DELANO, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County grand jury has released their findings and recommendations regarding the management of Delano, with the majority focusing on the city council and its operations.
The grand jury reported five findings and five recommendations for those findings. Every finding was linked to the operations of the Delano City Council.
One finding was the Delano City Council should be converted from an at-large city council to a district-based city council to better represent its residents.
An at-large city council is where the council is elected by the entirety of a city and a district-based city council is where the city is split into districts and each district would be represented by one city council member.
The grand jury came to this conclusion due to the Delano’s demographics, saying it would “ensure that all demographics of the city have equal representation.”
The grand jury also found that the varying ideologies between the city council and city officials has potential to “stall the progress Delano has made.”
“The City Council and city officials must bridge the gap of their divide in order to maintain the progress and
development the city has produced in recent years and ensure that future growth is not stunted,” the report said.
The report recommends the city council and city officials should hold team-building meetings quarterly to “establish a positive working relationship.”
The city council has also violated the Measure U ballot initiative, by not holding enough Citizens’ Review Committees for the measure, the report said, stating the committee has not met since 2012.
In November of 2007, Delano voters passed Measure I, which raised sales tax by one percent and that one percent to be deposited into Delano’s general fund for 10 years, according to the report. A citizens’ review committee was established and meeting occurred from 2008 to 2012.
Nine years later in Nov. of 2016 Delano voters passed Measure U, which would extend the 1 percent tax (Measure I) for another 10 years with the same budget objectives and continuing the citizen review committee, according the the report. Measure U produces about $6 million a year but a citizen review committee has not weighed in on how that money is spent since 2012.
The grand jury recommended the city council should “immediately advertise for and impanel candidates for the Measure U Citizens Review Committee” and make sure meetings are held yearly.
The grand jury also recommended city council meetings should be more accessible for those without internet and those with internet should be able to find the ZOOM link easier in the agenda.
“The Delano City Council ZOOM hyper-link on the website Agenda page should immediately be moved from the last page to the first page,” the report said.
To benefit citizens who do not have internet access, the Delano City Council should resume in-person meetings, in addition to ZOOM, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control Guidelines, i.e., mask wearing and social distancing.”