As the strenuous years of the economic recession trail further away in the rearview mirror, the outlook is bright for the City of Turlock which is generally performing within its fiscal boundaries according to the mid-year budget review.
The City's revenue is beginning to resemble the mid-2000s again. In 2006-2007 revenue was $30 million and in 2013-2014 revenue came in at just under $31 million.
“So in 2013-2014 we finally go back in a total fashion to where we were in 2006-2007,” explained Senior Accountant Marie Lorenzi.
There are still inequalities in other areas though, such as property tax revenues which are not at their previous levels.
“We’re expecting some nice increases in assessed value, but we’re still not back in the property tax arena to where we were in '06-07,” said Lorenzi. “On the bright side, sales tax is back.”
Sales tax revenues in 2013-2014 exceeded 2006-2007 by $800,000 meaning Lorenzi could adjust her budget projections by about $400,000. However, with only the first quarter of sales tax information in she recommended a more conservative approach.
“We could increase our projections, but because so much is dependent on sales tax I recommend waiting until we have at least six months of information in,” said Lorenzi.
The second quarter of sales tax revenues will be available in early March.
On Tuesday, each City department gave an overview of their numbers at the city council meeting and after inspecting the budgets Lorenzi said: “At this point I don’t see any anomalies in those areas that would lead me to believe we could be doing better or worse than what we budgeted.”
The police department expenditures are at the optimal 50 percent mark halfway through the year. Forty-six percent of expenditures are presently going towards full time salaries, something not unusual as departments often compensate for vacancies with overtime for employees. According to City Manager Roy Wasden, the department is planning to hire four positions in upcoming months.
“I don’t anticipate any major issues for this fiscal year,” said Police Chief Robert Jackson.
The Turlock Fire Department is also just two percent over the 50 percent mark. With 46 allocated positions, two of which are vacant, full time salaries are at 48 percent with overtime over the halfway point to compensate for some vacant positions. Four retirements in the fire department have given the department some slight savings.
The Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities department is also on par with the midyear point with one vehicle accident costing the department additional expenditures.
“Typically, we budget pretty conservatively and keep our fingers crossed that nothing is going to go bump, but sometimes it does, “said Director of Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Allison Van Guilder.
Overall, Van Guilder said no major issues were anticipated and as for any abnormalities, “I wouldn’t anticipate us not being able to absorb at the end of the year.”