Modesto may turn its red-light cameras back on at four major intersections after leaving them dark for the past year. While police officials say the cameras make intersections safer, some experts dispute that and many drivers don’t like the $500 tickets.
City officials are taking on one of Modesto’s scourges – graffiti. The city is getting close to rolling out a comprehensive campaign that includes stiffer fines for taggers, surveillance cameras, a smartphone app for the public to report graffiti, and more workers to paint over and remove graffiti.
Modesto paid $105,071.44 in the first quarter to resolve 22 lawsuits and claims filed against it. The payouts cover Jan. 1 through March 30 and include such incidents as a city vehicle rear-ending a car, falling trees and limbs damaging cars and buildings, and a malfunctioning automatic parking lot gate at Modesto Airport striking a truck as it was leaving the lot.
College Avenue is going on a diet. The City Council voted Tuesday to put College from Needham Street to Briggsmore Avenue – a distance of roughly 1.6 miles – on what is called a “road diet,” which is a traffic calming technique that slows traffic, reduces accidents and makes a road friendlier for walkers and bicyclists.
Modesto faces having to reduce its water use by 35 percent under a proposal from state regulators, which could mean the end of watering lawns and other landscaping throughout the city. The State Water Resources Control Board issued the proposal this week to implement Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 1 executive order that calls for a 25 percent statewide reduction in urban water use.
The City Council adopted Modesto’s latest strategic plan this week. The plan covers important issues, but offers unintentional comedic relief in renaming three of the council’s four subcommittees. The new names are vague, a mouthful to say, and raise the wrong kinds of questions for the city.
The Stanislaus Community Foundation is holding its second “Connecting for Good” event to help people learn how to work together to tackle complex and seemingly intractable problems, such as homelessness, poverty and illiteracy.
The City Council wants to spend about $2.7 million for graffiti surveillance cameras, fixing fire stations, saving city trees, helping a group build a baseball field for disabled children and other projects. The money is extra funding from last year’s budget.
The City Council’s Economic Development Committee will review on Monday how much land Modesto has for homes, stores and industry. The short answer: an awful lot. The city’s urban growth review identifies 1,680 acres within the city for development.
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.