(Did you get this forwarded from a friend? Sign up to receive our newsletter here.)
Good morning, and welcome to the Fresnoland Lab newsletter. Today is Friday, July 10.
This week in Fresnoland, Monica explored why Earlimart’s water system is failing its residents – and helped answer some urgent questions about water safety; Danielle reported on a big feat for south Valley farmers – $200 million of federal taxpayer money could be headed this way to fix the Friant-Kern Canal, which has been damaged due to groundwater overdraft.
It’s summer, which means … it’s budget season!
The Fresno City Council adopted a $1.2 billion budget with no layoffs on June 23. The council plans to adopt a long-term spending plan in a few months, after they have a better idea of how much the coronavirus hurt the economy. Here’s the top five things you should know about the budget:
Continuing Resolution — For the first time in its history, the Fresno City Council adopted its annual budget with a continuing resolution — a temporary measure that can be used to fund the government for a limited amount of time. This means the council will be back in a few months to adopt a long-term spending plan after the state gets a better hold on COVID-19’s impact.
Essentially, the city will spend in the first quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year at the same level it is during the current fiscal year. The administration will be able to provide essential services while spending money cautiously until the true budget — and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic — is clear. Fresno Bee
Advance Peace — The Fresno City Council approved funding for a three-year contract with Advance Peace, a prevention program that is directed to the city’s most likely shooters and works with them to change their lives and make the community safer.
Advocates of Advance Peace say their method finds other ways for public servants to respond to 911 calls rather than always sending officers. But the idea does not necessarily mean abolishing the police force.
Kimberly McCoy, program director for Fresno Building Healthy Communities, said she hoped the council’s funding of the program will be a long-term investment. “These are gang members who want to change and who want to get out of that life,” she said. Read the full story. Fresno Bee
CARES Act Spending Plan — The Fresno City Council approved a plan for spending federal $92.8 million COVID-19 relief money on June 23.
The council plans to spend some of the money on two health clinics for southwest and southeast Fresno, a food distribution program and an expansion of testing for the coronavirus.
This relief money will add a significant amount of funding to the city’s poorest southern neighborhoods. Fresno Bee
Graffiti Abatement Moves to PARCS — The city council also voted to move Graffiti abatement from a police matter to code enforcement. The plan also includes teaming with an arts group to paint murals on walls to reduce graffiti. Fresno Bee
Team of homeless advocates —The council also voted to set up an exploratory team, made up of homeless advocates and representatives of the Fresno County Department of Public Health, to recommend changes to having police on the homeless task force.
“The end goal is to find out a better mechanism to respond to homelessness in our community,” Councilmember Esmeralda Soria said. Fresno Bee
Fresno County and Clovis will be adopting budgets later this year. Fresnoland and our fellow reporters at The Fresno Bee will keep you informed when those processes begin.
And now, the week’s top reads:
(For the most recent local coronavirus updates, visit www.fresnobee.com/coronavirus.)
Have you tried unsuccessfully to reach the California unemployment phone line? You are not alone. Read what others say about the experience. Fresno Bee
If your rent or mortgage is due, but you don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. The city of Fresno is ready to help you stay in your home if you qualify. Fresno Bee
The Fresno City Council voted to let its tax-sharing agreement with the county, a key policy document that influences future growth and investment, lapse. Here’s why. Fresno Bee
Housing for the homeless is coming to the affluent suburb of Clovis. Fresno Bee
How COVID-19 may cause Fresno’s Latino community to lose out on big money, resources. Fresno Bee
New electric truck rule has some concerned about the future. The Business Journal
America’s looming housing catastrophe, explained. Vox
People of color are expected to be hurt by the Trump administration action which threw out a rule aimed at protecting working people from payday lenders enacted under former President Obama. Los Angeles Times
California will still shelter wildfire evacuees in hotels but will require temperature checks and additional steps to protect people from COVID-19. Los Angeles Times
A state audit found that California’s state housing agency did not conduct full inspections at more than half of the state’s mobile home parks between 2010 and 2019 and should improve oversight to protect residents. Los Angeles Times
‘The wrong complexion for protection.’ How race shaped America’s roadways and cities. NPR
Congress may have to spend more money to prop up the American economy during this pandemic. New York Times
As businesses reel from the coronavirus pandemic, one area — producers of clean, renewable energy are holding steady. New York Times
How Berkeley could remove the police from traffic stops. New York Times
Meet the gleaners, combing farm fields to feed the newly hungry. New York Times