Los Banos City Council meeting was held on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. The City recognized Sara Blevins as employee of the month, appointed Gerald Giesel to the Measure P oversight committee, revised the city’s water plan, and reviewed its investments. Representatives from State Assembly Woman Esmeralda Soria and Congressman John Duarte were present at the meeting. Mayor Paul Llanez and Council Member Douglas Begonia Jr. were absent due to a training.
Sara Blevins, Assistant City Clerk, and HR Analyst within the city’s administration was recognized for her outstanding performance and dedicated service. Ms. Blevins was awarded the Employee of the Month for January 2023. A young member of Ms. Blevins’ family was present to receive the award for her.
The first to speak was mobile home resident Claudia Nunez, echoing her previous appearances, asking for the council to clear the homeless encampment. Representatives from State Assembly Woman Esmeralda Soria and Congressman John Duarte spoke up during the meeting, both mentioning that their elected official is willing to work with the city and serve them as their national and state representatives. Blanche Jorge of the Elk’s Lodge gave a report on their situation, having spent three full grants, the Elks Lodge provided warm clothing and blankets to the homeless & those with PG&E trouble. The Elks Lodge also donated food to an unnamed group for the needy. Roy Todd of the LB Chamber of Commerce gave a report; The Chamber grew by two new members since the last report and is eagerly looking forward to its upcoming events such as the Spring Street Faire on April 15th.
Voted on in a block, the following items on the Consent Agenda were passed: a check registrar with a total amount of $4,925,031.82; a report regarding the investment of inactive funds in the second quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year of which most invested by the City is the Local Agency Investment Fund at $50,769,063. Additionally, the minutes for the meeting of January 18, 2023, were approved. An application for a late claim of liability for the date of January 16, 2022, was denied on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence that the claim was not filed sooner due to a mistake, the deadline to make a claim was six months later on July 16th, 2022.
Also included in the consent agenda was another extension of the City’s ability to teleconference if need be. Gerald Giesel was appointed to the Measure P Citizens Oversight Committee, which oversees a sales tax appropriate for the Police and Fire Departments. The last item on the Consent Agenda was the raising of salary schedules for the following positions:
HR Director from $9.3k – $11.9k to $9.7k- $12.5k and Community & Economic Development director from $9.3k – $11.9k to $12.52k- $15,596. This last item was removed from the Agenda by Deborah Lewis, citing concerns over the disparity of the wage increase. The item was moved to be voted on in the next meeting when Finance Director, Kuhn, would be able to provide more details on it.
Revised Urban Water Management Plan
Following the Consent Agenda, the revised 2020 Urban Water Management(UWMP) and Water Shortage Contingency Plans(WSCP) were revised. The reason for the revision was that the City did not meet its goal of 165 gallons/person/day (GPD) in 2020, but did from 2016-2020. The Dept. of Water Resources (DWR), did not accept the City’s reasonings that the pandemic and at-home work led to more water use, for not meeting the stated goal. DWR not accepting that reasoning made the city ineligible for state grants and loans. When the census results for 2020 became available, the city is now able to show that Los Banos’ water consumption was 163 GPD for 2020. The new revisions do not include any new programs or restrictions that the city is not already enforcing just updating the population figure within the plan.
There were public notices of three public hearings taking place on February 8, 2023 at 6:00 pm within the Council chambers at 520 J street. The first hearing will be on giving Roundup Bar & Grill a general alcohol type 47 license up from its current type 41 license. The second is on giving Dennis Lingo (dba Bentley and Papa Hotdog) a mobile food vendor permit. The third is a site plan review, regarding a proposed 56,271 sq/f self-storage facility at the Northeast Corner of Johnson Rd. and Willmott Ave.
Temporary City Manager Stacy Elms gave a report, giving big thanks to the City Engineer and Public Works Director Nirorn Than for their work in fixing the sewer break. Also included in her report, was that the homeless encampment has been officially given a 30-day notice, and the Public Works Director salary will be increased to $16,259 monthly.
Following the City Manager, Brett Jones also thanked the efforts of the Public Works Department for their efforts in fixing the sewer break. Jones also welcomed the new City Treasurer, Lucy Lawrence. Kenneth Lambert followed up by thanking Mr. Than for his efforts, and welcoming Lucy Lawrence.
There was no Closed Session during this meeting.
The next regular city council meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023. Meetings are live-streamed and archived on the official Los Banos YouTube channel.