Merced City Council to tackle budget, Housing and Urban Development plan, water restrictions

The city’s budget and Housing and Urban Development Annual Action Plan will be up for discussion when the Merced City Council meets Monday.

The governing body will meet at 5:45 p.m. for a budget study session at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St., followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The budget study session will be the first opportunity for City Council and Merced residents to set eyes on a draft of the 2014-15 budget.

The budget incorporates policy guidelines that the City Council gave staff during priority-setting meetings earlier this year.

Youth advocates have called for the city to put more money into recreational and job-training programs for youngsters.

As experts have predicted improvements in the economy, they are also expecting the city to see a rise in tax revenues.

The HUD plan describes how the federal money will be spent by the city.

No matter how the money is used, it must meet a HUD-approved national objective.

That means the activities must directly benefit low- and moderate-income people, aid in prevention and elimination of slums or blight, or meet an urgent need, such as flood, hurricane or tornado cleanup and repair.

The city received 10 applications requesting $130,265 in funding, but only has $50,000 to dole out.

The nonprofits looking for money are the Center of Vision Enhancement, Potter’s Place, Healthy House, Isaiah Community Project, Merced County Arts Council, Merced County Community Action Agency, Merced County Rescue Mission, Valley Crisis Center, JMJ Maternity Homes and Merced Lao Family Community Inc.

Also on the agenda is a second reading for the ordinance that tightens water restrictions.

The new ordinance, which would go into effect in June, decreases outdoor irrigation days to two per week, shortens the watering window to between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and requires car wash fundraisers to be held at commercial car washes, where the used water can be recycled.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet. A link is available at Comcast’s Government Channel 96 will broadcast the meeting live.