August 31, 2014

Youth council funding up for discussion

The Merced City Council, which will meet Tuesday, will decide whether to accept the mayor’s request to put funding into the budget to cover the expenses of the youth council, which has been designed but not fully staffed. A number of grants related to air quality are also on the agenda for approval.

With guidelines set for a youth council in Merced, funding will be a topic of discussion during the next meeting of the Merced City Council.

Because of the Labor Day holiday, the governing body will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Merced City Hall, 678 W. 18th St.

Mayor Stan Thurston said last month he would like to discuss adding a roughly $25,000 expenditure for the youth council to the city’s budget, which could cover expenses related to travel or other efforts. As with any proposal to spend tax dollars, the City Council would have final say over the money.

The council will decide whether city staff should spend time completing an analysis of the pros and cons of such funding. The discussion could also be kicked down the road for a future goal-setting meeting of the council.

The youth council will serve as an intermediary between young people in Merced and the City Council, relaying concerns to officials. It was designed primarily by a task force of youth.

The youth council will be made up of seven members. Six of them will come from three districts, created by using use Bear Creek and Highway 99 to cut the city into three parts. The seventh would be an at-large pick – from anywhere in the city.

City staff has said all of the youth council meetings will be open to young people in the city but the board will not be held to the requirements of the Brown Act, which guarantees the public’s rights to know about and attend meetings.

The task force has proposed that members of the youth council be 13 to 19 years old, fill out an application and live in Merced. If the applicant is enrolled in school, which is not required, he or she must carry a 2.0 GPA or better.

At the same meeting, the City Council will decide whether to accept a number of grants related to air quality. They include $123,935 for bicycle shelters; $388,000 for a bike path along Black Rascal Creek; $301,710 for construction related to synchronizing traffic lights on G Street; $432,708 for sidewalks on Carol Avenue; and $366,195 for sidewalks on R and other streets.

A closed session is planned before the open meeting at 6:15 p.m. to discuss the sale of city-owned land, a 1.92-acre parcel encompassing a car wash, laundromat and single-family home.

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