Turlock City Council has a busy schedule

mrowland@modbee.comJuly 8, 2013 

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    alternate textMarijke Rowland
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The Turlock City Council has a jam-packed schedule for tonight's meeting, including discussion of a possible road tax and fees for residential street closures.

The council will discuss how to proceed with possible plans for a sales or parcel tax to raise funds for the city's ailing roadways. The city held a series of public forums this spring to seek community feedback on ways to raise some $8 million needed annually to maintain the streets.

Two primary options were discussed: a half-cent sales tax increase or parcel tax on property owners. Any plan would need voter approval, and one could be on the ballot as early as November.

The council also will discuss whether to charge fees or drop liability insurance requirements for street closure applicants.

City staff recently discovered language in the Municipal Code requiring street closure applicants to carry some $1 million in liability insurance. Staff had been unaware of the requirement, and no fee was charged.

The city approves 30 to 40 street closure applications a year for everything from Fourth of July block parties to National Night Out gatherings. The reinterpretation of the code now requires residents to have the insurance, which can run up to $150 to $200 depending on the circumstances and insurer, although the city collects no fee.

Staff has proposed possibly charging a $40 fee to process applications to check for the liability insurance, or dropping the liability requirement.

The council will discuss the road tax and closure fee items, but no votes will be taken at this time.

Also on the agenda is the repeal of the municipal language on parking meters, as the city has no parking meters and no plans to install them, and renewal of the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association's Property and Business Improvement District for the third time since its inception in 1998.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall.

...

Some vandals tried, but ultimately failed, to make downtown Turlock's Fourth of July parade less patriotic.

A dozen flags and flagpoles were damaged last Tuesday night shortly after they were installed. The Downtown Turlock Property Owners Association put up the flags Sunday in advance of the Independence Day festivities.

The flags along Main Street had been on hiatus for the past three years after vandals stole many of them. This time, because the flags were bolted in, the vandals could only bend the poles.

Downtown Association Coordinator Dana McGarry said speedy generosity by area businesses saved the display. On Wednesday, Turlock-based Mann Electric, owned by Downtown Association Board Member Danny Mann, fabricated new, heavy-duty poles out of double-ply conduit donated by Independent Electric Supply of Turlock.

Turlock police stepped up late-night patrols downtown to deter further vandalism.

McGarry said the flags went back up Wednesday and were there for the more than 10,000 people who came out to enjoy the parade downtown.

The Downtown Association is out $500 to $1,000 for replacements and materials.

...

Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson is back to work and "feeling great."

The city's top cop took an extended medical leave in April to receive treatment for an undisclosed condition. He returned to work last week, taking back over from Capt. Steve Williams who served as acting police chief in his absence.

"(I) am very happy to be back to work. I am also very thankful for the support my family and I received from my co-workers and the community," said the 45-year-old.

Jackson has been the city's chief since January 2012.

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And finally, skaters and bikers of Turlock, it's your time to speak up.

On Wednesday the Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Programs Commission will meet to discuss the proposed move of the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park to Donnelly Park.

The move from its current Starr Avenue home comes as the city is in talks to sell the property to the Turlock Irrigation District. An ad-hoc committee to oversee the design of the new park will be formed at the meeting. The committee will be made up of a commissioner, city staff member and up to 10 community members.

The commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.

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