Council to swear in new mayor and council members Monday night

Three new members of the Merced City Council will take the oath of office at the start of the 7 p.m. Monday meeting. Mayor Stan Thurston and Councilmen Mike Murphy and Tony Dossetti will begin their terms after the ceremony. Returning Councilman Noah Lor also will be sworn in.

Outgoing Mayor Bill Spriggs and Council Members Michelle Gabriault-Acosta and John Carlisle will be honored for their service to the city.

The meeting will be carried live on Comcast Channel 96.

On the agenda for the evening is a public hearing to consider changing the zoning of the Fahrens Park Plaza from business park to neighborhood commercial. Owners of the plaza, located at Highway 59 and Buena Vista Drive, want a reduction in the amount of parking required for the site along with the changes in use.

Also on the agenda is an urgency ordinance that would allow the city to freeze water rates and eliminate a scheduled increase. Staff also is seeking approval of a water-rate study to determine future rates and connection charges.

The council will be asked to adopt the 2011 Emergency Operations Plan for the city. The plan outlines how the city would deal with large-scale disasters such as a flood, major fire or toxic spill.

The regular City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the council chamber on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. The council will adjourn to a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday closed session to discuss labor issues and existing litigation.

The council agenda is posted online at www.cityofmerced.org and is available outside the chamber before the meeting.