Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors Watch

Some Stanislaus County leaders aren't happy about it, but Tuesday they agreed to pay for half the cost of asking voters whether the Parklawn neighborhood should someday get city sewer service.

Supervisors Jim DeMartini, whose district includes the south Modesto area, accused Modesto leaders of "buckling under political pressure" to hold an advisory vote before its time. Such votes, required under Modesto law, are supposed to occur after the county identifies a funding source for an estimated $2 million sewer upgrade, but the county has done no such thing, county officials said.

Overflowing sewage from failing septic systems has caused some homes to sink in the 80-acre, unincorporated area.

DeMartini also is upset that City Hall planned to charge Parklawn neighbors one-third of the Nov. 2 election costs, saying it's probably illegal. County leaders Tuesday agreed to split expenses with Modesto, even though the city's initial estimate tripled to $33,000.

And after all is said and done, the vote has little meaning because it's nonbinding and the county has no money for the work, DeMartini said.

In other action, by unanimous vote, Stanislaus County supervisors Tuesday:

• Accepted a plan for child welfare services, as required every three years by the state. Officials are fairly pessimistic in the latest version because of "greatly diminished resources," such as fewer substance abuse counselors who deal with parents at risk of losing their children. Another evaluation indicates that some foster care placements "are not consistent and require more thorough review."

• Called for bids to renovate a boat launch at Woodward Reservoir north of Oakdale, expected to cost about $1.8 million. Heron Point's single-lane launch would be widened to two lanes and the project would add a floating dock, parking for 40 vehicles and trailers, restrooms and fish-cleaning stations.

• Hired two firms to study the county redevelopment agency's finances, for a combined $30,500. State law would hamper the agency's ability to secure large bonds after June without the studies. The county has used such bonds for storm drain projects in Salida costing $4.5 million and in Keyes costing $15.6 million.

• Gave the Housing Authority of Stanislaus County $600,000 for housing rehabilitation

-- Garth Stapley

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star