Turlock City Council gives OK to jobs task force

mrowland@modbee.comJuly 23, 2013 

    alternate textMarijke Rowland
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— A new Mayor's Economic Development Task Force hopes to bring more jobs to the city.

The Turlock City Council unanimously approved the formation of the advisory group at its meeting Tuesday night. Its focus will be to draft an economic development strategic plan by September 2014.

"This really is a whole citywide effort to wage a war for jobs and to bring them to our community," said Maryn Pitt, assistant to the city manager for economic development and housing.

Creating the task force was one of Mayor John Lazar's goals in his State of the City address in February. He wants to build upon recent successes such as the Blue Diamond processing plant, which opened last month.

"What really convinced me that this was the right way to go and with trying to create jobs and get our economy to continue to grow and move was I attended the graduation at California State University, Stanislaus," he said. "(The graduates') hopes and dreams of aspiring to have a job was in their eyes and their expressions and their families. ... We want to bring jobs for people to live and grow their families and spend their lives in the valley. This is a vehicle for that."

The group of 15 to 20 "key stakeholders" — business owners, property owners, public officials and community members — will be appointed by council members and the mayor.

The group will collaborate with the Stanislaus Economic Development & Workforce Alliance, Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau and other organizations to improve the city's economic outlook.

"It is an all-star collaboration," Pitt said. "This is a real exciting time as we start to see the economy recover that we're poised and ready to take the next step."

People interested in joining must apply with the city by Aug. 16. The group will meet once a month starting in September.

The last citywide economic development strategic plan was completed in 2003.

Councilwoman Amy Bublak expressed interest in serving on the committee and lauded its creation.

"I think it's an outstanding idea," she said. "I think we can always help this community be the best in this county and probably Northern California."

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

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