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City prioritizes goals in newly passed Strategic Plan
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With a few final tweaks, the Turlock City Council on Tuesday accepted the 2011-2013 City of Turlock Strategic Plan - a document intended to guide all Turlock policy through 2013.
"This is not a categorically perfect document," said Councilman Bill DeHart. "However, it is a guideline, and it gives us a set of tracks to run on."
The conceptual long-term planning document has been in the works since March. Before that effort, the document had lain dormant since 2007, and expired in 2009.
Throughout the planning process, council members debated whether the strategic plan should set a blue-sky vision of an ideal Turlock, or instead plan for a future of tighter budgets. The final document looks to bridge those divergent ideals by establishing a list of priorities, which then drive resource allocation.
"I'm pleased," Councilwoman Mary Jackson said.
The strategic plan keys in on eight specific points of policy: effective leadership, fiscal responsibility, public safety, municipal infrastructure, economic development, social infrastructure, community programs facilities and infrastructure, and intelligent, planned, managed growth. The document identifies specific actions needed to achieve goals, and also works to measure progress on those goals.
The document is expected to be a boon to the city's operations, according to staff, by having a clearly stated perspective to guide budgeting, agenda items, and the inner workings of the city.
"I'm excited to have this document because, from the staff's perspective, it really helps us understand from a policy standpoint what is most important to you," said Development Services Director Mike Pitcock.
City staff will now work to expand on the document, offering ground-level implementation plans for each individual department. And, to ensure the city doesn't go another four years without a strategic plan, the council is expected to review the document annually at the start of budget work.
Through those steps, the city hopes to retain the relevancy of the planning document into the coming years.
"It's not perfect, but hopefully we can have it be an ongoing living document," City Manager Roy Wasden said.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:
• Adopted an updated schedule of fees for Turlock Parks and Recreation programs, including field and facility rentals. Most fees are unchanged, year-over-year, save for the ACES afterschool program. New language in the schedule allows the school district to waive the participation fee for students who could not otherwise afford the program.
Other changes include a reduced rate for one park rental, and for participation in Turlock's annual Turkey Trot race.
• Approved an agreement which sees First Transit, Inc., of Overland Park, Kansas, continue to operate Turlock's Bus Line Service of Turlock. The new agreement will see Turlock pay approximately $32,000 less per year for the operations.
First Transit, Inc.'s proposal was rated higher than competing proposals from Modesto's Storer Transit Systems and MV Transportation Inc. of Fairfield. MV Transportation offered the least expensive bid, but First Transit's past experience earned the firm a higher rating on the contractor scoring sheet. Storer Transportation proposed a number of operational changes, higher driver wages, and upgrades, but was the most expensive option.
The past agreement was due to expire Nov. 30. The new agreement with First Transit, Inc., will last for three years, with a further three-year option.
• Accepted the one year summary report of the Regional Transportation Impact Fee group, and authorized spending $6,662.32 - Turlock's share of a $50,000 countywide cost - to conduct a fee nexus study necessary to implement a RTIF.
The RTIF effort, comprised of all nine county cities and the county, seeks to pool money for regional highway and road projects with a new fee, replacing the existing County Public Facility Fee charged to developers. The nexus study would identify which projects the fee should fund, and would subsequently determine the amount of the fee.
• Appointed Turlock Regulatory Affairs Manager Michael Cooke to the county Hazardous Waste Management Advisory Committee. Municipal Services Director Dan Madden will assume the role of alternate to the committee.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.