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Council to discuss budget, fireworks celebration
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The Turlock City Council will consider a preliminary 2011-2012 General Fund budget on Tuesday, but that budget could change drastically before final adoption as the council expects to cut at least $1.3 million from the city’s $30.2 to $31.5 million budget.

Tuesday’s proposal calls for status quo budgets in Turlock’s General Fund. But that status quo is affected by increased retirement and insurance costs, rising from $29.1 million – a $2.1 million deficit – to $30.2 million – a $2.8 million deficit.

The budget picture may worsen should employee concessions not continue. The $2.8 million budget deficit would increase to a $4.2 million deficit.

Either way, the budget deficit would be well above the city’s $1.5 million deficit spending goal.

“Additional actions will be taken to achieve that goal,” the council’s staff report reads. The report also states that, “as the budget process proceeds, operational reductions that can be achieved through organizational realignment and consolidation of support services across all City departments will be factored in to the final budget.”

The council has been working on the budget since the March 8 meeting, when the Capital Improvement and Capital Equipment Replacement budgets were reviewed and accepted. On March 22, council continued the budget process by approving preliminary non-general fund budgets.

Following Tuesday’s discussion, work on the budget will continue at the April 26 meeting, when self-insurance funds and equipment replacement funds will be considered. Redevelopment agency and Housing Program Services budgets will be on the May 10 council agenda, and final adoption of the 2011-12 budget is scheduled for the May 24 meeting.


Fourth of July celebration in the works

The council on Tuesday will also consider directing city departments to work with the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Stanislaus County Fair Board and Turlock Rural Fire District to hold a combined Fourth of July celebration at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on July 4.

California State University, Stanislaus hosted a firework celebration for years, before ending the practice in 2009 due to budget cuts. That year, on short notice, the chamber and Fair Board worked together to host an unprofitable firework show at the fairgrounds. Last year, the City of Turlock hosted a downtown parade and car show on July 3, but had no fireworks.

The free family event would include programs and events for all ages, and would conclude with a pyrotechnic show. While the event would be free, in contrast with the $1 admission charged for the 2009 event, tickets would be required; those tickets would be available at no cost from local merchants.

The Turlock Fire Department would work with the State Fire Marshal on safety issues and be present for medical or safety emergencies, the police department would provide security in and around the event, traffic control, and a bicycle rodeo, Traffic Engineering would provide a traffic plan, and the Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Maintenance Department would provide activities for children and families as well as providing equipment for traffic control.


The Turlock City Council is also expected to:

·         Approve a disposition and development agreement with EAH Inc, to develop an additional 60 units as part of the Bella Avena affordable housing project.
The project, to be developed at 500 Linwood Ave., was previously approved on Feb. 9 as an 80 unit development. The new agreement will add a second phase of 60 units, with a new $4 million in redevelopment agency financing made available to the developer as a loan.

·         Name the new City of Turlock bus hub, to be developed on the triangle of land bordered by Del’s Lane, Hawkeye Avenue and Golden State Boulevard, the “Turlock Regional Transit Center,” and advertise for construction proposals for that project.
The council will also consider approving two purchase and sale agreements for the parcels needed to construct the project, totaling $1.8 million. All costs for the project would be funded through federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds and state Prop 1B funds.

·         Consider appropriating $860,000 to design a sewer pipeline and capacity expansion for the Turlock wastewater treatment plant. Funding would come from wastewater reserve funds.
Planning for the project began in 2007, and plans were 90-percent complete in June 2008. However, at that time, due to budgetary restraints, the project was put on hold. The new project would update the plans to factor in new technologies and evolving needs at the Turlock wastewater treatment plant, including the use of aeration basins instead of oxidation ditches.

·         Issue proclamations in honor of National Library Week, from April 10-16, City of Turlock Volunteers, the Taste of Turlock Heritage Festival, to be held May 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Gloria Maceiko of DirectNu Energy for her donation of a hybrid wind/solar streetlight installed at Rotary International Park.

·         Accept a donation from Hall Equities Group, in the form of billboard advertising for the NCAA Division II National Track & Field Championships. The event will be held at California State University, Stanislaus from May 26-28.

·         Receive a presentation from the Turlock Farmers Market Board.

·         Hear the Turlock Police Department 2010 Annual Report. That report was to be delivered at the council’s April 22 meeting, but was postponed due to lack of time.

·         Receive an update on the Turlock Partnership Incentives plan, which looks to give a $1,000 cash incentive to new businesses which meet certain criteria, including drafting a business plan.

·         Conference with labor negotiators representing all city employees in closed session.


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

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.