RECORDER PHOTO BY ALEXIS ESPINOZA

Nothing but standing room was left in the Council chambers Tuesday, Feb. 26 for the Lindsay City Council meeting, where many locals gathered to hear what decisions would be made concerning the Friday Night Market.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please see Saturday’s edition of The Recorder for more details on Lindsay’s recent funds transfer activity

Trying to enter the Council chambers for the Lindsay City Council meeting Tuesday evening proved to be a small challenge as the room was packed to the brim. So many people were in attendance that finding room to stand was difficult. The large crowd had gathered to discuss and hear what decisions the Council would make in regards to the Friday Night Market.

The ongoing situation between the Chamber of Commerce and the city continued to escalate with Tuesday night’s discussion, where ultimately the Council decided with a 5-0 vote to keep the market downtown on Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. It was suggested during this discussion that parking limits be placed so that more parking would be available from time to time, however this idea was quickly shot down. 

The Council agreed that the application period for the Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new market manager should not be extended as the period ends tomorrow at 4 p.m. Council member Yolanda Flores stated that it wouldn’t be wise to move the market because the amount of businesses that want it to stay in its known location outweighs the complaints from businesses who would like for it to move.

The audience wasn’t just there to hear the decisions on the market however, after a podcast was recently published online criticizing a resolution that was passed at a previous Council meeting approving the transfer of monies from one fund to another. A staff report from Feb. 12 read, “The finance department is requesting permission to take a series of corrective actions to reverse errors, to address and resolve negative cash balances in some funds, and create advances, to vacate some advances by converting them to transfers.” The staff report goes on to say “The City is functionally bankrupt. It receives enough revenue each year to pay its annual expenses but not enough to build reserves or repay advances.” 

The Council approved four corrective actions, with a vote of 5-0, with the hope of resolving negative balance issues within some funds and maintain a sustainable recovery for the city. On Tuesday, the Council received plenty of backlash for what some are labeling a “mismanagement of funds.”

Robin Perna, the president of the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce, approached the stand to present a check to the Council with the remaining total of the balance the Chamber had acquired with the city. Perna explained that the Chamber had been working nonstop on fundraisers to raise the money to pay off the city.

Police Chief Chris Hughes was proud to inform the Council of a life-saving event that officers from the Lindsay Police Department took part in.

“On Dec. 18, at approximately 4:02 a.m., a 911 call was made from an apartment complex in the 500 block of east Honolulu Street, in regards to a subject having an apparent heart attack,” said Hughes. 

He continued to explain that once on scene, responding officers Sergeant Eddie Alcantar and Officer Chris Dempsie located the patient, 45-year-old Marcos Martinez, who was in apparent cardiac arrest with no pulse or respiration. The officers immediately began CPR until EMTs arrived to perform advanced life saving strategies. Martinez was transported to Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia where he made a complete recovery.

After Chief Hughes presented the crew who saved Martinez’s life, Officer Adriana Nave updated the Council on the car seat safety event held at the police station. Nave reported a good turnout where 39 car seats were checked. Out of the 39, only one car seat was being used correctly, creating a 97% misuse rate among those who had their seats checked. Nave stated that a second car seat event was being planned, but the police department is open to car seat inspections at any time.

The conversation soon switched to the prospect of retail cannabis businesses coming in to the city. The Council agreed that if there were to be a retail site, it should be downtown, possibly on Elmwood Avenue or Honolulu Street. It was suggested that the Council allow two retail businesses to come into town, and that incentives be offered for developments in blighted buildings. An Ad-Hoc Committee consisting of Council members Roseana Sanchez and Flores was formed for further study of retail cannabis businesses.

A second Ad-Hoc Committee was formed during the night to review rates and fees in the city. The City of Lindsay generates revenue through their rates and fees, and City Clerk Bret Harmon suggested it was time for a review of the current rates and fees. Mayor Pamela Kimball and Council member Lara Cortes both volunteered to sit on the committee.

A third Ad-Hoc Committee was formed to work with Kiwanis Club and the Lindsay High School Key Club to beautify and upgrade Harvard Park. The Council had been previously presented with information from a study conducted by the Key Club on the wants of the public for Harvard Park. The Kiwanis Club partnered with the Key Club to present the results to the Council and to pitch ideas about the park’s future. 

Council member Sanchez was excited to join the committee, as was Council member Brian Watson. The two Council representatives will meet with both clubs to brainstorm ideas to beautify Harvard Park with new play equipment and possibly a walking path.

Before the meeting adjourned, Kimball was elected as a small city representative on the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).

The next City Council meeting is slated for March 12 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Council chambers at City Hall located at 251 E. Honolulu Street.

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