Los Banos City Council considers $101.6 million annual budget, $500,000 to furnish new police station

On June 6, 2022 by Allen D. Payton

Adopts Military Equipment Use Policy, approves development agreement for 271 homes

During their meeting on Wednesday, June 1, the Los Banos City Council reviewed the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 of $101,584,632 which includes annual deficit of $2.3 million. But the city will operate with a positive fund balance of $112,000.

In addition, the council adopted a Military Equipment Use Policy, approved a development agreement with Anderson Homes for 271 single- family homes on the west side of town, 5% and 10% increases to the annual Landscape & Lighting District Assessments, adopted a resolution calling and giving notice of the Nov. 8, 2022 city elections, and honored several individuals, a business and a church.

Budget Presentation & Workshop

According to the staff presentation, the budget includes $250,000 for police department vehicle replacement, patch rebranding at a cost of $25,000 and $500,000 to furnish the new police station. Of that amount, $250,000 will be from of the General Fund and another $250,000 from Measure P funds. The purchase of a new $35,000 motorcycle will be from Measure H funds.

The budget for Code Enforcement will increase by $41,000 for upgrading the animal shelter, microchips and vaccines, and one additional Animal Control vehicle.

An increase in Fire Department spending will include enough funds for one more firefighter for full staffing at Station 2.

The Streets budget will increase by $1.5 million to cover the costs of several projects throughout the city.

The Maintenance budget will include $1.3 million with some of the funds used to replace vehicles from 1994 and 1998. Some of the maintenance workers’ time gets distributed to the Lighting and Landscape Districts for a total of $912,000.

The budget projects receiving federal ARPA funds of $4.9 million, again in the new fiscal year. Staff is proposing spending a total of $3.3 million with $555,000 more for the RAD Card program and $1.8 million on buildings and structures. The money must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.

District 2 Councilmember Refugio Llamas asked about “the funds for the classroom range, will it improve the firing range?”

Police Chief Gary Brizzee responded by saying, “the goal is to be able to hold classes, there” with the addition of a restroom, which it’s been without since the facility was first built in the 1970’s.

“I’m glad to hear that. It’s a long time coming,” Llamas responded.

However, there won’t be anyimprovements to the firing range, the chief added.

Llamas then asked if signage for some of the parks without signs is included in the budget.

“Yes. It’s being funded out of Measure H funding,” Parks and Recreation Operations Manager Joe Heim responded.

The annual budget is expected to be adopted following a public hearing at the council’s meeting on June 15, before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

Council Adopts Military Equipment Use Policy

Following a second presentation by Police Operations Commander Justin Melden, the council adopted a Military Equipment Use policy in response to AB 481 which was signed into law, last year. The first presentation was at the meeting on May 18. The council was required to adopt the policy, “prior to the law enforcement agency funding, acquiring, or using military equipment,”according to the staff report.

“Every law enforcement agency in the state of California is required to present on this topic,” Melden stated. “More than anything, this presentation is to meet a new legal requirement to continue the use of equipment we’ve been using, in some cases, for decades.”

Without anyone speaking during the public hearing on the item or discussion by council, District 4 Councilmember Deborah Lewis moved to adopt the ordinance. The motion was seconded by Llamas and it passed unanimously.

“Very good. We need that equipment. Fighting crime, it really is a war, and you really have to be equipped to fight because some of them, they are very well equipped, themselves,” Mayor Tom Faria added.

Approve $25,000 to Cover Costs of November City Elections

As part of the Consent Calendar, the council adopted of a resolution calling and giving notice of the November 8, 2022 City of Los Banos Municipal Election and approved spending $25,000 to cover the costs.

The positions up for election this fall will be:

Mayor “at-large” for a full term of two years, Council Member for District 2 for a full term of four years, Council Member for District 3 for a full term of four years, City Clerk “at-large” for a full term of four years; and City Treasurer “at-large” for a full term of four years.

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