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Council starts strategic planning process
Bike lanes, roads, economic development on the table
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In just a few years time Turlock could see the addition of a new fire station, a citywide bicycle plan, an annexation of county islands, and a northeast expressway if everything laid out in the city’s strategic plan comes to fruition.

All these ideas and more were addressed Tuesday night during the city’s first strategic planning session of the new year. A strategic plan is an opportunity for the city to identify the priorities for the coming years, which can set the tone of the forthcoming budgets. The current strategic plan under development will take the city through 2015. It is not a one-time endeavor and is often updated and amended. City Manager Roy Wasden said the hope was for the three-year plan to be updated annually during the budget process.

Turlock’s Strategic Plan identifies eight specific policy initiatives identified by the City Council. These initiatives are: effective leadership; fiscal responsibility; public safety; municipal infrastructure; economic development; intelligent, planned, managed growth; and social infrastructure and community programs, facilities and infrastructure.

Tuesday’s special session was an overview of some of the priorities and goals laid out by the various city departments. Included in the plan is the idea of a new fire station that would be built in the southeast area identified in the city’s master plan.

The Strategic Plan also addresses some of Turlock’s infrastructure, particularly the roads and water system and how those elements can be improved within the budget constraints.

At Tuesday’s meeting the City Council also:

• Approved the purchase of furniture, accessories and panel systems for the new Public Safety Facility in an amount not to exceed $260,000.

• Approved an amendment to the municipal code to change the City Council meetings start times from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• Approved the contract renewal between the city and the Turlock Umpire Group to officiate the adult league softball programs.

• Authorized a payment of $3,000 to the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement as a settlement of an administrative civil liability complaint. Last year the state water group fined 12 agencies in the Central Valley for violations at water treatment facilities. The $3,000 was the minimum fine. Turlock’s was incurred in 2001 because the dechlorination process was not active for a time less than one minute.

• Amended the municipal code to allow for 35 firework vendor permits for nonprofits. Previously the city could grant 50 permits.