Sep 26

A Brief Update on the City's Strategic Planning Process

Posted on September 26, 2019 at 2:33 PM by Thomas Reeves

The city of Modesto’s strategic plan is getting closer to completion! Since last year we have been working to gather information from citywide town hall meetings, focus groups and our community survey on community priorities for Council consideration.  I personally want to give a huge thanks to all who came out to the town hall meetings, participated in our focus groups and took the survey.  We really appreciate all your feedback!

The Strategic Plan and results of the community survey will be presented to the City Council at its regular meeting on October 8.

The plan will aid the city of Modesto - as an organization and community - in aligning our strategy for future decisions and resources.  Through the information-gathering stages we have found that our community engagement, diversity, and location are some of Modesto’s strengths. 

We also heard from the community that there is a need for more focus on an identity for Modesto, city beautification, an improved sense of safety, and addressing homelessness.  The themes we have identified from your feedback, including those above, are essential to the creation of a plan and budget that will lead Modesto in the right direction. 

Once established, the plan will be implemented as part of the annual budget cycle, which is a critical component of a robust, transparent discussion about funding the priorities of our community.

We are looking forward to the finalization of our strategic plan so we can start on the path toward addressing YOUR priorities. 

Sep 04

Housing on the Horizon

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 12:23 PM by Thomas Reeves

I am excited to share with you that new housing developments will be coming to Modesto! With the housing market on the rise, we are looking to increase the housing inventory in our city. 

We cannot start development on our own, so our goal is to help facilitate the growth of housing and encourage property owners and housing developers to begin building in our city. Our Community and Economic Development staff has already laid out some beautiful establishments that are ready to be presented to developers, and I am looking forward to their role in advancing our city in the future.

The first all-new establishment that is available for developers is called Tivoli [tiv-uh-lee]. Located in northeast Modesto, Tivoli will offer residential living for those with incomes ranging from low to high. The master planned community will consist of over 2,500 homes and apartments, and will be the biggest project we are offering to developers. As you can imagine, the Tivoli development will take time, but if the housing market continues to rise, it will get off the ground and running much sooner. 

Right now, the Vintage, located on Dale Road behind the Vintage Fair Mall and Village 1, located between Oakdale and Clause Road, are under construction; you can even go visit the model homes for the Vintage to get a sense of the style it offers! The Vintage has about 230 lots that can accommodate medium income families, and Village 1 is available for medium- to high-income families. 

As a related side note, the Federal Reserve announced recently it is cutting its interest rates, and this could mean savings for many workers. This cut is the first in over a decade, and could mean more savings for the average working person. So if you or someone you know is looking into new housing options, there are new reasons to consider making that investment.

Although Modesto can boast several new housing developments, your city leadership has not lost sight toward the goal of offering more affordable housing options.  As the housing market continues to rise, the more likely we are to have an interest in developers wanting to partner with the city on increasing its inventory of affordable housing. 

There also has been a growing interest within the community and among developers for housing downtown through Smart Growth principles, including live/work properties, and Transit-Oriented Development.  With the help of planning efforts, like the Downtown Master Plan currently underway, we will have a road-map for providing these and other unique housing options for those who call Modesto home.   

Stay tuned for more!

Aug 07

Update on HUD Audit

Posted on August 7, 2019 at 10:43 AM by Thomas Reeves

An audit performed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) last year found that the city had not been following certain requirements laid out by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. As part of this audit, we have updated our policies, implemented new procedures, made sure we have proper documentation, and have required more training for our staff.  After these immediate changes, the OIG commended the city for its commitment to address the issues identified in the audit and its efforts to continue working with HUD. 

At the city council meeting tonight, the council will decide whether they will authorize the Community and Economic Development department to repay the HUD and CDBG program. This repayment of $154,160 to HUD is based on staff incorrectly charging their timecards to the grant-funded account instead of a non-grant funded account. To ensure this won’t happen again, all staff timecards have been moved to a non-grant funded cost center. 

The repayment would be unique because the money that would be coming from the Community and Economic Development’s general fund would be going right back into the continuing development of our city through the CDBG program. This repayment will restore integrity with the HUD, and we look forward to our continued funding relationship with them.