Lindsay City Council denies city manager Bill Zigler’s raise, passes cannabis ordinance
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
LINDSAY – Lindsay City Hall’s top job will not be making more than it is now as the Council denied their city manager a raise in open session at last week’s meeting.
Bill Zigler’s raise proposal was voted down 4-1, with mayor Pam Kimball as the sole dissenting vote on the matter. Zigler’s contract item was the last on the May 14 Council agenda just before adjournment. But it did come after a closed session item where his contract was discussed.
According to first term councilwoman Yolanda Flores she could not reveal his asking price, but according to transparencycalifornia.com Zigler’s total pay and benefits amounts to $155,825.01 as of 2017.
As just one of four votes to deny Zigler’s raise, Flores said at the meeting that she couldn’t justify giving a raise in the City’s current financial position.
“Not a reflection on him, but we are just not in a position to do that,” Flores said.
Council opens up on cannabis
Mayor Kimball found herself alone on two other votes at their meeting last week. As just a formality the council voted to waive the second reading and pass ordinances 572 and 573 regarding commercial cannabis. Kimball, a regular no vote on most cannabis items the Council accepts, remained in the no column while her four other council members voted to move forward.
Lindsay City Council first took up the slight but still major changes to their cannabis policy at their April 23 meeting. Changes in Ordinance 572 that added to chapter 18 of the Lindsay Municipal Code included a clause that allows entertainment venues to permit the sale of cannabis for on-site consumption. The clause sets comedy clubs as an example of a facility where cannabis could be sold and consumed.
Kimball said that she did not have a problem with the dispensary, just the entertainment aspect of the change.
“I don’t know. I still feel like its stepping out in front with this and it sends the wrong message that I don’t want to send about our community and that we are really promoting the recreational use of marijuana which we know is not healthy,” Kimball said.
She added that the social consumption of cannabis seems superfluous since residents can buy it, have it delivered to their homes or grow up to six plans on their own.
Councilman Brian Watson said that he wanted to make sure the city council continued to have regulatory authority over the matter.
“We don’t want to see this turn into a dance club in the entertainment part of this…I just want to make sure the city council has some control over what is defined as entertainment,” Watson said.
Councilmember Laura Cortes said that it is not too different from having a bar in town.
During the public hearing Lindsay Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Virginia Loya suggested the council be keen to public wants.
“I hope you consider some local people also who are interested in putting [a dispensary] in because I think it’s always important to let local people be involved in the cannabis they want to open,” Loya said.
Zigler said the city council has some discretion over the dispensaries because it is a conditional use permit (CUP).
“The key here is that it is a C-U-P and the city council has reasonable discretionary control over something like this,” Zigler said.
The item was motioned by Flores and seconded by Sanchez before the 4-1 vote. Kimball was again the lone dissenting vote.
Ordinance 573 permits procedures and regulations, established permitted uses and zoning. Adding two sections noting that cannabis dispensary operations are allowed in the central business district of the central commercial zone in accordance with Title 18 of the Lindsay Municipal Code. The second section notes that cannabis business that include an entertainment venue permitting the sale of cannabis for on-site consumption of cannabis, are allowed to conduct operations within the same district.
The ordinance adds under cannabis production permitted uses and zoning will be allowed to distribute their product in the Heavy Industrial zoning district of the City. The addition of distribution rounds out the majority of, if not all of the uses cannabis businesses engage in, in industrial districts. In its entirety the list accounts for cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and now distribution.
Ordinance changes take effect 30 days after they are passed by the Council.