ages 5-13 during the summer months. 

During past seasons, the program has served 250 players. Players focus on character development, health, education, bullying prevention and learning fundamentals throughout the nine-week season. 

For the 2024 season, the Jr. Giants season is planned for June 10-Aug. 8. Games and practices are hosted in Camacho and Citizens parks and the Sports Park. The fund provides all needed equipment, uniforms and hats. It partners with AmeriCorps, which provides and funds ambassadors to work alongside city staff to meet the program’s demands. 

Ambassadors assist with recruiting coaches, required parent and player meetings, oversight of games and distribution of Jr. Giants materials and incentives. The city is responsible for league recruitment, organizing of teams and supervision of the overall program.

5. The council ratified an updated software services agreement with IWORQ Systems, Inc. for ongoing permit management, code enforcement, maintenance tracking and facilities work orders.

According to agenda packet information, the city pays a $32,600 annual software license fee to work. With the removal of the Water Division-specific software, the revised cost will be $26,850 annually. 

The city has worked with iWorQ software since 2019. The Public Works, Engineering, Community Development, Community Services and Fire departments use the iWorQ software platform to track and manage activities.

The software has worked well and met expectations, according to the city. Staff recently notified iWorQ that one of the software modules (for the Water Division) needed to meet original expectations and requested that it be removed from the annual subscription. 

An iWorQ representative notified staff that a new agreement was immediately required to continue services for all departments. A revised successor agreement was signed on Oct. 24 that would remove the Water Division-specific subscriptions and retain all others for an updated contract period of three years. 

Staff are also working on adding a subscription to the iWorQ platform for solar permitting using state grant funding; therefore, a contract amendment will be forthcoming within the next few months.

6. The council approved and authorized the city manager to execute all renewal documents and plan changes necessary to provide dental, medical and vision coverage for eligible city employees, retirees and dependents for 2024.

According to the agenda packet, over the last few months, the city’s insurance broker, Arrow Benefits Insurance Services (formerly Horstmann Financial and Insurance Services), solicited bids from various health insurance providers, including the city’s current providers, Anthem Blue Cross of California and Kaiser Permanente. 

After a review of available options, staff recommends that the city transition its existing Anthem Blue Cross HMO & PPO plans to the provider Blue Shield of California and retain Kaiser for the 2024 plan year with only nominal changes to coverage. 

Zieba said the city was last with Blue Shield of California for the 2020 plan year. The net increase to city contributions will be 1.11% across all plans, which is a well under-budgeted assumption for medical coverage this fiscal year. 

Remaining with Anthem Blue Cross would have resulted in an 11.28% increase for the 2024 plan year. This renewal follows four years of increases of 8.56% (2023), 5.48% (2022), 2.1% (2021), and 3.51% (2020), making this the lowest increase in years. 

The current projected annual cost for medical benefits for all full-time employees, under 65 retirees (nonMedicare eligible), and their dependents is $2.24 million for 2023, rising to $2.3 million for 2024, an increase of $24,872. 

Overall benefit plan renewals are below budgeted assumptions included in the fiscal year 2023-24 Adopted Budget, which is welcome news when many other areas of the city budget are being impacted by inflation.

7. The council approved and authorized the city manager to renew the annual services agreement with David Wellhouse & Associates Inc. for at most $4,500 to prepare and file claims for state-mandated cost (SB 90) reimbursement.

According to the staff report, State law (SB 90) provides for reimbursement of costs incurred by local agencies for various state-mandated laws and requirements, such as procedures related to Domestic Violence Arrests and Victim Assistance and Rape Victims Counseling Center Notices once approved by the Commission on State Mandates as a reimbursable mandate. 

The remainder of the eligible state-mandated services are detailed in the attached consulting agreement; however, the majority of claims historically submitted by the city have been for mandates under the purview of the police department. 

The city has routinely paid $4,500 to David Wellhouse & Associates for preparing and filing SB 90 reimbursement claims on the city’s behalf. Claims totaling $61,830 were filed last fiscal year. The latest state budget appropriated $166,085,000 for payment of mandates filed through 2022-23, 142% more than the amount appropriated last year. All claims submitted for reimbursement last year are again reimbursable this year. This amount is paid annually by offsetting the prior year’s SB 90 claims revenue received this fiscal year. 

Typically, reimbursement revenue from prior year claims is sufficient to cover the cost of filing current year claims, resulting in net additional revenue to the general fund. 

For example, last fiscal year (2022-23), the city received $23,160 in reimbursements and paid $4,500 to file new claims for a net benefit to the general fund of $18,660. 

No new appropriations are needed for the agreement. The total amount of prior year claims the state owes the city is $498,621, not including the value of the 2022-23 claims that will be filed this year. 

8. The council authorized the city manager to submit a financial assistance application and related items to the California State Water Resources Control Board to install a water main on Parlier and Columbia avenues. 

According to city staff, the city was contacted by multiple residents along Columbia Avenue and Parlier Avenue who receive water from wells, saying the wells have gone dry. Those residents were directed by staff to contact Self-Help to receive temporary water tanks and water bottles. 

Due to so many residents being affected, Self Help contacted the SWRCB to inquire about funding for installing a water main to serve all of the residents. 

The state asked that the city submit a letter of intent stating it was on board with the project and willing to connect the residents to the city’s water system before proceeding. 

On Sept. 13, 2022,cq the council authorized the submission of a letter of intent to the SWRCB regarding installing a water main on Parlier Avenue and Columbia Avenue to service approximately 34 rural residential lots.

Since then, staff has been working closely with Self Help and staff from SWRCB regarding this project. Self Help has contacted the various residents to see if there is interest in the project and to test the individual wells. 

The residents show a strong interest in connecting to the city water, and many residents have allowed their wells to be tested so that information can be provided to the state to show the need for the project. 

In addition, Self Help has retained Yamabe & Horn to help prepare a preliminary engineering report regarding the project’s feasibility. For the work on the project to continue, the city needs to submit a financial assistance application to the SWRCB. 

The city has made the state and Self Help aware that the city needs funds to install the water main and provide individual services to each resident; however, the city agrees with the project if the state can provide the funding. 

Staff requested that the council authorize the city manager to submit a financial assistance application for this project, as it will benefit many residents whose wells have already gone dry or are anticipated to go dry.

Fast asked how much the city area is, how many residents there are, and how much the city will pay for the water main.

City Engineer Marilu Morales said the scope consists of six parcels to be serviced and the remaining with the county. The state will pay for the water main.

9. The council adopted Resolution 2023-080, amending the Paid Sick Leave Policy under SB 616 for part-time employees and the accrual hours provided.

According to the agenda report, On Sept. 10, 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 that provided not less than 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave for eligible employees beginning July 1, 2015. 

On October 4, 2023, Gov. Newsom signed an amendment to the act to provide at least 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave for covered employees. 

No unused sick leave accrual is carried over to the following fiscal year, and part-time employees will be eligible to use the leave beginning on the 90th day of employment, defined as the number of days worked. 

Reedley’s part-time and hourly rated employees are not covered by any collective bargaining agreement (CBA), benefits resolution or other benefits policy. As such, these employees are subject to the provisions of the act. All other employees of the city are covered under CBAs or a benefits resolution that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for the act’s paid sick leave and is, therefore, not subject to the act. 

The city will incur additional personnel costs due to increasing the paid sick leave for part-time employees. 

10. The council adopted Resolution No. 2023-081, approving the final map for Tentative Parcel Map No. 2022-02

According to the agenda packet, the owner of Tentative Parcel Map Application No. 2022-02 is requesting the Reedley City Council approve the final map associated with the application by the Reedley Municipal Code. 

The Reedley Planning Commission approved the application on Nov. 2. Since a site plan review application was submitted concurrently with the tentative parcel map application, the Planning Commission reviewed and took action on both applications. 

Tentative Parcel Map Application No. 2022-02 pertains to a proposed commercial development located on a 4.19-acre parcel on the northeast corner of South Frankwood Avenue and East South Avenue. 

The commercial development includes a 5,216-square-foot gas station/convenience store with a drive-through and an 11,000-square-foot medical clinic. The applicant proposes splitting the land into two parcels; one will contain the gas station/convenience store, and the other will contain the medical clinic. 

The proposed project also entails shared vehicular access between the two parcels. The streets surrounding the proposed commercial development were improved by the development of Tract 6178, including new and relocated utilities. 

The improvements to be dedicated to the final map include the eastern half of Frankwood Avenue, which was expanded from a 30-foot right of way to a 42-foot right of way; this area was built out to include a bike lane, sidewalk, landscaping and lighting. 

Additionally, the northern half of South Avenue was expanded from a 30-foot right of way to a 53-foot  right of way that includes a bike lane, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting. 

The outstanding improvements include on-site improvements and connection to utilities. Since most of the needed improvements have already occurred at the site because of recent residential development, there is no need for an improvement agreement between the developer and the city.

All fees associated with processing the application were paid before Planning Commission action. Fees associated with the final map were paid before City Council action.

11. The council adopted a resolution of intention to annex the following territory (Annexation No. 21): APN’S 368-183-01, 368-183-02, 368-183-03, 368- 350-17, 368-350-31, 368-350-32, 368-350-33, 368-021-44S, 368-021-69S, 368-350-19, 368-350-35, 370-164-13, and 370-030-49 into Reedley Community Facilities District No. 2005-1 and to authorize the levy of special taxes and fixing the time and place of the public hearing for Jan. 9.

According to the agenda report, on Nov. 8, 2005, the City Council adopted Resolution 2005-122, establishing Reedley’s Community Facility District No. 2005-0. All developments processed after that date must be annexed to the CFD as a condition of development. The CFD was established to fund police, fire and park maintenance services based on the increased need for new development. 

To initiate the process of annexing a territory or territories to a CFD, the council must approve a Resolution of Intention (“ROI”) to annex the territory to the district. The ROI included with this report includes various actions necessary to annex the CFD. Previous property annexations have been completed every year since the formation of the CFD. 

The areas to be annexed are shown below and on the attached map, which the City Clerk will submit to the Fresno County Recorder’s office within 15 days of adopting the Resolution of Intention.

Projects such as La Villita, Otani, Surf Thru, Kashian, Duff Duplex and Manning Buffet are included in the annexation. 

12. The council adopted Resolution No. 2023-085 authorizing the grant application to the California Natural Resources Agency Urban Greening Grant Program for improvements to the Reedley Community Parkway.

According to the staff report, the California Natural Resources Agency Urban Greening Grant Program funds projects that reduce greenhouse gases by sequestering carbon, decreasing energy consumption and reducing vehicle miles traveled while also transforming the built environment into places that are more sustainable, enjoyable and effective in creating healthy and vibrant communities.

Competitive projects will maximize opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible projects may acquire, create, enhance or expand community parks/green spaces, and examples include recreational trails, urban heat island mitigation and enhancing tree canopy/shade trees. 

Staff have identified an underdeveloped section of the Community Parkway (Rail to Trail) between Dinuba and where the trail ends at the back of the Sports Park as a good fit for this grant program. 

The project scope would include solar trail lighting along this section, as well as a small Huntsman area already lighted with streetlights. 

The grant application also includes adding 50-60 shade trees, irrigation system improvements, benches and picnic tables between the sections of Dinuba and Buttonwillow. The shade trees would be a welcome addition during the spring and summer months, and the solar lighting would be well utilized during the shorter days of the fall and winter seasons. 

Staff have also reached out to Tree Fresno, a previous partner on several tree planting projects, and they are very interested in working with the city to provide consultation and tree stock for the project. The total cost of these improvements and project oversight is approximately $500,000.

The available funding for this round is $23.7 million. The city would be reimbursed for 100% of eligible grant expenses. 

13. The council rejected the claim of Universal Meditech, Inc.

According to the agenda report, the claim filed by Thomas Business Law Group, P.C., on behalf of Universal Meditech lnc, the city unlawfully seized and destroyed assets valued at $30 million owned by the claimant and located at 850 I St. in Reedley. 

Staff recommended a complete rejection of the claim. 

Administrative business is as follows:

14. Consideration of items about rehanging the five murals that were removed from the Royal Valley Building and relocating the murals to the Reedley Parkway 

A. The council (6-0) approved and authorized the city manager to execute the special initiative grant agreement with Sierra Kings Health Care District 3.

B. The council (6-0) adopted Resolution No. 2023-083, amending the 2023-24 Reedley Adopted Budget to appropriate $7,000 in the general fund to cover costs associated with the materials to fabricate frames for the murals. 

According to the agenda packet, since the destruction of the Royal Valley Building, which used to stand behind City Hall, the five murals that hung on the back of the building have been stored at the City of Reedley Public Works Yard. 

Community Services Director Sara Reed said the staff has considered different options for returning the murals to public view. Along the Reedley Parkway are murals on the fence alongside Reedley Lock and Leave Self Storage. 

Staff recommended the five murals be relocated to this same area on the trail but on the opposite side of the trail, creating a mural alley-type feel. Because of the size of the murals, they will not fit alongside the Reedley Lock and Leave Self Storage fence; instead, they need a frame to hang on. 

Reedley and Sierra Kings Health Care District (SKHCD) have worked together on different projects and will work together again on this project. The city requested a grant to fund the materials needed for the frames. 

Reedley Public Works staff will fabricate, paint and install the frames, as well as secure the murals to the frames. 

The grant will fund all materials needed to fabricate the frames. The staff has recently evaluated the murals’ condition, and said a little touch up is needed. A local artist suggested the murals be cleaned, and a new graffiti coat applied. 

Budget Amendment 2023-083 requested $7,000 in appropriations to pay for the materials needed to fabricate the five frames for the murals to be relocated to the Reedley Parkway. The city will receive reimbursement through a grant with SKHCD for the cost of the materials.

Report, discussion and other council action to approve, modify and take other action consisted of the following:

15. Consideration of items on amending the joint-use agreement between Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD) and the city. 

A. The council (6-0) approved and authorized the city manager to execute the third amended and restated facility usage master cooperation agreement and all pertaining documents. 

B. The council adopted Resolution No. 2023-084, amending the 2023-24 adopted budget to appropriate $3,572 in the general fund to cover the costs associated with a part-time recreation leader to oversee the public use of the pickleball and tennis courts at Reedley High School.

According to the city report, staff has communicated with the school district), discussing the city’s desire to use the pickleball courts recently constructed on the Reedley High School campus. Community Services Director Sara Reed said that KCUSD and the city have a longstanding joint-use agreement that benefits both organizations. 

There are no public pickleball courts in Reedley, so the city is interested in using KCUSD for organized programming and public use. 

At the Community Services Commission meeting on Aug. 24, it was suggested the city request the use of the tennis courts located at Reedley High School since no public tennis courts are available. Through discussions with KCUSD, it was determined that while the pickleball courts are in use, the tennis courts can also be made available. 

The third amendment does not change current processes but adds the city’s ability to use the pickleball and tennis courts now listed under section 3 of the district’s facilities. 

While reviewing the second amendment language for this item, it was discovered that T L Reed was not listed as one of the practice fields available for city use. This facility has now been added and is presumed to have just been an oversight. 

Both KCUSD and the city expect that during the use of the other facility, there is a staff member present from the user organization to oversee the event or activity and ensure the facility is being left in the condition it was found and all rules are being followed. 

This new program will fall under the adult sports division within the Community Services Department, so staff is requesting appropriations to cover the staff time. 

Staff is working to make the pickleball and tennis courts available to the public starting the week of Jan. 15,, once school resumes after the winter break. The city will request use on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

Workshop were as follows:

16. The council received an update from the Reedley Chamber of Commerce 

Greater Reedley Chamber Of Commerce President Erik Valencia said the chamber has embarked on “Good Morning Reedley” meetings and other business outreach activities. 

17. The council received, reviewed  and filed the quarterly investment report for the first quarter ending Sept. 30, for fiscal year 2023-24 

According to the agenda packet report, portfolio earnings, net of fees for the first quarter total $335,117. Prior first quarter net portfolio earnings for the same 12-month period one year ago were $347,718, reflecting a sharp turnaround in earnings due to rising interest rates. 

This year’s adopted budget assumes $100,505 in interest earnings for the entire fiscal year; therefore, actual earnings for just the first quarter already exceed this estimate by $234,612. 

This is due to higher interest rates being earned on investments and the city being in a favorable cash position, so interest earnings are expected to be strong in the interim; however, the city has a large number of capital projects in the pipeline, so as the projects get underway, the treasury pool amount and corresponding interest earnings will be reduced. 

The Federal Reserve continues tightening monetary policy, with recent sustained interest rate hikes to curb rampant inflation. On term investments, such as certificates of deposit, the city can reinvest at higher rates and anticipates better portfolio performance going forward. 

In addition, on Jan. 10, the council approved an amendment to the city’s investment policy that allowed the California Asset Management Program (CAMP) to be a permissible investment option for the city’s idle funds. 

Staff have since invested a portion of the city’s treasury pool in CAMP, with a balance of $16,917,546 as of Sept. 30, and the current yield is 5.56%. 

The year-end interest earnings are a bit understated because a portion of the amount invested with CAMP is in “term investments” (similar to a certificate of deposit) that do not formally report the interest earned until maturity later this fiscal year, which will further enhance earnings. 

The attached investment/pooled cash report shows additional detail for cash balances by the city fund. 

The treasury pool for the city, representing the cumulative balance of all funds, totals $29.4 million as of Sep. 30, which is $3.5 million lower than the last quarter ending June 30. 

One year ago, the treasury pool from the same 12-month period was $25.6 million as of Sept. 30, 2022. All financial investment instruments are constantly monitored and assessed for safety, liquidity and yield, 

It is important to note that the city’s principal value of these investments is secure at all times, and the values that are being reported are the market values at a specific point in time. 

All portfolio investments comply with the city’s current investment policy, and staff does not anticipate any issues with the city’s ability to meet expenditure requirements for the next six months.

The meeting lasted until 10 p.m. The next City Council meeting will be on Nov. 28.

 If you believe anything is inaccurate, Please email us at with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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