During the City Council’s teleconference meeting on July 21, Council members heard from Amie Mendes, economic development manager, to approve an Urgency Ordinance that will allow local restaurants a temporary outdoor dining permit. Council member Shawn Farmer recused himself, (due to) vested interest in a local coffee shop.

“The state and county decided that restaurants must close their indoor seating,” Mendes said. “It does allow outdoor seating if compliant with physical distancing. This reduces the amount of tables they may have.”

Mendes went on to explain this temporary ordinance will allow local restaurants to add seating outside on public sidewalks and parking places. Restaurants must file a site plan for where the tables and structures will be placed. Tents must also be shown in the diagrams.

“This ordinance will be streamlined and the normal cost of $260 will be waived,” Mendes said. “These permits will end 30 days after the lifting of the county and state’s emergency measure.”

Council member Curt Campion voiced concerns about tables relocated in parking lots.

Community Development Director Chris Erias said his department would work with those who file and find ways to keep sites safe.

Mendes said some restaurants have added obstacles to opening up outdoors.

“Streetzlan is a really small restaurant,” Mendes said. “If you move tables onto the sidewalk they still won’t be able to accommodate very many customers. But moving out into the parking spaces in front of the business might work. The alley does provide some barriers with the planters.”

Council Member Paige Lampson said some Lodi businesses are using water-filled barriers around outdoor seating.

Amber Anderson from the Cosumnes Community Service District, which provides fire protection to Galt, said owners would have to file with her department.

“They will also have to submit a plot plan and comply with fire codes for outdoor seating and tents,” Anderson said. “We are still requiring that. We’re not requiring any fees and it should only take a couple of days to be approved.”

Interim City Manager Tom Haglund gave an update on the pandemic. He went over the ways the city is working to keep residents wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“We have the highest positivity rate of any city in the county,” Haglund said. “San Joaquin County’s cases have jumped and they have 95 deaths which are up significantly.”

Parks and Recreation Director Armando Solis went over the events that his department was asking council to approve for sponsorship. He said they looked at six events, which asked in total for $8,600.

“Galt Chamber has a bridal show and also the Eggstravaganza,” said Solis. “Kiwanis Club has a 5K run, the Sunrise Rotary the community dinner, the Liberty Ranch Ag Boosters a 5K run and the Liberty Ranch High School homecoming parade … Any of these special events will only proceed with county and state restrictions at that time.”

Farmer suggested that, since the city’s limit was $7,000, each of the event sponsors receive 81% of what they asked for. The other four council members agreed that this was a fair way to allocate the money. Council members approved the motion 5-0.

Public Works Director Michael Selling discussed the three Galt Lighting and Landscaping (L&L) Districts.

“In 1972, the state passed the measure for L&Ls,” Selling said. “We have to annually state our intent to levy and collect assessments for the next fiscal year. The Northeast and Westside L&Ls can’t be increased. But L&L #3 has an increase indicator and can be increased 2.9%.”

Selling said #3 was keeping pace with the cost but Northeast and West keep falling behind. The city had to dig into the general fund for $144,000 for the Northeast L&L and $42,000 for the West L&L.

Council approved Terry Cooley and Laurel Shamberg for the two open positions on the Measure R Committee. Mayor Paul Sandhu nominated Daniel Gerling for the empty seat on the Planning Commission.