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Council considers deficit budget with cuts to police, fire

POSTED June 7, 2013 8:59 p.m.

The Turlock City Council will consider adopting a fiscal year 2013-14 budget on Tuesday with slightly over $1 million in deficit spending.
According to city staff, the proposed budget recognizes "the need to wisely use our limited General Fund Reserve providing critical services to our community and will create resource challenges that will result in some level of service reductions."
If adopted, the proposed budget will reduce police department staffing by four positions and fire department staffing by three positions.
The proposed budget projects revenues to grow 5 percent in sales tax and at least 2 percent in property tax. The total General Fund on-going revenues is projected at $29.2 million for 2013-14, an $800,000 increase in on-going revenue growth but less than the 2012-13 overall revenues of $29.8 million.
At the May 14 City Council meeting, city staff presented four budget scenarios, including a status quo budget, a department request budget, a balanced budget, and a recommended budget.
The balanced budget proposal would require $1.8 million in cuts, coming from 18 employee layoffs throughout various departments in the city. The most heavily hit of these departments would be the police department, with the direct elimination of six employees and the entire Neighborhood Services department.
Along with direct cuts in staff, the police department would see an elimination of specialized units like the narcotics and gang enforcement teams. Additional cuts from both the fire department and city council would also be inevitable under the balanced budget.
In totality, the proposed balanced budget would reduce spending by $1 million.
Although not as dire as the balanced budget proposal, the status quo budget scenario would not add any new spending for any full time or part time positions. That particular scenario would result in $1.7 million in cuts.
Unlike both the balanced and status quo budget, the department budget actually increase spending limit by an excess of $3.4 million.
Lastly, the recommended budget calls for a 2.2 percent reduction in spending and a transfer of $1 million dollars in reserve.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Adopt an amendment to the city's municipal code that will replace the current valuation based building fee system with a cost recovery fee structure.
The building department annual expenses run about $1.1 million, but revenues have only been running about $662,000. Principal Civil Engineer Eric Picciano said the building department, which is responsible for plan checking, inspections and record management, has a workload that does not equal its generated revenue.
• Appropriate $100,000 to the Fulkerth Road Rehabilitation project;
• Approve the purchase of properties at 1129 N. Olive for road widening;
• Approve the final map of Subdivision Improvement Agreement conditioned upon construction of improvements of Lander Crossing Subdivision Project;
• Approve a Professional Services Agreement between the City of Turlock and
RMC Water and Environment for the preparation of an environmental assessment with conveying recycled water to the Delta Mendota Canal via the Patterson Irrigation District;
• Approve a memorandum of understanding between the City of Turlock, the
City of Ceres, Stanislaus County, City of Modesto, City of Oakdale, City of Newman,
California State University Stanislaus, and the California Office of Traffic Safety to work
cooperatively to reduce alcohol related traffic collisions in Stanislaus County through the
"Avoid the 12" Project;
• Extend the City of Turlock's Military Leave Policy;
• Appropriate funds to purchase a replacement 9-1-1 phone system;
• Approving the sale of 821 N. Broadway to the Turlock Irrigation District in the amount of $27,500

 

 

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