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Council accepts COPS grant; four new officers to be hired

POSTED October 17, 2009 1:42 a.m.
Turlock City Council members voted to accept grant funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services on Tuesday for the reinstatement of four sworn officers in the Turlock Police Department. The three year grant stipulates that the officers must be retained for a fourth year at the expense of the City of Turlock.
Police Chief Gary Hampton told the council that if they cannot afford to pay the fourth year of salaries for the officers they can apply for a hardship exemption from the COPS program. If the council chooses to terminate the employment of those four officers after the three grant years, they will not be able to apply for any COPS grants for a 36 month period.

Sub-committee to review 2009/2010 budget
The 2009/2010 City General Fund Budget is $800,000 in deficit. Marie Lorenzi, senior accountant for the City of Turlock, said that the deficit is largely due to a decrease in sales tax and investment income revenue. In order to close the gap, the Turlock City Council unanimously voted to direct the budget sub-committee to meet and review the 2009-2010 budget. The subcommittee will bring possible budget changes to the council at a later date.
City staff predicts that if the City keeps spending general fund reserves at its current rate, they will run out of reserves by the 2012-2013 budget year. The council directed the sub-committee to look at ways to bring expenditures in line with revenues.

Lease agreement with Carnegie
The City Council approved a lease agreement with the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation for the operations and maintenance of the Carnegie Arts Center on Tuesday. The language of the original agreement was changed so that any un-used money or un-used interest earned will be returned to the city. Councilmember Ted Howze also requested that redevelopment funds and redevelopment interest be the last funds spent on the project.

Buildings demolished for Public Safety Facility
In a special meeting on Tuesday night, the Turlock City Council unanimously approved a contract with Modesto Sand and Gravel for the demolition of three houses on Florence Street. The buildings were previously purchased by the City of Turlock and residents have since vacated. The city has maintained the property, but because of vandalism and blighting conditions, the buildings are now being knocked down.

Columbia Park water feature a go
The City Council unanimously approved the installation of an aquatic playground at Columbia Park. The water feature will be located next to the Columbia Pool, with an access gate between the pool and the water feature. The Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission held several special meetings to determine the location and public access to the water feature. The water feature will go out to bid at a future council meeting.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.
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