Merced City Council to mull moving elections to even years

jsmith@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 18, 2013 

— The Merced City Council is scheduled Tuesday to consider changing elections to even years, along with two measures aimed at promoting local business.

The council will consider switching elections to even years to reduce election costs. Because many other agencies have switched to even election years, the city is often unable to share election costs, city officials said.

In 2011, the cost of the general election was about $113,000, according to city officials. In 2009, when the city shared election costs with other agencies, the municipal election cost about $18,000.

The council also is being asked by Councilman Mike Murphy to consider a business incentive program that gives new businesses $1,000 if they locate to the city. In exchange, business owners must meet with city officials quarterly. The program would mirror a similar effort in Turlock.

The council will consider adopting a resolution in support of enterprise zone regulations for the city to assist local businesses. Because of the use of enterprise zones in Merced County, city officials said, 655 jobs were created and 3,114 jobs were retained last year.

The council normally meets on the first and third Mondays of the month, but will meet Tuesday because of the Presidents Day holiday.

The agenda is posted at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chambers prior to the meeting. Cards for those requesting to speak are available at the meeting, or can be downloaded from the city's website.

The council meeting can be streamed live at www.cityofmerced.org/ depts/cityclerk/council_ meetings/meeting_videos. asp.

Videos of council meetings will be available the next day on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/ mercedcouncil.

At 5:30 p.m., the council will interview candidates for the two vacancies on the Planning Commission in the council chambers.

The official meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers, 678 W. 18th St., Merced.

Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or jsmith@mercedsunstar.com.

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