The Turlock City Council met Tuesday evening, acknowledging the service of prominent members of the community, hearing staff updates on Capital Projects and water usage, and tabling an item to request an additional position within the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department for a future meeting.
Mayor John Lazar read a proclamation in honor of John Sigsbury for his service in bringing “quality medical services to our area.” Sigsbury served as the Emanuel Hospital President and CEO for the past 11 years.
“It’s really been an honor for me to serve as Emanuel’s hospital president these past 11 years and help the employees at Emanuel provide the best care we possibly can to people of Turlock and the surrounding communities,” said Sigsbury. “So much has been accomplished in the last 11 years and all of it can be attributed to a community coming together to believe that they deserve the best healthcare.”
Sigsbury explained that it was his intention not to leave his position until he believed a solid foundation was built and that a legacy would continue for Turlock medical care.
Mayor Lazar also honored CSU Stanislaus’ Women’s Soccer team on behalf of their being the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament Champions. The team was the first undefeated champions in CCAA history.
The team will have games Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. with a special honoring of 9/11 Thursday including a number of members of the armed forces there.
CSU Stanislaus Associated Students, Inc. President Mariam Salameh gave a special briefing on what the university’s student government plans to do over the 2014-2015 school year. Salameh explained that this year the students will focus on external affairs, including fostering relationships with the Turlock City Council as well as Turlock community members.
Upcoming events for Warriors and the community include the Run 4 U community 5k Sept. 20 at 8 a.m. on the CSU Stanislaus campus and the family-friendly StanFest Carnival Sept. 21 at 11 a.m.
Salameh also thanked the Council for their collaboration on the CSU Stanislaus Night Farmers Market and its success as well as the grand opening of the new university gallery, Art Space on Main.
Director of Development Services Mike Pitcock gave a staff update on the City’s Capital Projects and building activity, including that as for permits, 481 total construction inspections were made for the month, a high mark for about a year and a half.
The Walnut Median is on schedule for completion, according to Pitcock, who shared that a portion of the fence has been installed but landscaping still needs to be done.
Lazar asked the likelihood of a similar fence being constructed on Hawkeye Avenue across from Crowell Elementary School. Pitcock explained that a grant could be requested for such a project.
Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke provided an update on water usage for the Council, reminding everyone that Governor Jerry Brown has asked Californians to reduce water usage by 25 percent. Presenting a slideshow of graphics for the City, Cooke showed that use in 2014 has been significantly lower than in 2013 except in the month of January, but especially lower in July when new water rates started.
Cooke also provided an estimated potential water usage chart showing a continued decrease in comparison to 2013. Single-family residential users were listed as “top performers” as they make up 55 to 60 percent of total water users in Turlock. Industrial water usage has gone up, but from an economic development standpoint, could be a good thing according to Cooke, who explained that the increase could mean production is up. No research has yet been done by the City to support this statement. Still, even with water usage down, the City of Turlock is at historically low levels, with the nearest groundwater to surface in January 2014 being 70 feet down whereas it was about 30 feet down in January of 1988.
Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Director Allison Van Guilder gave an update on the City’s water conservation efforts, noting that the City has not received “much concern” with spray parks’ cut hours. The City plans to close the spray parks for the season at the end of September, as normal.
Van Guilder also addressed the browning live turf medians on Monte Vista Avenue and Christoffersen Parkway. Water was reduced significantly in those areas recently to conserve, but a heat wave hit and trees in the medians began to show stress. Currently, water has been turned back up as the City continues to wait to hear back on grants that would fund the removal of live turf and the placement of drought plants. Van Guilder explained the City anticipates to hear back on the grants later this month, and until then want to give the area enough water to keep the trees alive.
Former Councilmember Mary Jackson briefly spoke about the sixth annual Turlock Shines to be held Saturday Sept. 27 from 8 a.m. to noon. Forms for the event are available at City Hall and the Fire Department.
Minus item D1, a motion approving a Contract Change Order for City Project No. 12-59, "CNG Slow Fill Station Upgrade," that was moved for future consideration, the Consent Calendar items passed 5-0 Tuesday.
After Turlock Police Neighborhood Services Supervisor Bob Boyd’s request for a lien for payment for the abatement of weeds was approved 5-0, Lazar asked Boyd that he stay at the podium for special acknowledgement of his retirement.
Other public hearing items approved 5-0 included:
- A request by Pitcock to approve the recommended Program of Projects for Fiscal Year 2014/15 Federal Transit Administration Urbanized Area Program Funding.
- A request by City Regulatory Affairs Manager Garner Reynolds to add Turlock Municipal Code Title 6, Chapter 8, Storm Water Management and Urban Runoff Pollution Control.
- A request by Turlock Fire Marshal Mark Gomez to amend Turlock Municipal Code Title 4, Chapter 3, Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, and Article 4, Sections 08 and 09, regarding Fire Codes and Administration to reflect changes to the 2013 California Fire Code (CFC).
- A request by Gomez to amend Turlock Municipal Code Title 4, Chapter 14, Article 4, Section 06, regarding City of Turlock Paint Bank.
Council postponed the scheduled matter for Van Guilder to request the authorization of one additional position within the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department for a full-time position and for money allocated to the salary fund for $65,705 because both Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson and Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman were not present at Tuesday’s meeting. Jackson and Lohman, who were both absent due to training and other work-related responsibilities, will help Van Guilder present the item when it is again brought to Council.
But before this postponement was resolved and announced, Lazar misspoke a telling comment. Recently, Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden underwent a “Public Employee Performance Evaluation” and “Conference with Labor Negotiators” on Aug. 12 as well as “Conference with Labor Negotiators” on Aug. 26 in closed sessions at Council meetings, as his pay contract with the City expired June 30. With the General Election coming up in November, Turlock residents will see either of the two candidates, Mike Brem or Gary Soiseth, elected as Mayor.
With two Council seats open and a definite new mayor, the Council could see three of five of the positions filled by new members; but the potential for a returning City Manager did not sit well with some Turlockers when the Council could have a new majority. As Lazar saw it Tuesday evening however, Wasden will return in “a couple months” as “mayor.”
“Okay moving onto scheduled matters, we only have one it’s a request to authorize… yes, yes, yes, yes, oh!” said Lazar as City Manager Roy Wasden reminded him that the matter was to be postponed.
“The mayor pointed out that we are, that we do have,” said Lazar, before correcting himself. “Yeah the manager, in a couple months he’ll be the mayor.”
Those in attendance of the meeting laughed with Lazar at his first misuse of the title of Mayor, but were surprised at his second comment of Wasden assuming the role of Mayor following elections.
Mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth, sitting in on Tuesday’s Council, let out a curious “hmm…” at Mayor Lazar’s strange and perhaps telling comment.
Councilmember Forrest White commended the success of the CSU Stanislaus Night Farmers Market before the meeting was adjourned in memory of the three people who lost their lives last weekend in Turlock after a fatal hit and run accident.