The Turlock City Council unanimously voted to hand the figurative ’road tax torch’ off to the citizens of Turlock to rally the troops and help pass the much debated half cent tax, which will appear on the November ballot.
Coined Turlock’s number one issue by council members, the ongoing road tax will appear on the November ballot as Measure B and the citizens of Turlock have the opportunity to promote its passing which would generate an estimated $5.6 million per year. On Tuesday, the Council unanimously voted to place control in the hands of citizens to craft the language with which the measure will be promoted to ensure that voters are provided consistent information across all platforms. According to Councilmember Steven Nascimento, there is already a committee of Turlock citizens forming to support the measure.
“I think as we are handing that power over to the citizens to make that decision for themselves, I think it is also important to allow the citizens of Turlock and the groups who are supporting this measure to be the ones who author the argument in favor of Measure B,” said Nascimento.
Mayor John Lazar and Nascimento volunteered to serve as representatives of the Council to generate signatures and provide support to the Yes on Measure B committee.
“I don’t think it’s in our place to interfere with their campaign… I just think if they’re going to be leading the charge on this issue we should be deferring to them on the messaging,” said Nascimento. “If they are going to be crafting the message about why residents should be supporting this measure then it may not be consistent with whatever message we put out here on the ballot statement, which will be the last thing that someone reads before they vote.”
It was determined that Council members are allowed to express their support for the Measure to the community and should a majority of council members do so, the committee can publicize the Council’s endorsement.
The Turlock City Council created a tax solely for road repairs that would have a lifespan of seven years after the Stanislaus Council of Governments abandoned a countywide road tax initiative. The City included a provision stating that the tax would immediately be terminated should a countywide transportation tax be approved in the future.