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First district-elected city council members sworn in
Council swearing in
City of Turlock Treasurer Diana Lewis, District 2 Council member Gil Esquer and District 4 Council member Amy Bublak take the oath of office Tuesday, administered by new Turlock City Clerk Jennifer Land. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

While the swearing into office of Turlock City Council members is always a time of significance, this year's seating of new council members was especially historic as for the first time ever residents in specific areas of town were able to vote for district representatives.

District 2 representative Gil Esquer and District 4 representative Amy Bublak were sworn into office on Tuesday, along with City Treasurer Diana Lewis, following the City Council accepting the results of the Nov. 8 General Election. Jennifer Land also took the oath of office for Turlock City Clerk, following the retirement of longtime clerk Kellie Weaver.

The entire City Council and City Treasurer took an Oath of Ethics, administered by Judge Ruben Villalobos — a tradition started by Council member Bublak in 2008.

The City Council also took time to honor outgoing Council member Steven Nascimento. Mayor Gary Soiseth presented him with a certificate and award of appreciation for his public service and Councilman Bill DeHart thanked him for his "self-less commitment" to Turlock.

"As a colleague, I have found his devotion to our city, and to members of this body, to be without equal...he has captured concerns and views held by constituents in significant numbers, which has led to careful evaluation and discussion," said DeHart about Nascimento.

Along with receiving a number of reports from City staff on ongoing projects and public safety, the Council voted to:

Accept a grant agreement with the Federation Aviation Administration for the widening of the runway at the Turlock Municipal Airport and airfield electrical upgrades estimated at $2,304,493. The Council also approved an amended loan agreement with the Turlock Regional Aviation Association, the nonprofit organization that operates and maintains the airport owned by the City, in the amount of $76,747 from the General Fund Reserves in order to receive a matching State grant. The TAA will repay the loan in the amount of $3,070 a year for the next 25 years.

The Council elected to strike the reallocation of city staff time spent on managing the airport from the airport fund to General Fund in the Public Facilities division budget from the amendment to allow for continued discussion on the matter, as requested by Council member Matthew Jacob. The council member was concerned with the General Fund absorbing the $8,000 to $10,000 staff time a year that Public Facilities Director Allison Van Guilder spends on managing the airport. Mayor Soiseth said that the staff time spent on the airport, and the City's overall vision for the Turlock Municipal Airport, would be addressed at an upcoming strategic planning workshop.

Decline the City of Modesto's offer to buy their three satellite water systems located within and adjacent to Turlock to the City of Turlock for over $750K.