Turlock council backs half-cent sales tax measure

TURLOCK -- Measure K was campaigned against heavily here in 2006, but with a new formula to kick dollars back to city government and a slender list of regional projects, the City Council will back a 2008 version of the half-cent sales tax measure, the council decided Tuesday.

The new plan calls for a 20-year term for the tax, instead of 30 years, and would raise $700 million for Stanislaus County roads. The Stanislaus County Council of Governments suggests splitting it in half -- $350 million back to the cities for local road repairs and $350 million for three regional projects, including improvements to West Main Street in Turlock out to the West Side.

How the $350 million in local money would be divided among the cities is the big question, said Councilman Ted Howze, the city's representative to StanCOG. StanCOG suggested an even distribution of the money in thirds by population, maintained road miles and sales tax. The City Council decided Tuesday that it's only interested if the formula is skewed 70 percent for sales tax, 20 percent for maintained miles and 10 percent for population, Howze said.

Turlock has 13.3 percent of the county population, 9.2 percent of the road miles and generates 15.9 percent of the sales tax.

The math adjustment means more dollars for cities like Turlock and Oakdale that attract regional shoppers.

Whether other cities and the county agree will be decided today at the 6 p.m. StanCOG policy board meeting at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St. in Modesto.

Bee staff writer Michael R. Shea can be reached at mshea@modbee.com or 578-2391.

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