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.
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.