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Council to consider Columbia Pool final project
Revision of Elected Officials’ Handbook on agenda
columbia pool
The Turlock City Council is expected to consider approving a $6.3 million renovation project of Columbia Pool at their Tuesday meeting (Journal file photo).

A revamped Columbia Pool may be one step closer to reality following Tuesday’s Turlock City Council meeting, as the Council is expected to make a decision on how to move forward with the project.

In July 2020, the PARC and the Council held a special joint meeting where they were presented with several options for a remodel of Columbia Pool. While the pool is currently closed due to COVID, a facility evaluation study conducted last fall found a total of 18 violations which would keep the pool shut down even without a pandemic. Since the swimming pool was built in 1957, it has undergone minor renovations and facility updates. The pool has only been replastered once, in 1999. 

During that meeting, an Ad Hoc Committee comprised of PARC Chair Brent Bohlender, Commissioner Randy Icelow and Commissioner Allison Jeffery was formed to begin community outreach and decide which option would be best for Turlock residents. Since then, they have collected input via social media, email, telephone and an online survey. 

The three options presented to the public, PARC and Council were labeled A, B and C. Option A would renovate the existing pool and cost $1.8 million, Option B would remove the pool entirely and create a larger spray park for $2.5 million and Option C would upgrade the existing pool and splash park, update the chemical and mechanical equipment and take care of other necessary repairs with a cost of $6.3 million. 

Based on community feedback, the Ad Hoc Committee recommended Option C and the PARC voted unanimously to recommend that choice to the City Council.

“C is expensive, but to me it’s the only thing for the future. I think they need the pool,” Commissioner Robert Holly said in December. “If you look at where the pools are located at this point in time, they’re all on one side of the city and I think having the pool in Columbia is a realistic thing for District 2 and the surrounding areas, too.”

Once the Council approves the project, City staff will start working on a funding strategy. The funds to rebuild the pool will likely include General Budget funding, grants, community fundraising and private partnerships, according to the staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting.

The City Council is also expected on Tuesday to consider rescinding the City of Turlock Elected and Appointed Officials’ Handbook, and reinstitute guidelines from 2008.

Acting City Manager Gary Hampton is slated to bring before the Council on Tuesday a resolution that would rescind the handbook that establishes rules, procedures and guidelines for City officials in conducting City-related business. It covers everything from functions of the Mayor and Council members, what is considered an “inappropriate” action or request from a City official to the Council-City Manager relationship.  

According to the staff report prepared for this agenda item, “several members of the City Council” approached Hampton with concerns regarding the handbook as it related to the Council agenda. Currently the handbook states that “Any member of the City Council may place an item on a future agenda by making a written request…to the City Manager, the City Clerk and the City Attorney. The City Manager is responsible for putting together (or delegating, as necessary) a staff report as needed and shall ensure the item is included on the next available Council agenda, but no later than three meetings from the time the request was first made.”

Before the City Officials’ Handbook was adopted in 2019, only the Mayor or the City Manager could request an item be placed on the City Council agenda.

Who can put something on the Council agenda has been a point of contention for Mayor Amy Bublak since early 2020. During a February 2020 Council meeting about the handbook, Bublak argued that having all Council members putting items on the agenda would cause delay in getting things done to put the City back on track to financial stability.

“I’m not trying to be super woman, I’m just trying to officiate things so things get done and I feel like something’s wrong with the way this is being read and it’s making it impossible for anything to get done,” said Bublak in 2020.

Along with the handbook, the Council is also expected to consider revising the teleconferencing policy and the code of conduct for elected officials.

The City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the public is unable to attend in person but can access the meeting via Zoom at with WEBINAR ID: 849 2462 9186 or by calling 669-900-6833 with WEBINAR ID: 849 2462 9186.