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Lazar gathers with county mayors to discuss economy, tourism
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Turlock Mayor John Lazar was one of four county mayors to attend the first annual State of the Region luncheon hosted by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 14.
Top issue of the day: The economy.
“We are trying to reach out and find a way to move the city forward out of this recession,” Lazar said.
“As cities, we are working with regional planning and increasing the cooperation with county and state officials,” he said.
The county is trying to get more money from sales tax to help keep the cities afloat in this economy, Lazar said. They are trying to get a “bigger cut of the pie for city budgets.”  
Lazar, along with Ceres Mayor Anthony Cannella, Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour and Oakdale Mayor Farrell Jackson, brainstormed ideas that would bring in more revenue for each city and for the county as a whole.
One idea that was brought up to save money was to use common services between the cities and therefore save on billing and planning costs, Lazar said.
While cities working more cooperatively might cut costs, the mayors all know that economic growth is what is really needed to bring in more tax dollars.
“People aren’t spending what they spent years ago,” Lazar said.   
Some of the current efforts to help bring in more money for Turlock includes  an economic development committee that is working to build an economic blue print, Lazar said.  
Lazar said he has been working on this blue print for the past four to five months. The focus of the blueprint is on bringing in more businesses to Turlock and increasing tourism.  
The tourists that do come to Turlock mostly come for sporting events, Lazar said. He hopes to capitalize on California State University, Stanislaus athletic events, which bring hundreds of people into town every year, and Turlock’s many banquet halls and new hotels.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.