The city is doing something really smart: It’s developing tools to give officials and council members 10-year forecasts of the city’s revenues and expenses as part of the city’s effort to become financially sustainable.
About a dozen north McHenry Avenue businesses just outside Modesto have been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in city business license taxes over the years despite not being within the city limit. The City Council this week decided the businesses paying the tax can stop paying after a dozen years. But the issue is more complicated than that.
The city continues to talk with the DoubleTree Hotel about having it take over management of Modesto Centre Plaza, which was the centerpiece of the city’s downtown revitalization when it opened in 1988.
The Modesto Police Department will try to address its trouble recruiting officers by offering a $4,500 bonus to veteran cops who join the department, hiring promising recruits while they still are in the police academy and creating a police cadet program to develop its own officers.
Drivers who run a red light at a Modesto intersection with a red-light camera still don’t have to worry about getting a citation in the mail. The Police Department has decided to keep the red-light camera program on hiatus as it continues to talk with the camera provider – Redflex Traffic Systems – about paying less for the cameras under a new contract.
Those eager to use the long-delayed addition to the Virginia Corridor – the paved trail popular with walkers, bicyclists and joggers – should not have to wait much longer. Modesto expects the roughly three-quarter-mile extension from Bowen to Woodrow avenues to open during the week of Thanksgiving, which is about three months beyond the project’s original completion date.
The Center for Human Services – which helps young people and families throughout Stanislaus County through mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment programs and other services – soon should have a new home.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office has denied The Bee’s public records request for information regarding allegations that Ceres police officers used cameras in the workplace to record female city employees. A media law attorney says prosecutors provided confusing and contradictory reasons for denying the newspaper’s request.
It can’t be good for Modesto that as it’s trying to jump-start its downtown, one of the longtime businesses leaves. That’s what happened this month when Dittos Print – and its 15 employees – moved about three miles away to McHenry Village.
Mayor Garrad Marsh says that during his Saturday town hall meeting, he plans to talk about Modesto’s water, how the city is developing better budgeting tools, and new efforts to deal with graffiti and panhandling.
This week, the City Council moved forward with a project to replace nearly 9,500 of its high-pressure sodium streetlights with light-emitting diodes, which use less energy, last longer and will save Modesto several hundred thousand dollars annually on its electric bill. But the city reached this decision after some less-than-illuminating moments.
City officials have spent many weeks trying to figure out how to keep all of Modesto’s 11 fire stations open despite a very thin Fire Department budget. They have explored several options, but have not talked about having firefighters pay more for their pensions.
The final numbers are in: 8,035 tickets were sold for the Modesto Grand Prix, which featured about 260 superkart drivers racing on downtown streets Aug. 2-3. City officials have said they hoped to sell 7,500 to 10,000 tickets for the first-time event.
City officials have said they expected last weekend’s Modesto Grand Prix to bring in about $1 million in spending from the race fans, drivers and others. But it may be difficult to quantify the economic benefit when you account for businesses hurt by the race.
Modesto will hold a second meeting about its proposal to put a stretch of College Avenue on a “road diet,” a traffic-calming technique used nationwide to slow and improve the flow of traffic, reduce accidents, and make streets friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists.