A series of appointments kicked off the first City Council meeting of the year on Tuesday, with Councilmember Forrest White being appointed as Vice Mayor.
Additionally, the Turlock Planning Commission received a new member, as council members appointed Turlock resident and former school board member Victor Pedroza to serve a four year term.
During the meeting, Stanislaus County Council of Governments representative Mike Costa updated the council on the transportation planning agency's efforts in finding unmet transit needs throughout the county. According to Costa, state law requires that the agency identify and fulfill any unmet transit needs within the region prior to utilizing local transportation funds for other projects. StanCOG will hold a public hearing to solicit community input on unmet transit needs in Turlock at 6 p.m. Jan.23 at the Senior Center located at 1911 Cahill Ave.
The Council unanimously voted in favor of amending current city code to waive the insurance requirements for temporary street closures for events such as block parties. According to city staff, many times local residents would end up not holding block parties due to the costs associated with submitting proof of general liability insurance, as the fees have been viewed as excessive and burdensome. The city hopes that by removing the insurance requirements, Turlock residents will be more likely to hold such events thereby strengthening neighborhood bonds and interactions throughout the community.
The Turlock Police Department received $98,525 of realignment funds from the County, which must be used for targeting a list of probationers released within the Turlock community, overtime for any operation targeting probationers, crime analyst activities, and GPS trackers and any associated software related to the aforementioned activities. This is the second year TPD has received such funds.
On Tuesday, the City Council also:
• Approved an agreement between the Turlock Fire and the Merced County Fire Departments authorizing automatic mutual aid on Highway 99 for a five mile stretch between the Stanislaus and Merced County lines. According to TFD, having emergency fire units responding from opposite directions on the highway will provide a more timely and effective response.
• Awarded a contract bid in the amount of $21,551 with Lea's Demolition and Excavation of Denair for the demolition of buildings located at S. Walnut and N. Olive.
• Received an update from City Engineer Mike Pitcock on eight current capital projects and building activities, including the construction of a public restroom facility at Columbia Park which is reported to begin soon.