State

Stanislaus County Supervisors Watch

By unanimous vote, Stanislaus County supervisors on Tuesday:

Approved a $4.4 million Redevelopment Agency budget, as well as a five-year agency plan. In that time, officials expect to collect $21.3 million, with $8.7 million reserved for affordable housing and $12.6 million for capital projects. Such projects include future sewer trunks in Modesto's Parklawn and Airport neighborhoods. Officials plan to spend $200,000 in cost studies for those extensions.

Agreed to pay an additional $943,000 in engineering costs to replace a 670-foot, 61-year-old bridge on Crows Landing Road over the San Joaquin River. The county in 2001 paid Nolte Associates $385,000 to design an earthquake- and flood- resistant bridge east of Crows Landing, used by about 6,700 vehicles each day. But the county delayed the project several times and now is in danger of losing $1.4 million in federal money if the project, estimated to cost $19 million, doesn't get moving soon. Supervisors agreed to hire Nolte again without requesting other bids, to save time.

Agreed to conduct a March 8 special election for Riverbank to replace former Councilman Danny Fielder, who resigned in July. Although officials previously figured on spending $35,000, a new estimate goes as high as $57,000.

Approved setting traps for the European grapevine moth in commercial vineyards. The state will pay $24,400 in an effort to contain the pest, whose larvae cause flower damage, preventing fruit development.

Accepted a $139,000 state grant to fight auto insurance fraud. A similar grant last year enabled authorities to investigate 105 cases, resulting in prosecution of 12 defendants for felony insurance fraud, plus 79 people for auto theft.

Signed a deal to inspect repairs on San Francisco's drinking water pipes running from Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Reservoir through the county to the Bay Area. Crews soon will start work on the pipes, which traverse parts of Riverbank and Modesto, and work could continue for 20 years. The county's inspectors will make sure the work meets county standards, at an annual estimated cost of $72,600.

Gave $109,700 to the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance, which promotes business throughout the county and its nine cities.

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