Merced City Council changes start time of all future meetings

Merced City Council meetings will start at 6 p.m. beginning with the Monday, May 1 meeting. The Council decided to begin its meetings an hour earlier so that the public would get out of the sessions in a timely manner. Some Council meetings have lasted until 11 p.m. or midnight. Council meetings are held in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St.

On the May 1 agenda, the Council will consider establishing a groundwater sustainability agency and hear a report on the high-speed rail. The Council will also hold a public hearing on whether to join with other local agencies in forming a groundwater sustainability agency. The agency would develop a plan to manage groundwater resources in the local groundwater sub basin roughly conforming to the Merced Irrigation District boundaries.  The requirement to form the agency came about after the state passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014. The cost to the City to create the agency in the first year is approximately $250,000.

Central Valley Regional Director Diana Gomez will update the Council on the California High Speed Rail project. The High Speed Rail would send the so-called bullet train from the Bay Area to Los Angeles through the Central Valley. Merced is a scheduled stop on the first leg of the train, and the City has funds to study the impacts of the Downtown station.

Also on the agenda is a Real estate update presented by Loren Gonella of Coldwell Banker/Gonella Realty.  The Council will meet in closed session at 5:30 p.m. to confer with property negotiators regarding property at 725 W. 18th St.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link to the live meeting is on the City’s web site at https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. 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 www.cityofmerced.org 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.