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Council to decide fate of city arts commission
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The future of the Turlock City Arts Commission is up for debate Tuesday, as the Turlock City Council is expected to consider disbanding the long-standing commission.
The Turlock City Arts Commission has been plagued by low membership and sparse attendance in recent months. Only six of 25 positions on the commission are filled, reaching quorum to hold meetings in just six of the past 14 months.
The commission formerly was responsible for promoting all artistic endeavors in the City of Turlock, with their most visible contribution the regular displays in the City Hall Gallery. But the City of Turlock laid off the only staff arts facilitator and the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation took over fundraisers traditionally held by the commission, leading membership to gradually dwindle along with funding and city support.
Now, the City of Turlock is considering disbanding the commission entirely, replacing the group with a partnership through the Carnegie Arts Center. Carnegie volunteers would become responsible for maintaining the City Hall Gallery, and a potential new community art committee through the Carnegie would assume other former Turlock City Arts Commission duties.
The City of Turlock has met with commission chair Candace Klaschus, discussed the notion with the Turlock City Arts Commission, and consulted with Rebecca Phillips Abbott, executive director of the Carnegie Arts Center. Abbott is "open to the idea of a partnership," per the staff report, while arts commissioners offered mixed opinions.
The staff report on the potential dissolution of the Turlock City Arts Commission offers the Turlock City Council another option: maintaining the commission while reducing the number of positions on the board.
Should council dissolve the commission, the action would be effective June 1.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Discuss the possibility of placing new taxes on the ballot, revenues of which would be dedicated to improving Turlock's streets.
The possibility of a new street-specific tax first arose at an April 10 special meeting of council, where council members learned they must spend $10 million annually just to maintain streets at current rates; today, Turlock spends only $1.7 million.
On Tuesday, the council will consider three courses of action: hiring an outside firm to survey voters on their amenability to new a new sales tax; advocating a countywide sales tax devoted to roads; or, waiting until the fate is known of a pending California Constitutional amendment, which would lower the voter threshold from 66 percent to 55 percent to approve new road taxes.
In a later item on the Turlock City Council's Tuesday agenda, council will consider supporting that amendment.
• Hold a special 6 p.m. meeting, where the council will continue their work on the 2012-2013 budget. The meeting is expected to cover non-general fund budgets, dealing with Municipal Services, streets projects, Building and Engineering operating funds, transit, Housing Program Services, and Economic Development ant the Successor Agency for the Redevelopment Agency.
• Issue proclamations in honor of the Light of Christ Lutheran Church's 100th anniversary, and the 140th anniversary of Arbor Day.
• Hear a presentation on an April 28 charity basketball game, where Meadowlark Lemon and the Harlem All-Stars will face off against members of the Turlock City Council and other local notables.
• Consider repealing a section of Turlock Municipal Code which bars persons from attempting to solicit employment, business, or contributions from occupants of a vehicle. In September 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that such measures are unconstitutional, as they restrict freedom of speech.
The Turlock City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. That meeting will be immediately preceded by a 6 p.m. special meeting to continue work on the 2012-2013 budget.