Sanger City Council (1/4/23) – Fresnoland

Fresno Documenters

Documented by Artemes Gidram

At its first meeting of 2024, the Sanger City Council began the process of changing the boundaries for Council District 1. Photo credit: Artemes Gidram

Here’s what you need to know

  • The council has begun the process of redrawing Council District 1 lines to include newly annexed property stretching to Kings Canyon Road.
  • Grantees of the 2016 Measure S presented the community work they’ve done and publicly received their grant funding.
  • There are continuing concerns about alleged illegal garbage dumping in an alleyway in District 2.

Follow-up questions

  • What is the solution to alleyway dumping if it seems to be this widespread?
  • Will nonprofits begin to see more funding from the new Measure S that is being worked on?


The Scene

The Sanger City Council meeting took place on Jan. 4, 2024, at 6:08 p.m.

The meeting was held in person at the Sanger Administration building located at 1700 7th St. in Sanger. The agenda can be found online at the Sanger website.

Officials present:

Frank Gonzalez, mayor

Daniel Martinez, mayor pro-tem

Hilda Cantu-Montoy, Sanger city attorney

Gregory Garner, acting city manager

Esmeralda Hurtado, council member

Dolores Melendez, council member

Michael Montelongo, council member

  • Call to Order
    • The closed session came to an end. All council members were present during the closed session. There were no reportable actions taken.
  • Opening ceremonies
    • Pastor Jacob Zailian of the Set Free Church gave the opening invocation.
    • Mayor Frank Gonzalez led the flag salute.
    • All council members were present during roll call.
  • Agenda approval
    • Montelongo made a motion to approve the agenda.
  • Public Hearing on Redrawing of City Council District Boundaries as a Result of Annexation of Property
    • Cantu-Montoy
      • According to state law, this hearing must not start before 6:15 p.m.
      • This is the second of four required hearings needed to redraw district lines.
      • State law requires that an annexed property be drawn into the nearest council district.
    • The annexed property is on the northeast side of town extending from the north border of District 1 and extending to Kings Canyon Road.
    • The annexed property will be drawn into District 1.
    • There are 36 residents in the annexed area that will become District 1 constituents.
    • Gonzalez waited until 6:15 p.m. and wished everyone a Happy New Year during the wait.
    • Public comment
      • Osvaldo Vera, retired boxing coach
        • Vera asked for a clarification on what changes would occur with the districts.
        • Gonzalez clarified that this would make the annexed property a part of District 1.
    • Vote
      • A motion was made by Melendez, second by Martinez
      • The motion carried unanimously
  • Measure S presentations by grantees
    • Boys and Girls Club
      • The Boys and Girls Club was granted $20,000 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
      • Measure S funding objectives
        • Youth will develop relationships through interactions with local law enforcement, which builds trust.
        • Parents, youth and community members are being educated on the impact of youth gangs and how drugs affect the community.
        • Youth will develop personal values, self-esteem and healthy habits to avoid risky behaviors such as gang involvement.
        • Youth will stay in school and be mentored and encouraged by staff to be promoted to the next grade or graduate.
        • Youth who are exhibiting risky behaviors are identified and discouraged from becoming involved in gang activity.
      • Past events
        • July
          • 4th of July
          • Law Enforcement Teen Night
        • August
          • Back to School
          • Backpack Giveaway
        • September
          • Day of Remembrance
          • Day for Kids
          • Law Enforcement Teen Night
        • October
          • National Night Out
          • Halloween Party
        • November
          • Dia de los Muertos
          • Veterans Day
          • Community Feed
          • Dessert Day
      • Upcoming Events
        • January
          • Staff Development Training
          • Martin Luther King Celebration Day
          • Law Enforcement Teen Night
          • Youth of the Year Event
        • February
          • Valentine’s Day Event
          • Law Enforcement Teen Night
        • March
          • Central Valley Teen Conference – Gang Prevention Workshop
          • Torch Conference
          • St. Patrick’s Day
          • Law Enforcement Teen Night
        • April
          • Law Enforcement Teen Night
        • May
          • Cinco de Mayo
          • Mother’s Day
        • June
      • There were 93 registered members from the year to date.
    • SAM Academy, presented by Jerry Valadez and Guillermo “Willie” Lopez
      • SAM Academy was granted $10,000 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
      • SAM Academy, standing for Science Art Music, is a youth serving 501(C)(3) that helps build youth leadership through teaching science, technology, engineering  and mathematics (STEM) as well as the arts.
      • Eighteen students completed an engineering, communication and computer skills workshop.
      • The students were taught how to build their own computers and were allowed to take the computer home with them at the end of the course.
      • Lopez told a story about a student who went through the programs in their middle school years. This student is now a junior at Sanger High School and recently told Lopez that he is maintaining a 4.33 GPA.
    • Sanger Young Life, presented by Stephanie Reyes, area director
      • Sanger Young Life was granted $40,000 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
      • The program is dedicated to setting aside time to implement procedures and protocols when they’re aware of kids who are involved with gangs and drugs within their program.
      • On Jan. 22 they will have a parents’ meeting to discuss Narcan and drug prevention. Montelongo will be providing Narcan for the event.
      • The program maintains a relationship with the police and fire departments.
      • Reyes will be filling the role of committee chair after the retirement of Fred Ratzlaff. They are looking for a new committee chair.
    • Set Free, presented by Pastor Jacob Zailian
      • Set Free was granted $30,000 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
      • Set Free’s mission is to foster positive youth development by making a lasting impact one relationship at a time
      • Through meaningful connections, membership and educational opportunities they aim to guide and inspire the next generation.
      • Measure S funds
        • Provide meals for each group.
        • Pays for games and activities.
        • Facilitate discussion of real-life skills.
        • Provides encouragement and a listening ear. 
      • Events
        • Lake Shasta Camp
        • National Night Out
        • Phil Wickham Concert
        • Paintball Wars
        • Washington Academic Middle School (WAMS) late start mornings
        • Sanger High School lunch
      • Set Free started with 10 youth members in the summer of 2023 and has reached 200-plus youths monthly with an average of 70 per week.
    • After the presentations, Gonzalez presented the organizations with their grant checks for the next six months.
  • Consent calendar
    • Hurtado stated that she will be abstaining from item G5 due to unmentioned conflicts of interest in her employment at Self-Help Enterprises.
    • Julian Rocha requested that item G4 be pulled.
    • Vote
      • Motion by Montelongo
      • Vote carried 4-0-1 with Hurtado abstaining
    • Item G4, New police cadet position
      • Rocha wanted to know if this was a full-time position with benefits, as well as if their overtime would take away from the overtime of full-time police officers.
        • Garner clarified:
          • It is a full-time position with benefits.
          • The position will be a union position.
          • The position is not meant to take hours away from officers but rather employ those still going through the police academy when there are already employment vacancies at the Police Department.
          • This position was created to hire cadets in the police academy for later employment as officers once they graduate.
          • Overtime duties will not overlap with the overtime duties of officers.
      • Vote
        • Motion by Montelongo passes unanimously
  • Department reports
    • Authorization for out-of-state trips
      • Mayor Gonzalez
        • This trip is for the Fresno Council of Governments One Voice trip to Washington, D.C. Gonzalez stressed the importance of this, as it is an opportunity for Fresno County to lobby Congress for projects such as California State Route 180, which has reached out to Sanger thanks to these efforts.
      • Hurtado
        • Hurtado said she is concerned about the cost of these travel expenses which will total $4,200, and where it will come from, the budget as the council travel funds are running low. Hurtado herself said she only has $500 left in her travel fund to contribute.
          • Patrick Chaffee, administrative services director
            • The travel budget is an agreement between the council members, so Chaffee suggestd they work out any disagreements or issues between themselves.
            • Chaffee is unsure how much money is left in each council member’s budget as that is tracked at the city manager’s office.
            • The travel expenses are $5,000 per council member with $3,000 for food.
            • The last budget was a total of $28,000 and the council only spent $22,000.
            • If there needs to be more money allocated into the travel budget then staff can look into reallocating funds within each council member’s departments without needing a budget amendment.
            • Budget amendments would be needed if the council decided to pull from other funds such as the general fund.
            • There is a current fund for various projects of $800,000 that Chaffee states has room for around $100,000 to use toward items outside their intended use.
            • Chaffee suggests using the travel funds and at the end of the year to pull from that $800,000 to fund any amount that exceeds the total allocated travel fund.
      • Vote
        • Motion by Hurtado to go by staff recommendation to pull from travel funds
        • Vote passes unanimously
  • Council adjourned at 8:12 p.m.

Actions/discussions/public comment

  • Public comment
    • Maria (no last name given), community member
      • Maria has previously complained about trash left in her alley.
      • The garbage dumping is happening in an alleyway between I and J streets in District 2.
      • Maria shared her experience of reaching out to the chief of police, who she says ignored her.
      • Maria said that she feels like the chief of police, the Police Department and the council members aren’t doing their job. She asked how to escalate her concern if no one in the city government would help with her situation in her alley.
    • Osvaldo Vera, retired boxing coach
      • Vera extended an invitation during December for a holiday event held by the local Dolores Huerta Foundation office.
      • Vera extended Huerta’s disappointment in not seeing them at the event.
    • Kevin Carter, community member
      • Carter stated that the council needs to look up the appropriate city code to find out whose job it is to clean up the alley.
      • Carter feels that whoever the code says is responsible, be it the city or a private resident, should clean up the alley.
    • Julian Rocha, community member
      • Rocha spoke on the importance of nonprofit work in the future of Measure S.
      • He said he was happy to hear from the organizations that presented and what they’re currently doing for gang prevention and the youth.
      • Rocha states he does what he can to help the youth,whether it’s taking out students to restaurants that have never experienced that before or recently donating turkeys to the Boys and Girls Club.
      • Rocha said that he’s disappointed to hear that these organizations and other nonprofits might not be considered in the future of Measure S.
    • Jacob Zailian, Pastor at Set Free
      • Zailian reminded the council of his church’s efforts to clean the alleys, and that he is willing to continue this work.
      • There are a lot of hoops that Zailian says he has to jump through such as having limited opportunities to dump garbage at the local disposal facility.
      • Set Free is limited to dumping only on Tuesdays and Thursdays which does not always fit into their schedule. 

Conversation highlight

  • “I’ll do what I can to help these kids. So it hurts me to hear that Measure S might not be included because they don’t consider that gang or prevention. It is a hundred percent. These kids need a place to … experience life. They don’t have that opportunity, some of these kids…So please consider a good chunk of change when it comes to that Measure S. These people are drug and gang prevention,” said Julian Rocha, a community member.

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at [email protected] with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions…
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2024-01-08 17:26:10 , Fresnoland

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