Merced City Council to ponder Merced Theatre funding, plus labor negotiations

The Merced City Council said it will consider funding restoration of the Merced Theatre with tax credits, hiring a firm for labor negotiations and setting a joint meeting on the General Plan at its Monday meeting.

The City Redevelopment Agency is seeking to obtain more than $5 million in funds to restore the historic theater through the use of a tax credit package. The money would be used to refurbish the interior of the 1930s-era theater. The RDA has already helped restore the exterior, along with storefronts and apartments that are part of the building, the city said in a news release.

The city said it is considering hiring Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for labor negotiations. Agreements with the Merced Association of City Employees, unrepresented management and the International Fire Fighters Association Local 1479 expire at the end of the year. The city also has a limited contract reopener with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The labor negotiations have been conducted by the assistant city manager, but that position is vacant with the departure of Bill Cahill. The legal firm has offices in Fresno and has worked for the city in other negotiations. The contract would be limited to no more than $35,000, the news release continued.

The council is also being asked to set a joint study session with the Planning Commission to review the City’s General Plan. A draft version of the plan and the environmental impact report is posted online at the city’s website.

The council will meet in closed session at 6:15 p.m. to discuss labor negotiations and existing litigation.

The regular City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St.

The council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chambers before the meeting. Request to Speak cards 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.