The Turlock City Council on Tuesday will consider formally appealing the “ransom payment” requested to keep its Redevelopment Agency operational.
As part of the state budget process, the Legislature gave cities statewide an ultimatum: either close redevelopment agencies, or else make a large “voluntary payment” to the state.
Statewide, the “voluntary payments” tally $1.7 billion– plus an additional $400 million annually. Those funds would be redirected to local public schools, in lieu of the state’s obligation.
Turlock expects to face a $3.2 million payment, plus $450,000 annually. Turlock cannot afford that payment, given the amount of funding spent on projects like the Public Safety Facility, Carnegie Arts Center, and Joe Debely Stadium renovation in the past few years.
Under the state law, Turlock can appeal the assessment amount. The Turlock City Council will consider doing just that on Tuesday.
Turlock has already signed on to a lawsuit protesting the move to eliminate redevelopment agencies, arguing the act equates to a taking of city funds, illegal under Proposition 22.
Should Turlock be forced to eliminate its RDA, the move would curtail or halt graffiti abatement and code enforcement activities, which are currently funded by RDA dollars. As many as seven positions across Turlock could be eliminated, and as much as $225,000 in costs could be shifted to Turlock’s cash-strapped general fund budget.
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
· Oppose State Senate redistricting plans, which would currently see Turlock subsumed into the “Foothill” district alongside cities like Rancho Cordova, Sonora, Jackson, Clovis and Oakdale. City staff believes Turlock is better suited to the “Merced” district, which includes Ceres, Patterson, Madera and Salinas.
The opposition is based on differing common interests – agriculture versus tourism and national parks – the California State University, Stanislaus service area, existing transportation corridors such as Highway 9 and State Route 165, and Turlock’s membership in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which does not manage foothill towns.
· Update the city’s water code, in part increasing the delinquency charge for late water payments from $10 to $25.
The code changes will also discourage water theft, make installation of water connections more business-friendly, allow “flow through” fire sprinkler systems at residences, and require Turlock to purchase well sites large enough to accommodate wellhead treatment systems.
· Recommend hiring an Instrumentation Technician within the Utilities Division, filling a vacancy resulting from the 2009 hiring freeze. The position, which Turlock will attempt to recruit for internally before engaging in open recruitment, will pay $56,304 salary, with $37,608 in benefits.
Per the staff report, the additional employee is needed to meet the demands of maintaining water and sewer related infrastructure.
· Receive a report on the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market from market manager Brandon Follett. Vice Mayor Amy Bublak requested the presentation in hopes of learning more about the economic impacts of the market.
· Consider altering a council policy which forbids council members from teleconferencing at city council meetings unless an emergency situation exists. Revisiting the issue was requested by Councilman Bill DeHart.
· Issue a proclamation in honor of the Ansel Adams Exhibit, which will serve as the first exhibition at the reconstructed Carnegie Arts Center.
· Receive a presentation from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District on the Healthy Air Living Outreach Campaign.
· Receive staff updates on the state of redevelopment, and on a 9/11 memorial.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.