Turlock City Council puts off talk of raising its pay

jholland@modbee.comJuly 8, 2014 

DN homeless day center

The Turlock City Council voted Tuesday evening to have clients of the Turlock Gospel Mission volunteer at city parks and other sites.

DEBBIE NODA — Modesto Bee file Buy Photo

— City Council members agreed Tuesday evening to delay talk of raising their $500 monthly stipends until after the Nov. 4 election.

The council was considering whether to appoint a task force of Turlock residents to review the pay, which a city staff report said could be too low in light of the time the post requires.

Councilman Bill DeHart said the city first needs to complete new contracts with its labor unions, all of them coming due in the fiscal year that started July 1. Councilwoman Amy Bublak agreed and added that Turlock is still working its way out of deficit spending.

The pay has been $500 a month for the mayor and other four council members since 2000. DeHart said the mayor’s pay perhaps should be higher than the others because of the added duties.

The council will have at least one new member next year because Mayor John Lazar is not seeking another term in November. DeHart and Councilman Forrest White are running again.

Also Tuesday, the council voted 5-0 to:

• Apply for state money to cover 75 percent of the cost of a few water conservation projects. The application includes $337,500 to replace the turf on Christoffersen Parkway medians with drought-tolerant landscaping, $105,000 for 11 automated irrigation controllers at city parks, and $495,000 for six wells to provide nonpotable water for parks.

The city also had planned to seek money for treatment of naturally occurring arsenic in two wells, but the chances of funding are low, said Michael Cooke, director of municipal services.

The money would come from a water bond measure approved by state voters in 2006.

• Have clients of the Turlock Gospel Mission, which serves the homeless and other people in need, volunteer at city parks and other sites. They would do trash pickup and other work after getting background checks, according to the five-year agreement.

The mission has a similar arrangement with the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association.

Allison Van Guilder, director of Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities for the city, said the volunteers would help with a growing workload.

“We believe the Turlock Gospel Mission’s volunteers will also walk away hopefully feeling they have provided a service to the community,” she said.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

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