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Downtown revenue strategies topic of special city council meeting
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A nationally renowned community developer and planner will speak at a special meeting of the Turlock City Council Tuesday night, to discuss his research into how the city can increase property tax revenues by more efficiently using land.
Joe Minicozzi first earned national renown following an assessment he performed in his hometown of Asheville, N.C., entitled "The Dollars and Sense of Downtown Development." In short, Minicozzi showed that Asheville benefitted by gaining more taxes per acre from multistory buildings than from sprawled developments.
On Tuesday, Minicozzi will show how his research applies to Turlock, and how the city could stand to profit from following a similar strategy. The presentation is expected to include concrete tax revenue figures from existing Turlock developments.
His presentation, entitled "Valuing Downtowns: Upward Not Outward is a Smart Revenue Strategy for Local Governments," will be delivered at 6 p.m. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period, and preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception.
An April report from Minicozzi discussed how Modesto could benefit from revitalizing its downtown core. His local work has been funded by Smart Valley Places, and orchestrated by the Local Government Commission and the California Infill Builders Association.

In their regular council meeting on Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Hear the Turlock Police Department annual report, issued by Chief Rob Jackson.
• Adjust a slew of fees charged by the Turlock Parks Department for programs and facility rentals. The cost to rent a site at most Turlock parks would increase by $2 to $15.
• Finalize the establishment of a new tow-away zone on both sides of Broadway between W. Olive Avenue and Market Street from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, during the months of May through October, inclusive.
The tow-away zone is intended to address an issue where cars parked on Broadway overnight disrupt the Turlock Farmers' Market.
Cars are already prevented from entering Broadway during the hours of the Turlock Farmers' Market, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. But when individuals leave cars on Broadway Thursday night, vendors have difficulty setting up their stands Friday mornings.
The council provided initial approval for the ordinance at their June 12 meeting by a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Amy Bublak dissenting.
• Begin the process to amend Turlock Municipal Code to alter car towing regulations. The amendment is said to streamline and condense the language, while altering Turlock's code to mirror laws enforced by the California Highway Patrol.
• Start work to update Turlock Municipal Code to more clearly define the responsibilities of homeowners in the maintenance of curbs, gutters, sidewalks, curb cuts, and driveway approaches. The update, recommended by the Central San Joaquin Valley Risk Management Authority, does not substantively change existing obligations, which calls for property owners to maintain sidewalks and holds property owners liable for any injury which may occur.
• Consider passing off the responsibility to approve dance hall permits, fortunetelling permits, and introduction, dating, and escort service permits to the Chief of Police. Currently, both Turlock Police and the Turlock City Council must approve such permits annually.
• Announce the kickoff for the annual apple pie contest at the Stanislaus County Fair, sponsored by Dr. Dave Dubyak.
• Begin to alter the Turlock Municipal Code to more clearly explain the City of Turlock's process to transfer surplus or unused equipment between departments, or to sell such goods. The clarification would spell out the city manager as responsible.
• Hear a presentation from Smart Valley Places Community Leadership Institute graduates.
• Recognize employees for years of service.
• Receive a special briefing from Tomara Hall, the California State University, Stanislaus Associated Students Inc. Governmental Affairs administrator.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. That meeting will be preceded by a 6 p.m. special meeting, where guest speaker Joe Minicozzi will discuss per-acre tax revenues in Turlock.