In her second State of the City address, Mayor Amy Bublak highlighted Turlock’s accomplishments over the past year, recognized the challenges the City faced during the pandemic and outlined plans she has in the coming months to address City employee benefits, creating a comprehensive road repair plan and instituting a lighting and enhanced camera surveillance program.
Mayor Bublak addressed the citizens and employees of Turlock in front of a small group gathered at City Hall on Thursday morning in an event that was livestreamed to allow for a larger audience than what is currently permitted under state health guidelines.
Despite all the economic and public health challenges the City of Turlock faced during the past year, Bublak had a lot of positive actions to highlight during her speech.
“Today our country faces enormous challenges but also incredible opportunities. We are struggling with the ever-present COVID-19 economic and educational disruptions. It is essential for local communities to work harder to secure the best possible outcomes from federal, state, and county efforts to address the impacts of the epidemic… Our Council, with two new members, will discuss and enact policies that address Turlock’s recovery and movement forward. The success, or failure of our efforts will be apparent for all to see. This is what the public will use to judge our performance. Finger pointing, blame shifting and excuses do not move Turlock forward. Thoughtful and concrete actions will. My job is to present the path forward,” said Bublak.
Some of the accomplishments that Bublak touted included:
· The City operating with a balanced budget and increasing the reserve fund;
· New businesses and employers to the Turlock Regional Industrial Park; and
· The maintenance and repair of approximately 72 of the City's 500 lane miles through a combination of road treatments including maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and a stronger requirement of utility companies trenching.
Looking ahead, Bublak touched on economic development, City employee benefits, roads and public safety.
Bublak said as Vice Chair of the Stanislaus Economic Development Action Committee, she hopes to bring even more new businesses to Turlock and has plans to help current business owners.
“To help local businesses maximize their product sales on-line, we will work with entrepreneurs to develop strategies and tools designed for online commerce. Local businesses will have the opportunity to attend seminars at no charge that will provide in-depth instruction on online-marketing and how to setup websites for on-line sales,” said Bublak.
When it comes to City employees’ benefits and pay, Bublak said she wants to have a more equitable system where the greater an employees’ salary, the more they will pay towards their benefit plans.
One of Bublak’s most ambitious goals is creating a program to fix the 500 miles of Turlock roads identified by City engineers of being in need of repair.
“Every day I hear from our citizens concerned about the condition of our local roads. Ironically, last month I hit a pot hole on Geer Road after a Council meeting and destroyed two of my tires. Turlock has not allocated a single general fund dollar on road repair since 1985. No wonder the current condition of roads in Turlock is totally unacceptable. This will change this year. We will spend general funds on road repair this year,” Bublak said.
The Mayor said she has several actions she’d like to see happen, including retaining a firm to develop a plan to fix all Turlock roads in need of repair in a timely manner; working with City Staff to secure road contractors; completing the traffic study necessary to fix all roads with the lowest daily impact on all Turlock residents; and identifying the multimillion-dollar low interest City Bond funding necessary to repair the remaining 428 miles of Turlock roads within approximately five years.
In another initiative, Bublak aims to increase public safety by establishing a private partnership that ensures all streets are properly lighted in Turlock, especially those on the West side. Part of the street light plan will be to enhance Turlock businesses safety with a publicly-approved enhanced camera surveillance program.
“We will accomplish all these objectives by embracing transparency and working collaboratively with all Turlock stakeholders,” said Bublak.
To view Mayor Bublak’s speech in its entirety, visit cityofturlock.org.