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Turlock sees uptick in sales tax; City anticipates deficit budget spending
city council

July 1, which marks the beginning of the fiscal year, is fast approaching meaning there is one significant item before the City of Turlock: the budget adoption process. While traditionally the City has adopted a budget annually, this year it will work within a two year time frame for the 2015-2015 and 2016-2017 budgets.

The Turlock City Council received information on the  the General Fund, Municipal Services Department and Police Department numbers at their Tuesday meeting.

The outlook is generally bright for the City of Turlock as the 2015-2016 General Fund revenue projection is four percent higher than the current year's.

"We are very confident that we will achieve this revenue," said Administrative Services Director Jacobs-Hunter at Tuesday's meeting.

Revenues are strong largely in part due to a an uptick in sales tax in Turlock, something Assistant to the City Manager for Housing and Economic Development Maryn Pitt partly attributes to new retailers. 

"It is new money in addition to a resurgence in things like our downtown core," said Pitt. "Our occupancies are under five percent downtown, so we have a strong retail component even in the downtown, and then the last piece is real estate sales continue to grow and we see a greater number of transactions."

The 2015-2016 budget estimates roughly $34 million in expenditures which is about four percent more than the present year. If 2015-2016 budget is adopted as presented, deficit spending in the amount of $825,953 would occur. An additional $621,366 of deficit spending is anticipated for the 2016-2017 budget year. 

"Our revenues have been very strong, it's been great. It's just that expenditures are catching up, or have caught up," said Jacobs-Hunter.

Public Safety utilizes the General Fund the most and $26 million of the budget accounts for Police and Fire departments as well Animal and Neighborhood services. 

Police Chief Robert Jackson detailed his department's spending priorities, noting that his department's work on their portion of the strategic plan laid the groundwork for the spending analysis. 

"We put a lot of work into prioritizing what is needed," said Jackson. 

Some of these priorities include bringing back the Street Crimes Unit, returning staffing levels to pre-recession years, hiring an animal services employee for licensing, as well as converting a rotational detective into a full time detective to specifically meet the needs of cyber crimes. 

Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke also provided insight into his department. The main budget, Water Quality Control, has $19 million in revenue and projects $19.2 million in expenses. With $500,000 in reserves, Cooke said he projects underspending the budget this year.

"We've seen an increase in revenue due to industrial growth, so our industries are processing more goods and discharging more waste water,"  said Cooke.

However, more money could be expended in the next year or two based upon how the City proceeds in its pursuits of water resources. 

"Increased spending could occur in the future depending upon the City's level of participation in two large infrastructure projects: the regional surface water supply project through the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority where we would potentially get water from TID via the Tuolumne River and treat that to potable standards. The second project being the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program, which is a proposed recycled pipeline out to the Delta Mendota Canal. Depending upon what happens with those projects these budgets will change."