Yesterday, during the Falconville, California City Council
meeting, many citizens and visitors had a chance to speak about issues
concerning the upcoming budget and land ordinances.
The meeting began with the usual call to order, in which Mayor Henry Smith, Vice-Mayor Luis Gomez, Councilwoman Tanya Tager, and Councilmen Jacquie Munson and James Stewart, all members of the City Council, were all present. City Staff Members Joan Bell-acting city administrator, Craig Bonham- fire chief, Camden Hadley-city attorney, Lenard Higdon-Director of Public Works, Elaine Hultquist-Director of Parks and Recreation, Tillie Tuttle-city clerk, and Toby Wanamaker-police chief, were also all present.
First to speak among the citizens was a representative of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He stands before the council to ask the city of Falconville to declare June 29 through July 5 as "National Safe Boating Week." Mayor Smith proclaimed the week beginning June 29 as "Safe Boating Week."
Next to stand before the council was Director of Public Works, Lenard Higdon. He begins by telling the council how he had to issue a "Stop Work Order" to National Cold Storage Ice Company for a loading dock which they are constructing on Yale Ave. The dock is encroaching two and a half feet onto the public right of way, and is being built without proper permits. Despite the "Stop Work Order", the construction has continued. Mr. Hank Thompson of National Cold Storage attempts to explain that the extra dock is necessary. The dock is 85% finished, so the council votes 3-2 to approve the remainder of construction.
Finally, Higdon brought before the council the case of Joel and Lottie Flemish who have installed a fence around their backyard that is eight feet high. City Ordinance specifies that fences around residential properties can only be up to 6 feet high. Mr. and Mrs. Flemish have built the fence without the proper permits at their home on 125 3rd Ave. Mr. Flemish argues to try to convince the council to allow them to keep the fence rather than tear it down. The council does not fall for it though, and Mayor Smith said they should have gotten a permit, and that way they would have known the rules. A vote 4-1 denies the appeal, however Mayor Smith voted to accept the appeal for he has a fence higher than six feet. The Flemish’s must tear down the fence, or cut it down to six feet, and pay permit fee of $25 and penalty of $100.
The Mayor then got a turn to stand before the council. During his time, he talked about the Sister City Program, the Falconville Gala Parade, and the City Staff Bowling Team. The Sister City Program aims to establish a friendship between the people of Malsch, Germany, and the people of Falconville, California. It is bases off of the “People-to-People” Program which was put in place by the United States in 1956 to establish greater friendships between the U.S. and other nations. Mayor Smith was appointed Honorary Chairman of the Sister City Committee. The Falconville Gala Parade will be held the last Saturday of next month, at 10 a.m., and as in previous years VIP cars will be made available to each Council Person. There will, however, be no carnival this year as the police say it draws the wrong crowds. The City Staff Bowling Team just won first place in its seasonal bowling league, with a 9-1 record. This is the first time the team went through the league play without a forfeit. The team average was 236.
CouncilwomanTanya Tager establishes a new position-City Administrator. Tager nominates Joan Bell to the position. There was a 5-0 vote to adopt and appoint Bell. While the mood was generally happy, some grumbling could be heard among the city employees. Bells’ position is effective first of next month.
The City Attorney Camden Hadley, who was next to speak, talked about Ordinances and Resolutions. He brings up a parking resolution for across from the high school. Students park there so they don’t have to park in school parking lots. Drug dealing is a possibility in their new “parking spots.” Police want to break this nuisance up. There was no vote, it was only a first reading. Tager opposed to “spot zoning” but nearby businesses were in support of the plan.
Next year’s budget was reviewed, as brought to the table by City Administrator. The staff recommends a $2.1 million budget, as opposed to last years $2.4 million. There will be pay raises of 4%, and for the police department, a pay raise of 5%. Because of the change in budget, the Police Department will no longer be providing officers as walking patrol at the cities Little League games. Instead, Chief Wanamaker said the department will be providing game announcers with a two-way radio incase police assistance is needed.
Finally comes a complaint from Tim and Suzan Conley, from 347 North L St. They are being charged $360 per year for waste and water bills, because the way their home is set up with three studio type apartments along the alley. They are entitled to 12 garbage cans, but only use three each week. However, they are still being charged for all 12 cans. They feel as though there should be exceptions and provisions for people like them. Higdon however says that there are people just like them, in the same predicament, and it would be too many people to keep track of. There was a 3-2 vote to send back to staff for better recommendation. We tried contacted Mr. Conley, but there was no answer.