Tuesday night’s Lindsay City Council meeting was chalk full of discussions, but a presentation from Tulare County Area Transportation (TCaT) left the Council with some questions.
TCAT’s Chief Engineer Ross Miller gave a brief overview of the proposed service changes to the City of Lindsay, before directing the attention to Albert Barragan, the transit representative for the Resource Management Agency. Barragan claimed control of the presentation and began to explain to the Council that there would be some changes implemented to fixed routes and the Dial-A-Ride services offered to Lindsay residents. He stated that one of TCaT’s goals is to offer better accessibility to TCaT riders in Lindsay, but during some hours of the day the buses are not being used to their fullest potential.
Barragan said that the service hours for the Dial-A-Ride service, which riders have access to with reservations, would be reduced to two separate periods of time. The Dial-A-Ride service is now available only from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then again from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Same day reservations are still available to riders, and new routes have been established to make TCaT services more available and accessible to the residents of Lindsay.
When public comment was opened for the night, Trudy Wischemann stepped forward to express her concerns about the hiring practices of the city staff in regards to the City Clerk position. Wischemann made a comment about the “selective hiring” within the city staff.
Dale Rains stepped up to the podium as the second and final speaker for the night and spoke words of appreciation to both the Council and the staff. He stated that he appreciated the leadership of all those on the dais and urged them to keep up the good work.
Before moving into the routine reports, the Council took a moment to honor Jan Owens and Jim Kliegl for the work they did to re-light the Lindsay Community Theater marquee. After neon in the sign was broken in an act of vandalism, and after several failed attempts to get the neon replaced, the twon men took it upon themselves to get the job done. Kliegl began to research LED rope lighting and watched YouTube videos on how to install it. After purchasing the materials needed, Kliegl and Owens came together to bring life back into the marquee that once lit up the night sky. On august 3, after years of having no light to shine, the marquee flip was switched to on, and it illuminated the night once again.
The Council then moved into their reports. Council member Yolanda Flores reported first, and stated that while she was at the National Night Out event on August 6, she was approached by community members who expressed their own concerns about the recommended person, Jack Urquhart, who was brought forth by city staff to fill the position of city clerk. Flores claimed that the city’s finance director, Bret Harmon, pursued his own religious preferences when looking at potential candidates for the position. Harmon denied these claims. Flores insisted the the city’s hiring process needed to be changed.
Council member Brian Watson happily informed the Council that Lindsay residents will not be seeing any increases to their water rates any time soon.
Council member Rosaena Sanchez updated the dais on the recent Wellness Program Committee meeting she attended, and said that they were working towards figuring out which committee documents need to be rewritten. She also stated that a letter of interest would be made public for those interested in sitting on the committee.
Council member Laura Cortes reported that school started on August 8 and that things in the school district were going smoothly. She wrapped her reports up by saying that the city’s tackle football league was in dire need of more players, and that if more players do not sign-up, the league will have to forfeit the entire season.
Mayor Pamela Kimball noted that she attended the marquee lighting event, and reminded everyone that Shakespeare in the Plaza would be happening soon and that the event is free to the public.
City Manager Bill Zigler concluded all of the night’s reports. He stated that the potential cannabis business owners would be interview Friday. He also said that playground coverings were being looked at, but may not fit into the city’s budget, so he reached out to the Kiwanis Club to see if they would be willing to help with the future project. With a sudden increase in calls to the city about air in the water, specifically at residents hooked up to Well 14, Zigler offered a few tips on how to release the air from the water.
The Council moved on to the consent calendar which was quickly approved with a vote of 5-0.
The Council was asked to approve a public notice about Proposition 218, which concerns an increase to trash service fees. City staff informed the Council that the notice will be translated into Spanish before they approved it with a vote of 5-0.
Reynaldo Orozco put in a request through the city to open his own recycling center. On site, he plans to have a sea train and a seven-foot-tall fence around the recycling center. With little discussion, the Council approved Orozco’s request with a 5-0 vote.
The second reading of Ordinance 577 concerning the pre-zoning for a wastewater treatment plant was approved, and the reading of the ordinance was waved in full. The Council also approved the first reading of Ordinance 578 regarding accessory dwelling unit regulations, as well as the housing element draft, which the Council requested be made public.
The month of September will honor Railroad Safety in Lindsay, as the Council received a video presentation on the dangers of railroad crossings. The Council accepted a proclamation through Operation Lifesaver, which educates the public on how to proceed if you are caught on railroad tracks and a train is approaching.
The final item for the night was the consideration to appoint Urquhart to the position of City Clerk. At a previous meeting, Flores had requested a copy of Urquhart’s resume to see if he was qualified for the position. At Tuesday’s meeting, Flores expressed concern about the lack of experience Urquhart had and was still unsure if he would be able to handle the job responsibilities properly. After learning that Urquhart had earned his master’s degree in an applicable field to the position, Cortes moved to approve Urquhart for the position. Watson seconded the motion and a final vote commenced among the dais. Ultimately, the vote ended in a 3-2, as Flores and Sanchez both voted against appointing Urquhart.
Before the meeting was adjourned, the Council requested a study session for the Wellness Program Committee Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Hospital Board was requested as a future agenda item.
The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for August 27 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers inside City Hall located at 251 E. Honolulu Street in Lindsay.