Council Roundup: City budget includes pool, paint for water tower, parks
by Michael Langley
Jun 20, 2014 | 4351 views | 2 2 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The members of the City Council approved the city budget for the next fiscal year Tuesday night at the regular meeting.

The council approved the budget unanimously, but not before asking questions about some specific items — including a plan for a new Joe Wilson Pool.

The council asked the city staff May 20 to expedite planning to tear up the pool in Dr. Powers Park and rebuild a new community pool.

Administrative Services Director Jenny Haruyama said the project had been made part of the budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. She explained to council members the financial impact of that priority.

“The additional ongoing general impact would be $117,400. This amount includes the cost of maintenance, utilities, any chemicals that you need for the pool,” Haruyama said. “The total estimated annual operational cost of the pool is $272,000. This assumes the cost of contracting swim lessons with Rec Swim from the YMCA. Currently, these services cost $155,000 and are provided at West High. The city would transfer the services from West High to Joe Wilson Pool and maintain the same level of services.”

Haruyama said that if the project went as planned, the new pool would be open in March 2016. She also presented a rough idea of what Joe Wilson Pool could look like: a renovated building, a small pool for children and a separate four-lane, 25-yard lap pool. She underscored that such ideas were preliminary and that a final design would be placed before the council for public comment.

Haruyama said rebuilding Joe Wilson Pool would cost $3.5 million and recommended using $1.9 million from the existing aquatics center project fund and $1.6 million from excess revenue generated this year.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel was concerned about using money set aside for an aquatics center — which was planned to be part of the Ellis development on Corral Hollow Road — to refurbish the pool.

“I realize there was clear direction from council to move forward with the Joe Wilson Pool, and I support that. I am a little concerned that we have been operating up to date thinking that we had $14 million toward the aquatics center, which is really a $30 million issue,” Maciel said. “I’m a little concerned that we’re going to basically take $2 million out of that. I understand in the short term, we’re trying to get Joe Wilson Pool done. As other public benefit monies became available, could those monies be reallocated back to the aquatic center?”

Haruyama said that the council could decide to do that.

Councilwoman Nancy Young shared Maciel’s concern and asked if there were any other funding sources.

“Are we kind of done looking at the different other options?” she said. “I know we were looking at other alternatives, and it seems that we’re just looking at the money that’s already for aquatics at the other site.”

Interim City Manager Maria Hurtado responded to Young’s question by stating that taking money from the aquatics center fund was the only way to meet the timeline requested by the council.

Maciel said he also wanted to be sure that the pool in Dr. Powers Park was not undersized.

“This is going to be our one, best shot to get this as good as we can get it,” Maciel said. “When we get to the specific design, I would like some thought given to, ‘Does this really meet community needs.’”

Water tower painting debated

Councilman Robert Rickman wondered whether the city needed to paint the water tower at the Civic Center during the next fiscal year — which begins July 1 — or if the $75,000 budgeted for that project could be spent elsewhere.

Rickman questioned the economic or quality-of-life benefits of the project, referring to discussions of budget priorities in the past.

“I don’t see it here with the water tower,” Rickman said. “I know Councilmember Maciel mentioned Tracy Ballpark, and I think that would have more of a quality-of-life benefit or economic benefit to the city, instead of just painting a water tower with our logo on it.”

Mayor Brent Ives said that keeping the landmark presentable gave Tracy intrinsic value for visitors to City Hall who might want to do business with the city.

“When we leave here, we go out the front and get on the bus and tour the city, and the first thing they look at is the fountain,” Ives said. “The second thing they look at is the water tower. I think it needs to be cleaned up. I think it needs to present the proper image of what Tracy ‘s about.”

Councilman Charles Manne called the water tower a trophy for the community.

“I believe it’s a landmark. It’s an asset to the city,” Manne said, supporting the $75,000 paint job.

Young offered a view of the budget as a whole and supported spending the money on that.

“Right now, I don’t see anything before us that’s competing for that bit of money,” she said.

Maciel said he also saw the inherent value of making the tower presentable.

“I don’t look at these figures lightly, but compared to the other things we spend, and some of the benefits, I think the benefits of this may be somewhat intangible but they’re undeniable,” Maciel said. “Enhancing the image of this community is important, especially with all the opportunities that face us.”

Rickman conceded that he was outvoted on whether to spend the money but asked that instead of painting the city logo on the tower — which he believed was part of the project — the city just keep the word “Tracy” on the side of the tower in the interest of historical preservation.

The project will return for final approval later this year.

El Pescadero, McDonald parks to be refurbished

Victoria Dion, city engineer, filled the council in on a plan to add amenities to McDonald Park, 55 N. Central Ave., and El Pescadero Park, 301 W. Grant Line Road.

Dion said the project at McDonald Park would include resurfacing the basketball court and adding a concrete pad for a shade structure and picnic table. Dion said the estimates from contractors might not allow the city to resurface the handball courts or install a memorial monument stone at the Southside park.

The engineer said the plan at El Pescadero Park included a new basketball court and street lighting for night activities.

Dion said the city would issue a notice to proceed in about three weeks, and construction of the basketball court in El Pescadero Park should be done by the end of August.

Maciel made a motion to accept the project, and Rickman seconded it. The council voted unanimously to move forward.

Tracer routes expanded, outlet mall cut off

Ed Lovell, management analyst for the Public Works Department, asked the council to approve changes to the Tracer bus routes and hours of operation to respond to the increased popularity of public transit.

“Due to increased frequency resulting in higher ridership, we’re proposing we extend that increased frequency all day long on routes A and B, which are the most heavily used routes throughout town,” Lovell said.

The city will add one hour in the evenings to the A, B and C routes, which will now run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The city is also adding two hours of service to those routes on Saturday — making the hours of operation 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The city also converted the Tracer commuter route D to all-day service.

“We are seeing quite high ridership numbers on the D route that services the Edgewood area to the south and places that are west of Corral Hollow,” Lovell said to the council. “We feel that by making this an all-day route, this will provide greater service to that area of town that isn’t being served regularly.”

The city is eliminating two hours of peak service on the C route and dropping the portion of the A route that serves the stores at Tracy Outlets — 1005 Pescadero Ave. — because of low demand.

The city will extend commuter route E to the outlet mall area to accommodate students of North School and West High.

Lovell said the city was not proposing to add Sunday service, because the number of riders did not support that move.

He added that the changes would cost an extra $156,000 a year. Tracer service is funded by money from the Federal Transportation Administration and state Transportation Development Act of 1971.

Maciel made a motion to accept the changes, which Rickman seconded. The council voted unanimously to change the Tracer schedule and routes.

A map of current Tracer routes is online at the city website.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at or 830-4231.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 20, 2014
Before we spend $75,000.00 to paint the old water tower near City Hall, I have one simple question - has the tower been checked out by a structural engineer to see what kind of condition it is in? You'd think you would want to know that before voting to spend $75,000.00 on something that might not even be able to support the painter's scaffold. Didn't hear that mentioned on TV last Tuesday when I watched the Council meeting. Maybe I missed it - did anyone hear that item addressed during the discussion?
June 20, 2014
the Joe Wilson Pool is a city owned property...the "swim center" is something that I keep hearing another company would come in and run and make profits from. Why should the taxpayers pay for a property that is making someone else a profit? at least with the Joe Wilson Pool...our money, our property...any profits there might be (haha) would go to the city...and back into the money we paid be used for something else.

if a company wants to come in and run a water park in Tracy...great...come build it and run it and we'll come visit...but we shouldn't have to pay to build it and then pay to visit...

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at