CALIF. CITY – The Calif. City Council held their last meeting of Feb. On Feb. 28th inside the council chambers at city hall; the meeting started with Closed Session beginning at 5pm and the Regular Session beginning at 6pm.

  Under Closed Session; CS1 – The mayor read items to be discussed before the council went into Closed Session, conference with Labor with the following bargaining units, Miscellaneous Unit, Fire Department Unit, and Police Department Unit Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.6; City negotiator Dr. Jim Hart, interim city manager; CS2 - Conference with Legal Counsel on Potential Exposure to Litigation (1 case) Paragraph D of Section 54956.9 and Subdivision A of Section 54956.95, no public comments were heard before council went into Closed Session.

  Under Report from Closed Session – With respect to CS1; The Council was given directions and they were received and with respect to CS2, the Council gave directions to the city manager to bind the city with. Release Liability Insurance; that item will be coming back for public review.

  After the regular meeting was called to order, the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation, roll call and adoption of the agenda, the meeting got underway.

  Under City Clerk Reports/Late Communications – Correspondence from JM Powers dated Feb. 18-20, 2023; they requested that they be part of official and a record copy of these comments are back with the Chambers as well. We also received comments from Diana Perry.

  Under Departmental Reports – Fire Dept, Police Dept and Human Resources each gave reports to the council then Public Works gave its report on different projects in and for the city. “I've got a few on the locally funded projects sheet. The pipeline project from Cal City to Ridgecrest. I don't remember seeing this in the past. There's a pipeline project from Cal City to Ridgecrest. I don't know who's paying for it and what the purpose is; it is an AVEK project, so we haven't gotten an answer from him yet”; another project that was discussed was development around the city. The third project discusses was street signs and road signs and the water line replacement projects that were bundled together and contracted out”. The mayor called for any public comments to the departmental reports; this is what some of them had to say.

  Calif. City resident - Had a couple of questions; first for Code Enforcement for Chief Kosick; I saw the cannabis facility stop work, red tagged, saw the enforcement on the cannabis violations. Thank you for the activity on that and then for Human Resources for Mr. Rodarte; Have you received any of the Desert Jade RFPs in yet? Tomorrow is the last day. Mr. Rodarte replied, “I received one late this afternoon. They would have come directly to the city clerk, so I didn't know of any others this morning. 

  Calif. City resident on Public Works report - This has to do with the public works and the water rate increase; I’ve given the city attorney a copy of the decision where the water rates and such were all were challenged, and they were successfully challenged. What that means in plain English, is that money has been collected and not used for its intended purpose, the public needs to know where its money has been and if its money has been properly spent. I have asked the previous administration a few times how many feet of water line has been replaced and where the money is and there was no accounting of that; we're supposed to be replacing water lines as they're read of 5.8 miles per year and that has not been done.

 Calif. City resident - I come before this Council this evening to ask for the return of a key to the shooting range. I've had a key for the last 15 years; the last three chiefs of police. I've had no problem allowing me to have a key. Chief Hightower changed the lock on the range while he was acting chief and when I asked him for a key to the range, he advised me that due to liability reasons I would no longer be able to have one. In the last 15 years, I've never had a liability issue. When Spencer Enterprises donated land to the city for the shooting range, they inform the city, that they wanted the range to be a police and a public range. They inform the city that if the property was not made a public range, they would have the option of taking the property back. It's been 27 years and still no public range in 2018, the city decided to merge the shooting range with Public Works property. I’ve carried a firearm for over 54 years without ever having a mishap. I hope the Council will see that having a key to the shooting range would not be a liability. Thank you.  Shawn Bradley also made a public comment:

  Shawn Bradley - My question is regarding the animal shelter statistics; it says that one animal was euthanized. Could you explain the reasoning for the euthanization? Secondly, it also said in January, there were 61 calls regarding animals and I'm just curious as to what they were regarding. Those are my two questions. CCPD Lieutenant Hays - the euthanization was for a very sick dog and it was hurt. So, the best thing to do was to humanely put him down. As far as the calls, I can't help you. I didn't know if there were calls regarding strays and stuff like that.

Some Calif. City resident attempted to jump the agenda and talk about the person being considered for city manager; the mayor informed them that there will be a portion under Public Comments for this item. Planning Commission Vice Chairperson Carla Conry then expressed her comments on the departmental reports.

  Carla Conry - I just have a question. The planning report from the Planning Department has not been on the City Council agenda since December and I was wondering, I was told that it was going to be on this agenda for this week so that we can stay up to date because that's a document that we use in planning for Commissioners; when public asked us a question about what's on the project list, so that we know beforehand and we are able to look at our sheets and find out what projects are in the queue; just have a question about that. Thank you.   

  Under Presentation - Presentation P1; GIS update. Brian Glidden is going to give us an update on the GIS projects that he's working on which will be brought back at another meeting.

  Under Civic/Community Organizational Announcements – Councilmember Creighton; I just want to reiterate what I said last time, the spay and neuter clinic will be on in the city at Victory Baptist Church on the 14th and 28th of March; sign ups start March 1st and there are some requirements that you need to comply with, but it is 100% free.

  Under Public Business from the Floor - Several people spoke about topics happening within the city that have them concerned; from the stray animals to the beautification of Calif. City Blvd and the restoration of the Club House at the golf course. The council isn’t allowed to discuss these items back and forth but can direct staff to bring any items back to a future agenda for future discussion.

  Under Consent Calendar -  CC 1; approved city check register dated 02/10/2023 through 02/23/2023 by finance manager Kenny Cooper, CC2; approved a proposal to enter into an agreement with CHP to utilize the California City firing range by Chief Hightower Police Department, CC3 Title 24 Code updates by Chief Kosick Fire department adoption of Ordinance #24-800 for Second Reading, CC4; approved recruitment of additional summer camp staff by Theresa Oaks Parks and Rec, CC5; approved Resolution number or 02-23-2966 of the Balsitis Project (CDBG fiscal year 23/24 funds) by Teresa Oaks Parks and Recreation Supervisors, CC6; approved Surplus Declaration Disposition by Chief Hightower Police Department, CC7; approved minutes for October 25, 2022 and December 13th, 2022 City Council meeting by City Clerk Socorro Chavez. Council discussed the ending of the COVID emergency and check registry then voted 5-0 to approve; motion carried.

  Under City Managers Report – not available at this time.

  Under Continued Business – CB1; adoption by First Reading of Ordinance N. 24-801 amending Section 2-1.402 (regular and special meetings) of Article 4 (meetings) of Chapter 1, (City Council) of Title 2 (administration) of the. California City Municipal Code by Doctor Hart, interim city manager. There was a recommendation that the City Council approves amend this section, add specific wording that relates to the appointment of the Mayor Pro Tem. A roll call vote was taken, and motion approved by 5-0.

  Under New Business – NB1; motion for the approval of Agreement for Acting City Manager and Resolution #02-23-2967 to Amend Citywide Salary Schedule by – Victor Pronto City Attorney. Lengthy discussion was heard from both the council and the public expressing concerns over the individual considered for Action City Manager; in a roll call vote, motion carried by a vote of 3-2 to comfirm Inge Elmes as Acting Manager,  NB2 – New City-Wide Phone System – by Carrie Lee with Public Works; a motion and second were heard for the approval to authorize the city manager to execute a contract with Airespring for a new city-wide phone system; a roll call vote was taken and motion carried, NB3 - Security Surveillance Camera System by - Amo Meza,  Chief Water Operator; a motion and second were heard concerning a new security system; public works is requesting the purchase (estimated cost $14,000) of a security surveillance camera system for the maintenance yard, in the past year alone, the city Public Works maintenance yard has experienced several break-ins and because of these unfortunate events, we have incurred over $20,000 of replacement and repair cost for equipment and tools as well as vehicles and property damage done during every break in. The staff strongly feels that if an adequate surveillance camera system was in place, the continual events throughout this past year may have been prevented to help protect our current and new vehicles, equipment and assets. Most of our employees and staff would like to purchase a better security surveillance system to help prevent future events. The initial cost of the new system will be offset by no monthly charges being this is a self-monitoring notification system.Additionally, the protection and security will be provided for the city's assets and employees will be immeasurable. The system will also push all notifications to multiple recipients including the Police Department and since the equipment will be purchased up front, there will not be any monthly monitoring fees, motion carried by a vote of 3-2. NB4 – approval for review of Pending Requests for General Plan Amendments and Zoning Amendment by - Paul Younker with Interwest Consulting Group; I'm here this evening to share with you 5-6 projects that are interested in rezoning. General Plan amendments or other accommodation, this is a discussion item for the Council to provide general directions on your support for amending land use. This this is an opportunity to go over these proposals and we'd really like to hear from the Council what you think of these proposed amendments and maybe some of your thought process on why any or all of them are supported or not supported, so that's really the heart of what we'll be discussing. A slide presentation was shown then Mr. Younkers continued to address the council.

  Mr. Younkers - What we'd like to hear from this Council is we have five applications in right now, all requesting changes from ORA to M1, and these would be general plan amendments and rezonings. They're all associated with cannabis projects and these projects take a fair amount of effort and investment on the part of the applicants and they really do represent significant decisions and would require review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The five general Plan amendment rezoned properties are spread from west of town to the north to the east and we're asking for guidance. We're asking to understand how you would make a decision on these projects and if we see some very clear themes either supporting or opposing, then that's going to help staff and applicants, property owners, engineers and consultants; everybody who works in this industry will have a better understanding of what works in California City and listen to the public and talk among yourselves. Let us better understand what your values about these questions are. Should we be changing general plan designations and rezoning property to allow lighter industrial and cannabis uses? 

  Dr. Hart -I have some comments; during my tenure on the Planning Commission, we never brought anything like this to the council. That would, in my opinion, what you're doing is you're asking council to predetermine an appeal by an applicant because that's what this Council is. We are the appellate; if the Planning Commission denies their request. So you're asking us literally to say, well, if you bring the appeal to us, we're going to look favorably. This is not something that Council should be involved in my opinion, but there's four other sitting up here. Thank you. Councilmember Creighton then commented.

  Council member Creighton - A couple of council members referred to Calif. City Blvd as a Cannabis Corridor and that those facilities on CCB are not following our municipal code. I will remind you of what the Municiple Code says on cannabis under Odor Control on page 33 of page 43 “odor control devices sneaks shall be incorporated in all cannabis businesses to ensure that odors from cannabis are not detectable off site. Cannabis businesses shall provide a sufficient odor absorbing ventilation and exhaust system”. The cannabis business is distinctive; Brian Glidden also commented on the odor from cannabis.

  Brian Glidden - the enforcement is a separate issue you would never want to stop development to solve. Through the enforcement problems, you would want to pardon the pun, weed them out the ones that are not following the rules. I do concur with you, Mr. Creighton. We've never seen this before. We've all paid our fees and gone through planning. Thank you for your consideration.

  Drone Metal Finishing and other members of the public also commented on this item then the mayor directed Mr. Younkers back to the planning commission NB5 ARPA Funds by - Mayor Kulikoff; a motion and second were heard on NB5; after considerable discussion concerning the use of the American Rescue Plan Act funding was heard from both council members and the public, a roll call vote was taken and the motion was approved by a vote of 3-2.

 NB6; Consultant Impediments and the Need to Move In-House – considerable discussion was also heard concerning this item and the recommendation was to discuss and give the city manager directions as determined by the council.

  Under Councilmember Comment, Agenda Requests and AB1234 Reports – AB1234 reports were heard.

  Under Councilmember comments - Council members each took turns commenting then requesting some items be placed on the agenda for the next meeting which is on March 15th.

  After all the business was taken care of, a motion and second to adjourn the meeting which was adjourned at approximately 11:34pm.

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