Tuesday night the City Council accepted a plan to spend $1.48 million on eight projects around Tracy during a Capital Improvement Projects public workshop. The projects include additional money set aside from city Fund 301 — the only fund that can be used for any city project — to build a new animal shelter, paint the water tower at City Hall and replace the Hoyt Park structures.
Jenny Haruyama, city administrative services director, told the council that the projects recommended for Fund 301 money were carefully selected.
“This year, we had 44 projects that were brought forward. Only eight were recommended for funding, primarily due to the limited amount of funds that we have.” Haruyama said. “When you make the allocation considerations, we’re looking at balancing all of the community across the board and then again considering the future on investment, making sure those dollars are being invested wisely.”
Haruyama said replacing the play equipment at Hoyt Park was a necessity.
“The wood structure has deteriorated significantly and is now a safety hazard,” she said.
Dino Margaros, president of the Tracy City Center Association, and Anna Craig, owner of Mia Bella’s Boutique, 110 W. 10th St., asked the council members to consider spending some money to replace the ground lights meant to light up the trees around downtown. Many of the lights are out or broken.
Craig said the lights show off the restoration done years ago by the city.
“I believe that lighting is a huge reflection of who we are and how you feel. When you go into a downtown area and you see things lit up, it just makes you feel good,” Craig said. “As I look down the street, it just did not look appealing. It looks scary and dark.”
Margaros added that he would ask the TCCA board to offer $15,000 to help fund the project.
Mayor Brent Ives said he completely agreed that the city needed more lighting downtown and asked Haruyama what was possible. The administrative services director told him she was trying to find funding in the current budget to fix the lights now and would work with TCCA to fund replacement of the lights in the coming fiscal year.
Included in the written report prepared for the council were more than $128 million of unfunded projects. The two top projects not selected for the next fiscal year were a $300,000 purchase of infrastructure management software and a $7.8 million expansion of the public works facility. A dog park for south Tracy, a new 50-meter pool at Dr. Powers Park, repairs to the facilities at Tracy Municipal Airport and a $17 million public safety training facility were among the other projects not moved forward.
The council made no changes to the spending plans which will now be part of the overall city budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The City Council will consider the entire budget at its first regular meeting in June.
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at email@example.com or 830-4231.