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City officials agree with grand jury findings on Measure L
ceres city seal

The city of Ceres has formally agreed with grand jury findings looking into how well cities are complying with Measure L, the 25-year half-cent sales tax measure for transportation.

In April the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury released a report that found that the cities in Stanislaus County are implementing Measure L funds as intended.

Measure L was approved by county voters in November 2016 with more than a 70 percent majority support.

However the jury report indicated that while the city of Ceres has not been posting an informational sign at project sites funded by Measure L, the websites of Ceres, Patterson, and Turlock contained no Measure L information posted and none were aware that each city website is required to post up-to-date information on Measure L projects for reasons of transparency. The panel suggested that since Measure L is new that it “expects some bumps along the road for local jurisdictions in the first few years.”

City Manager Toby Wells said the city had indeed posted information on Measure L funded projects, but it was deemed insufficient. He said overall the report was positive for the cities examined.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, city officials agreed with the following findings, that:

• StanCOG developed a thorough, all-inclusive special sales tax program in Measure L which benefits all of Stanislaus County.

• After Stanislaus County voters approved Measure L in November 2016, both StanCOG and local jurisdictions moved quickly to implement the program.

• Ceres, Patterson, and Turlock have completed, or are in the process of completing, initial capital improvement projects approved by StanCOG. All three cities are meeting project goals.

• City project management lack detailed knowledge regarding Measure L funding. While the grand jury did not indicate that Ceres city staff was lacking in knowledge of the budget and finance, the city agrees that individuals working on the projects should be very cognizant of the funding source and how the program is implemented.

• Ceres, Patterson, and Turlock have not developed a dedicated Measure L webpage on the cities’ websites. The city of Ceres agrees with the recommendation and noted that it will be implemented by Dec. 31.

The city’s response will go to Judge Dawna Reeves of the Stanislaus County Superior Court.