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Beautification Committee idea nixed
ceres city seal

The idea of the city forming an ad hoc Beautification Committee was shot down Monday after three members expressed concerns about its structure.

The committee was an idea brought up by Councilman Channce Condit in March to have each councilmember appoint a person and involve city code enforcement staff members. City Manager Toby Wells admitted that it was unclear as to the panel’s charge or purpose and wondered if the panel or the council was to decide its purpose.

Councilman Mike Kline said the committee was the “right direction” but was confused about the purpose, if members would be cleaning up Ceres or setting goals.

“What is the goal of this committee?” asked Kline.

Councilman Bret Durossette said a committee would mean another night key city staffers would have to meet. He said Ceres already has groups devoted to cleanup efforts in town and along the freeway.

Vice Mayor Linda Ryno thought the ad hoc committee was a “great idea” and believe it would decide on how to tackle blight or organize volunteers.

“I want to see results instead of just talking,” said Ryno.

Skepticism about a new panel was capsulized by Renee Ledbetter who has been involved in Ceres Chamber of Commerce efforts to pick up trash along Highway 99 through Ceres. She said the American Legion has also adopted a portion of the freeway for cleanup; and that the Ceres Garden Club has beautification efforts. Ledbetter suggested the city could help by contributing materials and flowers “rather than develop another committee so that staff doesn’t have to man another committee.”

She cited the difficulty to get volunteers for cleanup projects.

“There’s plenty of trash out there that needs to be picked up – we just need more volunteers,” said Ledbetter. “I don’t think we need another committee.”

Condit said the most important aspect of his committee would be the “mandatory participation of our code enforcement department.”

“That is the point of a committee – to bridge the gap between our citizens and Code Enforcement and to select sites in the city and target those sites and strategically try to come up with ways to combat blight and encourage civic engagement,” said Condit.

Ryno motioned to establish the committee which was seconded by Condit but it died for lack of support.