Patterson City Hall

The Patterson City Council approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 849 amending Section 2.12.020 of the Patterson Municipal Code to increase stipend amounts to the mayor and councilmember office on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

A city staff report stated that California law allows the city council to increase their salary or stipend amount through the adoption of an ordinance depending on the city’s population size. The maximum amount from cities with populations of 35,000 people or less is $300 (the current Patterson population is approximately 22,974). Councilmember may receive compensation that exceeds this limit, but no more than five percent per calendar year.

This would be the second time since 2018 that the council has voted to increase the stipend amount. Following the 2018 November general election, Ordinance No. 823 became active and increased the stipend amount from $300 to $360 per month for councilmembers and $600 per month for the mayor’s stipend. The new proposed ordinance would raise the current rates to $396 for councilmembers and $660 for the mayor per month.

The proposed change would equal $4,752 per year for councilmembers and $7,920 per year for mayor. This totals a fiscal impact of $1,152 per year and would become effective after the election has been certified for all city council members and mayor. Stipends are paid entirely from the City’s General Fund.

For reference, the City of Oakdale’s (population 22,997) city councilmembers and mayor receive $4,455 per year. The City of Riverbank’s (population 25,030) council’s stipend equals to $4,200, and the mayor stipend amounts to $4,800 annually. Both of these cities were chosen as a reference based on similar population sizes and locations in the Central Valley area.

Future consideration and a second reading will occur at the next regular City Council meeting scheduled for Oct. 20.

Updated City Municipal Code

The Patterson City Council approved a number of changes proposed by city staff to various sections of the Zoning Code. The staff report stated that over the last year and a half, the Community Development Department had identified areas within the Zoning Code’s various chapters that needed to be modified. Rather than bring the items to the council individually, staff felt it more efficient to bundle the proposed changes into one package.

Council approved the changes unanimously.

The changes amended were:

  • The medium density residential development criteria to allow single-family homes in the medium density residential zone on smaller lot sizes
  • Development standards for accessory structures by providing separate setback criteria for open, attached structures, such as raised decks.
  • Removing a requirement that mechanical pool equipment is located at least five feet away from adjacent buildings.
  • Amending the Second Units Chapter, consistent with State Law, providing criteria under which a fence in a residential area could be extended to seven feet in height
  • Requiring that at least 50 percent of front yards in residential areas be unpaved and landscaped.
  • The definitions for tobacco shops and large and small vehicle storage facilities.

Councilmember Dominic Farinha raised a concern about the 50 percent limit. Farinha proposed that the limit on paved concrete should be restricted to 35 percent citing concerns about more paving having an adverse impact on Patterson’s Urban Heating Index.

“Where I’m going with this is I would like to reduce that 50 percent to 35 percent,” Farinha said on Tuesday. “I think 35 percent would still allow a homeowner to install a concrete pad or brick way but not make it so monotonous not only to adjacent owners but more palatable for the homeowner itself.”

Councilmember Cynthia Homen also addressed the front yard pavement limit asking how this new ordinance clashed with messaging during drought years that encouraged residents to decrease water usage and were offered incentives under the drought-tolerant program to decrease their water imprint. Residents that qualified could receive up to $1 per square foot for a drought-tolerant front or backyard.

“I’m trying to find a way to meet in the middle. When we had a bad drought, we were encouraging people to not have a lot of lawn or things that need to be watered, and I noticed a lot of people paved their yard in response to that,” Homen said.

While the council agreed to change the ordinance to the 50 percent measurement as proposed by city staff, it was in agreement to do more research regarding a future change to the front yard restrictions.

PI reporter

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