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City Manager's Blog

Jul 23

2021-2022 Budget and ARPA Funding

Posted on July 23, 2021 at 10:57 AM by Marc Garcia

Developing the City budget is one of the most important actions of our organization. On June 22, City Council approved the 2021-2022 budget for the next fiscal year. I’m proud to say that this budget reflects community priorities identified in the City’s Strategic Plan and balances our needs with financial restraint. 

Modesto is currently in a period of transition. We’re moving out of the economic downturn and the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While these events are ongoing, the City is making its way towards recovery.

Our total proposed Operating Budget is $478 million. We worked hard to create a balanced budget – meaning we’re spending as much money as we’re bringing in. We made strategic cuts to expenses and City positions while taking advantage of new American Rescue Plan Act funding. 

The American Rescue Plan is a $1.9 trillion federal emergency relief measure intended to address the impacts of COVID-19. This legislation makes historic investments in local government. The City of Modesto will receive $45.89 million - $22.9 million is already being put to good use, and the remaining 50% will be distributed in May 2022. 

The City must follow the ARPA legislation that outlines how and where the funds can be spent. Our plan is outlined in a pandemic recovery strategy known as Modesto Forward. You’ll see we’re focusing on projects that positively impact the quality of life, economic vitality and service delivery for Modesto residents.

Specifically, that means investments in:

  • Community parks and public facilities 
  • The Children’s Museum, Car Museum and Awesome Spot Playground
  • Downtown housing 
  • Affordable housing and homeless programs 
  • Business support and broadband infrastructure
  • Mental health initiatives 
  • Improvements to City facilities 
  • The City’s forestry program, and 
  • Programs to improve police-community relations

Some of these programs already exist, and some programs are new programs under development that we hope to roll out soon. Together, we are excited to move Modesto Forward and make investments that directly benefit residents and the community. To learn more, visit our Modesto Forward webpage at

Jul 13

Forward Together - Gathering Diverse Viewpoints (Featuring Interim Police Chief Brandon Gillespie)

Posted on July 13, 2021 at 8:42 AM by Marc Garcia

I've always said the Modesto community should be the ones to determine how we make our city safer. That's why I believe the Forward Together initiative is so important.

The Modesto Police Department plays a critically important role in keeping Modesto safe, but we all know that law enforcement is only one component. Together we can build a strong, resilient, equitable public safety environment. To do that, we need involvement from the entire community.

We launched Forward Together, intending to build stronger relationships and greater trust. This community engagement process will gather feedback from the public, develop a shared understanding, and explore solutions to improve the safety of our community.

Because we all play a role in this effort, it's important that we include various viewpoints. The Forward Together Work Group is made up of representatives from a diverse group of entities from law enforcement to non-profits, advocacy groups to faith-based organizations (see below for the complete list); these organizations provide essential perspectives.

Equally  important is the perspective of Modesto residents. That's why the working group will also include four members from the community at-large. We've been collecting applications, and the Work Group will determine which four individuals will join their team. We expect a subcommittee to be formed at the first meeting on July 20 to review the almost 30 applications.

The first Forward Together meeting will be an important one. This group has a lot of responsibility and a lot of work ahead of them. They'll be learning more about the inter-workings of the Modesto Police Department, our policies, procedures, and how we interact with the criminal justice system to drive down crime and keep the community safe. The Forward Together will also learn about and discuss potential ideas for improving policing in our community so they can go about the challenging task of developing recommendations for the City Council to consider.

We want to hear from all of you! I hope you'll take time to send an email, fill out the online form or leave us a voicemail to share your thoughts on how we can improve public safety in Modesto and move forward together.

Ways to Provide Feedback

Forward Together Work Group

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California
  • American Federation of Labor - Stanislaus Central Labor Council    
  • City Ministry Network          
  • Central Valley Pride Center (CVPC) MoPride        
  • Downtown Modesto Partnership  
  • El Concilio     
  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce   
  • Latino Community Roundtable     
  • Modesto Chamber of Commerce   
  • Modesto City Schools          
  • Modesto Clergy Council      
  • Modesto Neighborhoods, Inc.       
  • Modesto PD Internal Affairs          
  • Modesto Police Officers Association (MPOA)     
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)       
  • Stanislaus County Behavioral Health      
  • Stanislaus County District Attorney          
  • Stanislaus County Interfaith Council (SCIC)        
  • Stanislaus County Public Defender          
  • Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department 
  • West Modesto Community Collaborative
Jul 01

Introducing Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority (Featuring Mayor Sue Zwahlen)

Posted on July 1, 2021 at 10:55 AM by Marc Garcia

Public transit users in Modesto and throughout Stanislaus County will soon notice a simplified rider experience. Modesto Area Express (MAX) and Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT) will merge into one seamless system called the Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority (StanRTA).

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