A 10-member ad-hoc committee has been approved by the Ceres City Council to lead to citizen engagement regarding the appearance of Ceres and ways to beautify it.
Councilman Channce Condit proposed the committee in May. Initially the council rejected the idea, saying Condit hadn’t provided the framework for it and out of concerns that it would be an attempt to micromanage the city’s Code Enforcement team. The idea for a committee gained traction when Condit helped flesh out the role and intent of it.
Code Enforcement representatives will participate in meetings. Business representative, residents or property owners will be eligible to apply with applications due Jan. 3. The members are expected to be appointed at the council’s next meeting on Jan. 13. Meetings would occur quarterly and be held at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday starting in February. Applications can be downloaded from the city’s website, ci.ceres.ca.us and returned to the City Clerk Diane Nayares-Perez at Ceres City Hall, 2220 Magnolia Street, Ceres, or emailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information may be obtained by emailing City Manager Toby Wells at email@example.com
Councilman Mike Kline felt 10 members were too much but went along with the number.
A number of residents addressed the council to express their concerns about how Ceres looks and ways to clean it up.
Verna Raper Atkins said she’s worked with the homeless and wondered if they might be employed to help clean up. She said the city has been concerned about beautifying downtown Ceres while neglecting the other commercial districts.
“Take a look at the parking lots that are run down and dirty and are full of weeds and garbage,” she said. “And people are going, ‘The city doesn’t care what we look like.’”
Her husband, Richard Atkins, suggested getting help to clean up Ceres from high school students.
Alyssa Long liked the idea of the committee and expressed the need to instill in students and young people the concept of responsibility and involvement. She wondered if the city could work with the county in an effort to fight dumping everywhere.
Councilman Bret Durossette, who is a 26-year Ceres High teacher, said campus clubs could be tapped to help clean up areas of Ceres.
“We’re in a really bad rut right now because the kids can’t even pick up after themselves after they eat their lunch by leaving it on the ground, so we have a lot of work to do,” said Durossette.
Durossette said Ceres “isn’t that dirty” and took offense to citizen Lee Brandt’s remarks about being embarrassed at blight in Ceres.