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Priorities, arts commission, benches on Council agenda

Mike Conway

Post Date:03/16/2018

Priorities, arts commission, benches on Council agenda  

An update on Council priorities, forming an Arts Commission and Downtown benches are on the Merced City Council agenda Monday night.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St. The Council meets the first and third Mondays of the month, except when there is a holiday, when it will meet the following day.

At its March 5 meeting Council members listed priorities for the upcoming budget year. Staff has summarized those priorities and now wants further direction from Council after it takes public comment.

The Council priority list, along with comments from the Town Hall meetings, will be used in creating the 2018-19 City budget.

Staff will update Council on the findings from a stakeholders meeting recently held on the formation of an Arts Commission. The stakeholders represented a variety groups and artistic fields.

Additional stakeholder meetings will be in April with the goal of having an ordinance creating an Arts Commission drafted in May.

Benches in Bob Hart Square were removed in 2014 after merchants and property owners said they were being used by people who bathed in the fountain, sat nude and harassed patrons of nearby businesses.

After a speaker at a Town Hall meeting asked for the benches to be returned, Council asked for a report from staff giving a history on the benches.

Also on the agenda is an update on the playground equipment and Rose Garden at Applegate Park.

Due to safety concerns, the playground equipment was removed. Public comments were sought during recent Town Hall meetings on replacement options. Staff will seek direction on replacement options on the playground equipment, including whether to use a solid surface or bark beneath the equipment.

The roses died due to the drought and irrigation issues, and some were stolen when they had been replaced. Council has given direction on fixing problems in the Rose Garden and staff is updating the Council on the project and sharing feedback from stakeholders.

The Council will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to confer with labor negotiators, and discuss anticipated litigation.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City's web site at Videos of previous meetings can be found at that link, and are tied to each agenda item. Those services are in addition to the live broadcast of the regular meeting on Comcast's Government Channel 96.

The Council agenda is posted online at and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Request to Speak forms are available at the meeting or can be downloaded from the City's website. Cards must be turned in to the City Clerk in order for a person to be recognized by the Council.

Hmong and Spanish translators are available at all Council meetings.

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