City Council Meeting: Annual Review of Housing and Finances

Councilmembers in back row: Drew Basgall, Vong Mouanoutoua, Lynne Ashbeck, Drew Bessinger, and Diane Pearce. Lieutenant Jim Koch and Captain Curt Fleming in front. (Photo CPD)

March 11, 2024 – The Clovis City Council meeting began with the announcement of Lt. Jim Koch’s retirement after 30 years of service to Clovis PD.

March was declared American Red Cross month, in recognition of their unseen emergency workers and volunteers. Mayor Lynne Ashbeck commented, “We are a better place because people like the American Red Cross and their volunteers care. One of my favorite sayings is “plant a tree under which you will never sit” and your volunteers do that every day; they help people they will never know.”

Public comments include an invitation to a Vietnam Veteran luncheon, commentary on affordable housing, and an update on the Clovis Community College (CCC) debate team’s achievements.

Resident Brent Burdine invited the City Council to attend a National Vietnam Veterans’ Day luncheon on March 29th at 8AM at Clovis Veterans Memorial District. The event is free for all, and there will be food and entertainment provided.

Resident Malcolm Gibson began by thanking the City Council for the assisted hearing system, and commenting on its efficacy, and then spoke on the importance of affordable housing. “Any affordable housing effort… must be looked at wholistically,” Gibson said, “many factors go into making this a success. My hope is that Clovis will take pride in the effort [to establish affordable housing] and do its best to set an example for all others to follow.”

Ivan Garcia, captain of the debate team and student at CCC, recapped the team’s achievements for the year. The debate team attended several tournaments, where members of the team won medals. Garcia also mentioned that the team did not have enough funding to allow them to go to state championship this year. When asked by Mayor Ashbeck how much it would cost, a member of the audience answered that $10,000 was needed– but it was already too late at the time of the City Council meeting to raise those funds. Garcia invited the City Council to their public fundraising event on March 13th at the CCC Campus.

City Planner Dave Merchen presented the annual review and update to the Regional Housing Needs (RHN) Overlay. Merchen began by stating that the RHN overlay district was established in 2018 to help the city meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) requirements. RHNA helps ensure a variety of housing types and affordability within the city. Merchen reported that two sites were removed from the overlay because of a single family subdivision under construction in the area. The review and update was approved by unanimous vote.

Public Utilities Director Glenn Eastes brought an item for consideration– awarding a consulting services contract to the company APTIM in the amount of $100,000 to help the City of Clovis come into compliance with SB 1383.

California Senate Bill 1383 requires California cities to implement  organic waste recycling and surplus food recovery. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills, such as from high volume grocery stores and restaurants, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. Added benefits of saving food from landfills is that good food can be given to shelters, pantries, and other places that feed the needy.

By 2025, SB 1383 hopes to find 75% reduction in disposal or organics, and a 20% increase in edible food recovery.

During the discussion, Mayor Ashbeck pointed out that the City currently hosts organizations like Fresno Metro Ministries that are already running surplus food recovery programs.

Councilmember Bessinger commented that he would be voting no due to the absence of a representative from APTIM at the meeting. The motion to award the contract was carried 4-1.

Finance Director Jay Schengel presented the 5 year financial forecast, which is presented annually in March, and there was a discussion about the budget preparation for 2024 through 2025.

Resident David Rau commented on the potential impact of the Taxpayer Protection Act which will be on ballots in November of this year.

A full recording of the Clovis City Council Meeting on March 11th, 2024 can be found on Youtube, and links to the meeting minutes and the video can be found at