After months of workshops and discussions totaling more than 16 hours of analysis, the Turlock City Council is slated to adopt its budget on Tuesday.
Three options stand before the Council: adopting a status quo budget, or a replica of the 2014-2015 budget including additional costs associated with updating bargaining unit contracts; adopting a budget that is agreed upon by the majority of the Council; or adopting Mayor Gary Soiseth's recommended two-year budget.
"We have an obligation as a council member to deliver services to the city of Turlock but we need to bulk up in the right way but in a cautious way as well," said Soiseth at a budget workshop on June 2.
Paying off "toxic debt" and investing in various departments of the City's services are the mayor's two overarching priorities. He released a list of recommendations in regards to the status quo budget, items that included adding $50,000 to the City's pothole repair efforts for "crack seal" road improvements, creating a low-income tree maintenance program, utilizing just over $600,000 to make various sidewalks and ramps in Turlock compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and investing in lighting infrastructure at Pedretti Park.
"These recommendations reflect my commitment to delivering efficient services and spending our city's tax dollars wisely," said Soiseth.
The Mayor presented his recommendations to the Council on June 2 and the nearly four-hour meeting was met with contention. Roughly 15 Realtors attended the meeting to oppose Soiseth's recommendation that sidewalk improvements be investigated during the point of sale of a home. A lengthy discussion was also held over how the City should proceed addressing its outstanding collective balance of nearly $5.5 million between the fire and police departments' Public Employees' Retirement System.
Other than adopting its budget, on Tuesday the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Receive an update from Police Chief Robert Jackson on illegal activity taking place in and around Broadway Park;
• Find out about water conservation efforts being made at Turlock Spray Parks;
• Consider authorizing the closure of various streets from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Aug. 8 for the Turlock Criterium bicycle race;
• Consider allocating $9,000 in remaining Community Grants and Activities program funds to the Fourth of July Stars and Stripes Fireworks Show at California State University, Stanislaus and the Turlock Downtown Fourth of July Parade and Street Faire.
The Turlock City Council will convene at 5:30 p.m. for a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the budget after which the regularly scheduled meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway.