The City of Turlock’s new roads program initiative took a step forward on Tuesday night after the City Council unanimously voted in favor of creating a position for someone to lead it.
A new job description for the position of Roads Program Manager was created following the approval vote, and the Council also gave the go-ahead for the City to fill said position with hiring incentives. The person hired for the position will facilitate the roads program initiative, which was announced by Mayor Amy Bublak in her State of the City address on May 6.
The initiative aims to rehabilitate Turlock's 428 lane miles of roads, which currently have a pavement condition index of 55 out of 100, over the course of the next five years by allocating 50% of Measure A funding for the cause. An estimated total of $5.5 million will go towards road projects annually, increasing the City’s existing road funding by 100%.
In the initiative’s first couple of years, the Roads Program Manager will focus on creating shovel-ready projects and adding Measure A money to existing projects in order to leverage City funds to go farther. Additionally, City staff will explore bonding opportunities for system-wide street improvements and utilize Measure A revenue for debt service on the bonds.
The position will go out for recruitment immediately, and the person’s first duties after being hired will be to write a Request For Proposal for a consultant to perform the planning, design and financing of the initiative. The manager will prepare an analysis and provide data on potential projects for the Council to consider and approve before any roads are paved using Measure A funding, said Interim Development Services Director Nathan Bray.
“This position would be the single point of contact for the roads program initiative,” Bray said. “This position will be instrumental in getting the roads program initiative off the ground and into reality and is the first step of putting funds into action.”
Bray estimated the search for a qualified, high-caliber candidate could take anywhere from three to six months to complete, though Acting City Manager Gary Hampton was much more optimistic and was confident that it will be completed sooner.
The City is offering incentives to attract quality candidates, including 40 hours sick leave, 80 hours vacation leave, $3,000 on the date of hire and another $3,000 after passing probation. According to Bray, the position’s annual salary could range anywhere from $105,000 to $127,000 depending on the candidate’s experience.
“The job market right now for technical staff is very hot, it’s very demanding. In order for this initiative to get off the ground and be successful, we want to do everything we can to attract qualified personnel to essentially spearhead this roads program initiative,” Bray said.
The City already has some roads projects in the works, utilizing Measure L, SB 1 and federal formula funds to begin the Golden State Boulevard Project, the Southeast Quadrant Road Rehabilitation Project and the Southwest Quadrant Road Rehabilitation Project this year. Next year, Hedstrom Road from Geer Road to Colorado Avenue will be rehabilitated, as well as Pedras Road from Geer to Golden State and Lander Avenue from D Street to Highway 99.
“...The public deserves to finally see some of these promises fulfilled, and I’m just thankful we have this opportunity to follow through,” Councilman Andrew Nosrati said. “Roads cost money and we wouldn't be able to do that without that (Measure A) passage, so thanks to them for the trust and I hope we can start to hear complaints about too much construction in Turlock.”
Bray said work on the first of these projects, the Golden State Boulevard Project, will begin after the fair this year.
“It’s good for all of us to dream, and I know I've dreamt for over 12 years about fixing the roads in a bigger commodity, if you will, and in 12 years I’ve heard a lot of comments about our roads,” Bublak said.