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City Council looks to balance budget with cuts, reserves

POSTED June 10, 2011 8:29 p.m.

The Turlock City Council will consider adopting a $27 million General Fund budget on Tuesday – but that budget still sits $3.9 million in the red.

Turlock hopes to make up $1.9 million of that deficit through employee concessions. The most current round of concessions is due to sunset June 30.

The remaining $1.5 million deficit would be closed with funding from Turlock’s $15 million General Fund Reserve.

The proposed General Fund budget does include a $1.6 million in direct expense reductions over last year’s adopted budget, including the elimination of three positions and the police canine program. Other reductions proposed include:

·         $45,731 – general reduction from the City Council department

·         $159,605 – delay hiring Assistant City Manager

·         $50,000 – reduce City Clerk contract services

·         $10,000 – reduce City Attorney contract services

·         $43,957 – reduction in building janitorial

·         $4,800 – reduction in alarm services

·         $11,153 – reduction in LAFCO membership

·         $140,409 – transfer two facilities employees to non-general fund vacancies

·         $209,718 – transfer three parks employees into non-general fund vacancies

·         $116,890 – eliminate one secretary and one office assistant from Facilities, Parks, and Recreation

·         $100,386 – eliminate one senior supervisor from Facilities, Parks, and Recreation

·         $160,000 – reduction in fire department overtime due to a grant

·         $45,000 – reduction in contracted services, materials, and supplies for the Turlock Police Department

·         $54,404 – eliminate Police Canine program

·         $176,626 – reappoint two non-sworn personnel to Dispatch, and freeze two Community Service Officer positions

·         $300,000 – combine police and fire support operations divisions

·         $40,000 – shared facilities for police and dire administration.

Turlock expects to continue to engage in “multifaceted strategies” to bring expenses in line with revenues over the next two to four fiscal years. Sustained internal controls, critical review of the budget structure, increased revenue sources through economic development and a rebounding economy are cited in the staff report as budget-balancing tools.

But the reserve, pegged to sit at $12,888,515 at the close of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, faces significant challenges. A further $3 million in reserves would be spent by 2014, just on capital equipment replacement foregone during the leanest years. A further $890,000 cost for street lighting, previously funded by the state, could hit the reserve in 2012-2013.

As Turlock hopes to maintain a hard reserve of $6.5 million, that leaves just $2.5 million in available reserve funding before Turlock’s expenditures must match its revenues.

 

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:

·         Allocate $4,000 to complete landscape design plans for the Turlock Beautification Project, which would landscape the Monte Vista Interchange and the Golden State Corridor from Canal to Taylor. The past council cancelled the planning effort by a 3-2 vote, due to concerns regarding the cost of maintenance and a lack of funding to landscape even should plans be completed.

·         Appoint a City Council member, an alternate, a staff member, and a staff alternate to the East Stanislaus Regional Water Management Partnership.

·         Hear a presentation on Choose Civility Flags from Sonny DaMarto, superintendent of the Turlock Unified School District.

·         Receive a special briefing from Andrew LaFlamme, Director of Legislative Affairs at California State University, Stanislaus.

·         Hold a reception prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., in honor of Allison Van Guilder. She will later be reclassified into the position of Parks, Recreation and Facilities manager as part of the reorganization of Turlock’s Municipal Services department.

·         Conduct five items in closed session: a liability claim from Nayem Ali Bagah, an annual performance review of City Attorney Phaedra Norton, conference with labor negotiators representing all employee unions, conference with real property negotiators regarding the site of the Turlock Police Department, and conference with real property negotiators regarding the parcel at 144 S. Broadway.

·         Create three new job classifications: Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Manager, Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Superintendent, and Executive Administrative Assistant/Public Safety.

·         Accept a $63,450 increase in costs for the Carnegie Center Reconstruction, related to unforeseen onsite conditions and omissions from bid documents and plans. It would be the third increase in the cost, up nearly $60,000 from the initial, $5.2 million contract.

·         Approve a project to install a traffic signal at the intersection of South Kilroy Road and West Main Street. The project would cost $260,438.

·         Amend a retainer agreement with Kleinfelder West, Inc., for geotechnical testing and inspection services, increasing the maximum allowable compensation from $250,000 to $400,000. The city has reached the $250,000 threshold, primarily due to specialized inspection services the city is unable to perform in-house for the Carnegie Center Reconstruction and the Public Safety Facility construction.

·         Appropriate $8,957 as a 20 percent match to purchase new mobile data computers for the Turlock Fire Department.

·         Adopt the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan Update, which includes new efficiency targets to reduce per capita water use by 20 percent by the year 2020.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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