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Block party comes with bigger price tag
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Throwing a block party in Turlock just got a lot more expensive.
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council will discuss a recently-enforced policy that requires all street closure applications to have special event insurance.
The requirement for insurance has always been a part of the city code, but city staff were not aware of it until June. According to the Municipal Code, all applicants for street closures must provide proof of general liability insurance in the amount of $1 million.
The newly enforced policy has resulted in many flustered Turlock residents, according to city staff, who were hoping to host block parties for Fourth of July festivities. Many of these applicants withdrew their applications for road closure after finding out that they needed to buy insurance. City staff estimates the cost of special event insurance at about $150.
City staff are requesting direction from the City Council on whether the insurance requirement should continue to be enforced. The council will also be presented with information on the possibility of a charging a road closure processing fee of $40. The fee would defray costs of staff time spent processing the road closure requests and is estimated to result in $1,400 a year in revenue.
Currently, the cities of Merced and Stockton require applicants to provide proof of insurance and Modesto and Ripon do not.

On Tuesday, the council will also:
• Accept ballots to renew the Turlock Downtown Property and Business Improvement District. If a majority of weighted ballots from property owners are cast in favor of the continued downtown tax assessment, then the council will consider renewing the business improvement district.
• The City Council originally established the Turlock Downtown PBID in 1998 for a five year term. Council then authorized the renewal of the PBID in 2003 for 10 additional years. The current ballot is for another 10 year renewal.
• Consider repealing the Municipal Code relating to Parking Meter Zones. The city of Turlock no longer has parking meters and is not planning to install any in the near future.
• Consider authorizing the overhiring of one Evidence and Property Specialist within the Special Operations Division of the police department.
• The current full-time Evidence and Property Specialist will be retiring in December and the police department is requesting a replacement be hired as soon as possible to allow for proper training.
• Consider directing Turlock Scavenger to deliver 90 percent of non-diverted refuse and sold waste collected in the city to Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority for up to 120 days.
Currently, Turlock Scavenger delivers the majority of city refuge to the county landfill. In 2012, the county approved an agreement with Covanta Energy for the operation of the landfill. Subsequently, fees have gone up from $28 per ton to $39.29 per ton.
Merced County Waste is proposing a fee of $18 per ton with annual escalation tied to the Consumer Price Index.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.