Mayor Garrad Marsh faced more opposition this week from Salida residents who do not want Modesto to annex their unincorporated community of about 13,700 people.
Two Salidans addressed Marsh during public comment at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. They asked whether he would end his plans after the Salida Municipal Advisory Council voted 4-0 last week to oppose annexation. The vote came after scores of Salidans had spoken against annexation in recent months.
“Can you drop it now,” one woman asked the mayor Tuesday.
She also asked why the mayor did not tell residents there was a problem with a city well when he spoke at the Salida MAC’s Jan. 29 meeting.
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Marsh said he did not know then about the problem.
The well provides Salida with about 10 percent of its drinking water. The well exceeded the health standard for nitrates Dec. 5, but Modesto did not shut it down until Jan. 8. The city mailed notices to Salida residents about the problem last week.
City officials on Tuesday blamed human error for the delay in shutting down the well. They said it took as long as it did to notify Salidans about the problem because they had to work with the state in developing the notices.
The city has posted the notice on its website at www.modestogov.com/pwd/water/docs/Salida-nitrate-violation-notice.pdf
Marsh also said Modesto will not push annexation on Salida. “We will not force you to be part of our city,” he said. But he added that incorporation is in Salida's long-term interest, either through being annexed by Modesto or by incorporating as its own city.