Modesto City Council Watch

The Modesto City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on:

— Declaring a state of "severe fiscal hardship" if the Legislature moves to take local government funding to balance the state budget

— Dedicating a portion of the city's drinking water fund to pay for storm drain maintenance

— Participating in a joint powers authority with Ceres, Hughson and Turlock to build a water treatment plant using Turlock Irrigation District water. Modesto's share of construction likely would cost at least $50 million. It is considered necessary to deliver safe water to Modesto homes south of the Tuolumne River, but its high price tag could hold up the project. Modesto is paying for a $77 million water treatment plant to be operated by the Modesto Irrigation District.

— Entering into a contract with Clear Solutions West of Atwater to buy $70,000 worth of hypochlorite tablets for Modesto's water supply each year for up to five years

— Hiring a San Francisco law firm to assist the city with ongoing labor negotiations. Renne Sloann Holtzman & Sakai can earn up to $40,000 on the contract. Modesto's budget crunch has the city in continual negotiations with labor groups over cost-saving efforts.

-- Adam Ashton