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Housing Element Update to go before City Council
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The Turlock City Council will consider adopting the Housing Element Update, a plan that will prepare the City of Turlock to meet housing needs through 2014, during their regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting.
The document lays out the City of Turlock’s plan to address the housing needs of various populations, ranging from low income to high, the elderly, and the disabled, most of which has gone unaltered from previous Housing Elements.
The document calls for numerous new programs, however, including an initiative to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed homes, a land banking program that would acquire land for affordable housing, and targeted reinvestment programs that direct funds from multiple sources toward neighborhoods most in need. The city is also looking to pursue the incorporation of county islands, which would increase the land supply for housing.
The Turlock Planning Commission approved the draft Housing Element on Jan. 7. Upon council approval, the document will be submitted to the State Housing and Community Development Department for a mandatory 60-day review period.
The Draft Housing Element Update is available for download at

Home rehab loans on tap
On Tuesday the Turlock City Council will consider a sweeping set of changes to the city’s Residential Rehabilitation Program to reflect the shifting housing market and requirements associated with $1.7 million worth of federal funding the City recently received for the program.
The RRP provides loans and grants to income-eligible households to assist in the repair and maintenance of homes. Many low-income households do not qualify for conventional home improvement loans significant enough to make major repairs, energy efficiency upgrades, and replacement of items such as roofs, according to the staff report.
The program, in existence since 1984, is intended to maintain the availability of affordable housing.
The interest rates for the program would fall from 5 percent to 3 percent under the proposal. New options would also be created for deferred repayment and combined grants and loans.

Green energy from fatty oils
In efforts to better power the Turlock Irrigation District’s Fuel Cell, which was installed in partnership with the city at the Turlock Regional Water Quality Control Facility, the City Council will consider an agreement with Sun Valley Pumping of Turlock to receive deliveries of fats, oils and grease to produce clean energy.
Under the current setup, the City of Turlock’s wastewater treatment plant does not generate enough methane gas from its anaerobic digesters to fully power the TID Fuel Cell. The fats, oil and grease delivered by Sun Valley Pumping would be used to further load the digesters and produce more methane gas, resulting in increased power generation from the fuel cell — and additional funds for the City under the revenue sharing agreement with TID.
The City of Turlock will receive 11 cents per gallon of fat, oil and grease delivered to the wastewater facility, should the council accept the agreement.

The City Council will also:
• Conduct the final reading of an ordinance to limit granting business licenses only to businesses that operate in accordance with state and federal laws.
• Vote on a housekeeping item to assess 12 property owners for costs associated with weed, debris and abandoned vehicle cleanup.
• Hear the Stanislaus County Library Fiscal Year 2008/2009 report.
• Hear a presentation on the 2010 Census and the efforts of the local Turlock Census Complete Count Committee.
• Be briefed on the Teen Advisory Council’s activities.
• Issue a proclamation recognizing Girl Scouts of America Week.

The Turlock City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.