The local winners of the 2014 general election, incumbent Mayor Luis Molina and Councilmember Deborah Novelli, as well as the recently-elected Dennis McCord, were all sworn in following the official ratification of the election results at the beginning of the Tuesday Dec. 2 City Council meeting.

Outgoing council member Larry Buehner lost his attempt at winning his first election and retaining the council seat he was appointed to four years ago after falling behind Novelli by 439 votes. McCord reached 1,291 votes to become a council member, while Mayor Molina easily won re-election with 1,330 votes, far ahead of political newcomer Ralph Arredondo, who garnered 635 votes.

Buehner was given a fond farewell by his fellow council members after a proclamation was read by Mayor Molina.

"You are definitely going to leave some big empty shoes," Farinha said with a sentimental tone. "It’s been a privilege and an honor."

"I know that the city of Patterson is better today because you were a council member the past four years," Novelli said.

"I’ve enjoyed working with the city, bringing new jobs to the city," Buehner said. "Now we look forward to moving on to the next step. Thank you everyone."

Economic development presentation

Following the swearing-in ceremony and a 15-minute recess, the new council wasted little time digesting sensitive information after Senior Consultant Christopher Jicha of Kosmont Companies made a scheduled presentation at the request of Councilmember Lustgarten.

Jicha, who specializes in targeting economic development, showed models of plans he’s worked on in Southern California communities with business parks much like Patterson’s.

Jicha urged council members to iron out the details regarding the point-of-sale for online retail fulfillment centers such as the Amazon and the soon to be Restoration Hardware distribution centers in west Patterson, where important service-providing tax dollars slipped away from the city.

"We lost on Amazon," Jicha told the members of the dais at Tuesday’s meeting. "But we know Nordstrom is shopping around. Wal-Mart is shopping. We know they’re looking around, so let’s be ready for them."

Councilmember McCord addressed Jicha: "Amazon’s going to cost us money. If it’s not making any money, and losing money, why are we allowing it?"

"That’s exactly what you need to figure out," Jicha replied. "I would encourage you to establish the toolbox so you can talk intelligently to them. This is what you want; this is what you’ll do. That way when the site recruiters come around, you’re ready."

Jicha has negotiated 45-year tax agreements with other cities in the state, and explained how tax-sharing agreements can be used to retain tax dollars for the city, as well as bond options on those agreements in order to get projects done.

Jicha went on to say that the city has the positive attention of all of the big box site seekers.

"All of these people need to know Patterson’s open for business, and we want to locate our fulfillment centers here. The stars and most everything have aligned for Patterson. The question is: Can you utilize time quick enough?"

Councilman Farinha also addressed Jicha, asking, "What does a city need to do?"

The consultant went on and outlined the process.

"In the whole planning process, establish a strategic plan," Jicha said. "What do you have an appetite for? What kind of policy does the city have on tax use?"

Jicha provided staff and council members with a proposal should the city wish to retain him for his expertise. The proposal and subsequent numbers, however, were not provided in the council’s agenda packet.

Closure approved for Rogers Road

A six-month road closure of a portion of Rogers Road between Zacharias Road and Keystone Pacific Parkway was unanimously approved following a request by Restoration Hardware general contractor Teichert Construction.

The closure, effective Monday, Dec. 8, is needed due to the extensive amount of underground utility work that will be required on Rogers Road. Emergency service access will be available, and proper detour signage will be put in place, including a lighted message board that will be visible as vehicles exit the Interstate 5 interchange.

Non-potable water to extend to Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware developers plan to extend a section of non-potable, purple water piping over 5,000 feet from the cities’ non-potable Keystone well in order to fulfill the high demand for water needed during construction.

According to the staff report, construction water usage for a large logistic center ranges from 18 to 20 million gallons per project. Removing this impact from the cities’ potable water supply reduces the stress placed on the lower aquifer.

The proposed water line will also provide a non-potable water supply for a sewer pump station at the Westside Business Park.

Mello-Roos town-hall workshop announced

A town-hall workshop aimed to help educate those in the city that pay Mello-Roos community facilities district taxes is set for Thursday, Dec. 18, to take place at the Hammon Senior Center at 6 p.m.

A question and answer period will follow a PowerPoint presentation, and residents are encouraged to bring their bills or escrow documents to the meeting.

 

Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext. 31 or elias@pattersonirrigator.com.

PI news, community and crime reporter

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