Business · Fresno

Fresno lawmakers weigh job creation pilot program, pay changes for city executives

Months after giving itself a pay raise, the Fresno City Council took steps Thursday to increase pay, this time with backing from Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and his administration.

Thursday, the council approved two bills for introduction that would see its compensation increased to match city employee retirement benefits and reimbursement expenses.

This time, though, the proposal for councilmember raises came from the Dyer administration.

The proposal would provide the mayor and Councilmembers an 11 percent pay bump to compensate for the fact that they do not participate in the city’s retirement system.

Dyer, however, is not eligible for the bump, as he is an active participant in the city’s retirement system dating back to his service in Fresno’s police department.

The proposal would also increase their car and travel allowance to $450, up from $260. The mayor’s travel allowance would increase from $300 to $500. 

General and miscellaneous expenses would be reimbursed for the council up to $750 per month. Whoever the council president for the years would see that total upped to $843.75, and the mayor would be reimbursed up to $850. 

Along with those two bills for introduction, the council approved a resolution that takes the budget division from being under the City Manager’s Office to its own department, which will be named the Department of Budget and Management Studies. 

There will be eight employees in the new department, two more than currently exist in the budget division. 

The bills and resolution passed 4-1, with Councilman Garry Bredefeld voting no. Councilmembers Esmeralda Soria and Mike Karbassi were absent. 

The bills introduced regarding council and mayoral compensation will return at a later date to be officially approved. 

Chavez pitches tax relief for job creation on Kings Canyon Blvd.

A new pilot program for job creation is coming to the the Ventura-Kings Canyon-Avenida Cesar Chave corridor east of First Street. 

Sponsored by Councilman Luis Chavez, the pilot program will run for 18 months to facilitate job creation through the mitigation of impact fees.

Under the program, impact fees will either be reduced or eliminated along the corridor, except for water and sewer connection charges. 

Developments must meet a certain criteria to take advantage of the reduced fees, including the following: 

  • Be a commercial or mixed-use development on vacant property 
  • Be owner-occupied or subject to a lease of at least three years 
  • Already has the necessary public infrastructure in place
  • Will create and sustain at least five new full-time equivalent jobs

The city will also provide the following tax rebates for those businesses: 

  • 50 percent of sales tax
  • 50 percent of the incremental city property tax attributable to investment made or caused by the business, for owner occupied properties

Safe access to Woodward Park

With many traffic deaths occurring near Woodward Park, Karbassi brought forward a workshop to study safe access to Fresno’s largest park.

The study resulted in a report from UC Berkeley and the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The study proposed several projects to increase safety around the park, such as reconfiguring N. Friant Rd. to reduce speeds and increase driver awareness of pedestrians and cyclists, connecting the Fresno-Clovis Rail Trail to Woodward Park at Shepherd Ave. and reconfiguring Audubon Dr. for pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The full report can be found here.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.