Sometimes, small businesses just need a little help getting started.
So in 2011, the City of Turlock kicked off the Turlock Business Partnership Incentives Program, offering $1,000 cash to small businesses which open up shop in vacant storefronts and meet certain criteria, such as submitting a business plan.
"Our goal was to try to find a way to encourage business that wasn't a loan or a difficult, long-term process," explained Turlock Economic Development and Redevelopment Manager Heidi McNally-Dial. "Just something to say, ‘Thank you, we're glad you're here.'"
In addition to helping those startup businesses, the program helps Turlock by creating new jobs and filling empty storefronts.
So far, the program's been very successful. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, 10 businesses were aided, creating 33 local jobs.
All 10 remain in business today, and are meeting expectations and goals. Three have even added staff members, and one expanded to a larger space within a few months of opening.
This year, the program's success is continuing. Already, four new businesses have completed their applications, creating 10 full-time and seven part-time positions.
One of the newly aided businesses, CycleFit Turlock, an indoor cycling studio, was presented with a $1,000 check just this week during Tuesday's City Council meeting. CycleFit's doors are already open, offering group classes and personal training, but owner Jonathan Atwood says there's still much to be done to build his nascent business.
"It can be very hard to start a small business," Atwood said. "... This is very helpful."
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:
• Held a moment of silence in honor of Spc. Benjamin Pleitez, who was killed in Afghanistan.
• Heard an update on proceedings in the State Legislature related to redevelopment Agencies, which were dissolved on Feb. 1 by act of legislature in a budget-balancing maneuver.
• Approved a report on the housing assets owned by the Successor Agency to the Turlock Redevelopment Agency, which had to be submitted to the California Department of Finance.
Per state law on the wind-down of redevelopment, Turlock was required to notify the state of its unencumbered housing funds, which the county auditor-controller must redistribute to local school districts. Turlock is allowed to retain existing RDA housing projects, however, the state and Turlock may disagree on what the city is allowed to keep.
The DOF's interpretation of the report could impact Turlock's ability to construct the second phase of Avena Bella, a multi-unit low-income development at 500 W. Linwood Ave.
• Approved an updated Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule for the RDA successor agency. The document details previously obligated RDA funding to the state, so Turlock might retain that income.
The document is largely similar to a previously approved ROPS, save for the addition of furnishings for the new Public Safety Facility, which were included in an RDA budget prior to the agency's dissolution.
• Received staff updates on board, commission, and committee vacancies. The Turlock City Arts Commission has two vacancies for alternate commissioners.
• Heard an update on ongoing capital projects. The new Turlock Transit Hub will have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Aug. 24.
• Approved advertising for construction bids to replace water and sewer lines in the area bounded by Yosemite Avenue, East Main Street, Canal Drive, and Berkeley Avenue. The project will replace undersized water lines and failing sewer lines, which currently must be maintained monthly to ensure the sewer does not back up.
• Approved the purchase of two mobile soccer scoreboards for the Turlock Regional Sports Complex. The $1,719 cost will be paid through a grant from The Arrowhead Club.
• Established benefit assessment districts for the new Blue Diamond development, Avena Bella, and a new development at the Southeast corner of East Minnesota Avenue and Greenboro Street. Such districts assess parcel owners annually to provide landscaping, lighting, and street maintenance services.