GUSTINE - City officials are moving forward with plans to relocate Gustine’s corporation yard, clearing the way for construction of a long-planned roundabout to replace the 90-degree turn of Highway 33/140 in front of Richard’s Market.

Council members last week signed off on several expenses to facilitate the move - but asked staff to revamp fencing plans at the new corporation yard at East Avenue and Carnation Road in order to trim expenses.

The council approved $106,000 in expenditures to prepare parking lots, move a modular building from the existing location to the new corporation yard and connect city utilities, but balked at the $93,000 fencing cost proposed.

City Manager Doug Dunford said he will modify the fencing plans and return to the council with new cost proposals for consideration. Fencing will be a major expense in the project, he noted.

“You are talking over 55,000 square feet that we will be fencing,” he commented. “We need to make it secure for the public works yard.”

Dunford said he will also change a funding proposal for the corporation yard move.

He proposed funding 60 percent of the project through the sewer fund, 20 percent through the water fund and 20 percent through the city’s utility user tax (UUT) reserves.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Oliveira objected to the use of UUT monies for the project.

“The UUT has been my pet fund to save. It is the only reason we still have a swimming pool and recreation,” he said. “That seems like a pretty good chunk to come out of it. I wonder when I’m gone how long that UUT is going to last. That is supposed to pay for projects that we could not (otherwise) fund.”

Dunford later told Mattos Newspapers that he will find a funding source other than the UUT to pay for the move.

“We will change it. We will make it happen a different way,” he stated.

The corporation yard move has been in the works since city officials started talking about the roundabout nine years ago, Dunford noted.

“It will be a tremendous upgrade from what they have now. We will be able to provide them the space that they need to accommodate the needs of the city and the public works department,” he said.

Dunford said he hopes to conduct the corporation yard move in late December or early January.

“Those are slower months for public works so it gives them time to move things over,” he explained.

Dunford said the city hopes to get the required permits from Caltrans before the end of the year to move forward with the roundabout.

In that case, he said, the city would go to bid on the roundabout in late January and could break ground on the project in the spring of next year.

Federal funding will pay for most of the project, he said. The city’s local match of just under 12 percent will be covered by regional Measure V funds, according to the city manager.