Turlock Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force in Development

David Fransen

Recent triumphs like the opening of Blue Diamond Growers' new factory, the development of a program which offers cash incentives to new businesses, and a resurgent downtown entertainment district could just be the beginnings of a Turlock economic boom.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council will consider forming a Mayor's Economic Development Task Force, dedicated to continuing the city's economic growth.

“The purpose of this task force is to identify strategies to make Turlock a stronger economic competitor,” a staff report reads. “The Task Force is a collaborative effort involving private citizens, local government, the business community, and economic professionals.”

The task force would focus on business recruitment, retention, and expansion, and would reflect Turlock's commitment to economic growth and competitiveness, the report says. Among the specific duties, the task force would evaluate current economic development projects and programs, develop new programs, and discuss these programs with the people of Turlock.

The advisory-only committee would be comprised of “key stakeholders,” providing periodic updates to the council. All members would be appointed by the mayor.

Applicants for the task force would have to apply by 5 p.m. Aug. 16, with appointments to be made Aug. 27. The task force would meet monthly from September until September 2014, finishing its work no later than Dec. 31, 2014.

The results of the economic development visioning process would be folded into a new, long-term Economic Development Strategic Plan, which would be approved by the Turlock City Council no later than October 2015.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Accept $85,985.77 in state realignment funds for Turlock Police services. The amount is 16.96 percent of the total allocated to Stanislaus County.
The funding will be used to purchase crime analysis software, and for overtime focused on targeting probationers.
• Waive all fees related to the temporary closure of public streets for public block parties, including liability insurance requirements.
• Honor Bill Bassitt, head of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance, who is retiring.
• Approve a $27,511 study on the impact the city's wastewater is having on water flea populations in the San Joaquin River.
Turlock currently discharges its treated wastewater to the river, and is required to routinely assess the impact of its effluent on aquatic life. Recent tests have shown that Turlock's wastewater is having some type of adverse impact on water fleas, according to the city.
The study will determine the cause of the toxicity, identify how to control the toxicity, and then confirm that toxicity levels have been reduced.
• Hire Townsend Public Affairs as lobbyists in Washington D.C. and Sacramento, at a cost of $60,000 annually. The lobbyists would be paid out of water funds, and would lobby regarding sewer, storm, and recycled water issues.
• Formally present Carnegie Arts Center Executive Director and Curator Rebecca Phillips Abbott with the U.S. Conference of Mayors City Livability Award the city garnered for the Carnegie's reconstruction.
• Hear a presentation on cycling from a California State University, Stanislaus student. The presentation was previously given to the Turlock Planning Commission in June, which TurlockCityNews.com reported on here: http://www.turlockcitynews.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=580:survey-on-cycling-shows-turlock-how-to-improve&Itemid=244.
• Receive a staff update on National Night Out, a neighborhood anti-crime day scheduled for Aug. 6.
• Finalize the repeal of all city ordinances that address parking meters. The city no longer operates any such meters.
• Initiate a case of litigation in closed session.
• From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., hold a reception featuring artists from the Spring Juried Art Show, whose work currently hangs in the City Hall Gallery

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. The meeting will be preceded by a 5 p.m. reception of Spring Juried Art Show artists in the City Hall Gallery.

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