Sonora City Council members awarded three grants totaling $92,400 to fund upcoming community events and the ongoing operations of Eaton Hill during a meeting Monday, November 18, 2019. They also OK’d actions to reimburse over $250,000 to USDA due to not meeting grant requirements.

Following a second reading of a resolution, council members approved the $41,000 as requested by Sonora Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) for a grant to fund continued operations of Eaton Hill Nature Center and Wildlife Preserve.

In a separate action, the council approved a request by the Sonora Rodeo Association in the amount of $20,000 to help fund the 2020 Rodeo Dance.

They also awarded $31,400 to St. Ann Church to fund their upcoming 2020 Cinco de Mayo Festival.

The grant money comes from the city’s HOT Funds as well as revenue from local sales taxes.

City Manager Art Fuentes updated the council on the need to reimburse $257,629.03 to USDA due to failure to meet one of the grant requirements for the construction of the Sonora Love’s Travel Center. Love’s did not meet the requirement to staff 30 full time employees resulting in the mandated payback, according to Fuentes. The council approved allowing Fuentes to collect funds from Love’s to be paid to USDA.

Following a public hearing on the 2019 Updated Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan, the council adopted the plan as presented. There were no public comments.

Water Superintendent Charlotte McElwain addressed the council on the matter of water rates. She asked council members to consider reducing the rates based upon actual water usage to help residents better afford water service. No action was taken.

After reviewing financial statements provided by Max Howarth, the council approved the Sonora Tourism Steering Committee’s HOT Financial Statements for fiscal year ending September 30, 2019 and proposed budget for the period October 1,2019 to September 30, 2020 as presented.
Howarth also provided the council with an income summary statement for review. No action was taken.

The council also agreed to a joint meeting with the SEDC. The meeting is set for December 9, at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.

With no discussion, the re-distribution of sales tax was tabled. However, the council talked about airport surface restrictions but did not take action.
Lastly, council members approved an agreement for continuing disclosure services with Hill Top Securities.

All consent agenda items including the minutes of the October 21, 2019 regular meeting, Sonora Police Department and Senior Center were approved as presented.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Mayor Wanda Shurley Presided over the meeting. Council Members Lionel Cervantez, Juanita Gomez and Norm Rousselot were present. Council member Todd Munn was absent.

The next regular meeting of the City of Sonora City Council is scheduled for Monday, December 16, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.