Salida leaders take stand against annexation

02/27/2013 6:39 AM

02/27/2013 8:59 AM

The Salida Municipal Advisory Council took a formal stand Tuesday evening against a proposal to annex the unincorporated community to Modesto.

The 4-0 vote came at the regular meeting of the appointed advisory council held at the Salida library. Board member Katherine Borges, an annexation opponent, was absent.

Recent proposals for Modesto to absorb Salida have met with vocal opposition from residents attending the advisory council meetings in recent months. More than 100 people, as well as top officials from Modesto and Stanislaus County, attended Tuesday's meeting.

Modesto public works officials were there to explain letters sent to Salida water customers regarding a well on Sisk Road that was shut down because of contamination with nitrates. A yearly test on the well Dec. 5 detected nitrates at 68 parts per million, well above the state-allowed maximum of 45 ppm.

Officials said the city erred by not taking more tests to validate the reading. The well remained in operation until being shut down Jan. 8.

The city has done more testing and is evaluating treatment options so the well can be put back in service, Public Works Director Dennis Turner said.

Officials said it's a fairly small well, supplying about 11 percent of water delivered to Salida customers. Modesto watches its water supply for nitrates, which can derive from fertilizers applied to farmland.

Modesto City Manager Greg Nyhoff apologized for the mistake. He also said he appreciated hearing Salidans speak passionately about their community.

"We take ownership of what happened here," Nyhoff said. "We'll fix it and get the well back online."

County Supervisor Terry Withrow reiterated that county leaders won't support the annexation if the majority Salida residents are against it.

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