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Council to resume budget talks
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On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council will consider adopting a final budget for the 2012-2013 year.
The budget calls for about $4.4 million in deficit spending, up from $2.5 million in 2011-2012.
"This spending plan reflects our commitment to provide a high level of service to our residents, while preserving our organization's long-term financial viability," wrote City Manager Roy Wasden in a report on the budget.
The plan assumes labor concessions would expire in October. Those concessions - an effective 5 percent pay cut for all city employees - were agreed to in 2010 for a two-year period.
The city will continue to negotiate the extension of those concessions. Should unions agree to an extension, Turlock's deficit spending would drop "significantly," according to city staff.
Turlock faces other challenges as well, from soaring pension and health care costs to the loss of its redevelopment agency. The statewide elimination of redevelopment agencies alone will cause a $500,000 hit to Turlock's budget.
Housing Program Services, previously a large recipient of redevelopment funds and now-cancelled state grants, faces the sharpest cuts. Either all housing employees will see a reduction in hours, from 40 to 32, or two employees will be laid off. The latter option would save Turlock a further approximately $150,000, but would see housing return a $1 million grant to the State of California, as the department would lack the employees needed to implement the grant.
To further narrow the budget shortfall, Turlock expects to defund one vacant police lieutenant position, three vacant police officer positions, and reclassify a vacant police support operations manager position to police caption. In fire services, positions vacated through retirements or other attrition would not be refilled.
Most other departments will see essentially flat budgets, year-over-year, save for increased benefit costs.
The Turlock City Council will begin the budget work at a special, 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday, with final adoption expected during council's regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting.
The council is also expected to adopt a budget for its redevelopment successor agency.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Add a per cart rate of $7.65 for blue, recycling-specific trash cans rented from Turlock Scavenger. Previously, there was no rate for individual recycling carts.
In 2011, new state legislation made contract recycling services mandatory for all multi-family, commercial, and industrial developments, effective July 1. As most such developments lack space for a second large, outdoor bin, they will be forced to rent smaller recycling carts to supplement their trash bins.
Previously, recycling was only mandatory for single-family homes.
• Approve an amendment to the Turlock Gospel Mission's lease agreement for the Youth Center.
Since March, TGM has operated a daytime Homeless Assistance Ministry from the center, though a two-year lease agreement with the City of Turlock.
The amendment would alter the HAM's hours of operations - from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily - and would move TGM's transportation hub to nightly meal services from First Baptist Church to the HAM. Individuals would gather for the dinner service from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on-site dinner service would be offered no more than three times per month.
• Recognize Public Works Week, May 20-26, with a special reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The week will also be noted by a council proclamation.
• Hear the 2011 Turlock Fire Services annual report.
• Issue a proclamation in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Turlock Pentecost Association's Festa Do Espirito Santo.
• Adopt an amended obligation payment schedule for Turlock's Redevelopment Successor Agency, as required by law. The schedule lists all of the former redevelopment agency's outstanding debts, and details repayment timing.
The amended payment schedule includes specific dollar amounts related to expenditures for Turlock's in-construction Public Safety Facility, which was financed in large part by the redevelopment agency. Those changes were requested by the state Department of Finance.
• Receive a briefing from Andrew LaFlamme, California State University, Stanislaus Director of Legislative Affairs, and a staff update regarding improvements to the city's wastewater pretreatment program.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. That meeting will be preceded by a 6 p.m. special meeting to discuss the city budget.