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Mayor to give State of the City address
Amy and Duarte
Mayor Amy Bublak and Congressman John Duarte, pictured here at a Turlock Government Night event, are both slated to speak at the State of the City event set for noon on July 18 at Harvest Christian Center (Journal file photo).

Mayor Amy Bublak will give the annual State of the City address on July 18 at Harvest Christian Center, 130 Third St.

First-term Congressman John Duarte (R-Modesto), expected to face a tough reelection fight in the fall, will be the guest speaker.

In addition, former Stanislaus State interim president Susan Borrego will be honored by the city.

The address will begin at noon and the event will last about one hour.

“I’m excited to share our 2023 achievements with the community, hear Rep. Duarte speak and see Sue Borrego receive the key to the city,” said Bublak, who is serving her second four-year term as mayor. “Plus, we’ll enjoy a wonderful lunch from Texas Roadhouse and dessert from our local Nothing Bundt Cakes.”

During the previous fiscal year, the city has reached a number of milestones.

Last November, the $230 million, 47-acre Stanislaus Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant north of Turlock officially opened. It is designed to bring clean, sustainable drinking water to Turlock (and Ceres) while reducing the region’s dependence on groundwater.

Soon, the city will begin a major renovation project on Geer Road, from Golden State Boulevard to Taylor Road.

Currently, the city is finishing up a multi-million-dollar renovation to Columbia Pool.

Finally, the city attracted a HomeGoods retailer that is slated to open this week at 2851 Countryside Dr.

Conversely, there also have been controversial decisions made by the council over the past 12 months.

In January, the city council voted 3-2 to close the We Care homeless day-use facility, which worked for several months to bridge the gap between the morning and evening hours when overnight shelters were closed.

The city has also engaged in a public spat with Stanislaus County over a proposed mental health/residential care facility at 1617 Colorado Ave., which may now lead to litigation against A&A Health Services.

Last month, the city seemingly did an about-face and failed to put a cannabis tax measure on the November ballot, while voting to put an increase (from 9 percent to 14 percent) of the transient occupancy tax before the voters.

Recently, the city awarded a $100,000 contract to Pressert Marketing to establish a “business development and assistance program” that hasn’t garnered the support of downtown business owners.

A host of issues face the city in the coming year, too, ranging from growing concerns about homelessness to roads and city infrastructure.

Duarte, who defeated former Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) by just 564 votes in 2022, will square off against Gray again this election cycle. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, as well as other reputable pollsters, have categorized the race as a toss-up. It’s expected to be one of the most competitive and closely watched races in the nation.

Borrego took over at Stanislaus State for Ellen Junn in August of 2023 and gave way earlier this month when new president Britt Rios-Ellis officially took over.

The event is free and open to the public. The state of the city address is expected to be recorded and available on the city’s YouTube channel.