Along with two new City Council members, it looks like the City of Turlock will have a new revenue stream to help fill its budget shortfalls as election results as of Friday show Measure A — a ¾ cent citywide sales tax — received enough votes to pass.
As of 6:36 p.m. Friday, 56.74% of Turlock voters approved of Measure A and 43.26% voted “no.” Measure A is estimated to provide $11 million in revenue annually to fund City of Turlock services by increasing the sales tax from 7.875% to 8.625%. Measure A includes accountability requirements, annual independent financial audits, citizen oversight, and public disclosure of spending. By law, all Measure A funds must remain in Turlock and cannot be taken by the county or state government.
The revenue generated through the sales tax could be used to fund a variety of purposes, from public safety to road improvements to other community needs.
While not an advocate of the tax measure, Mayor Amy Bublak applauded the citizens of Turlock for their financial sacrifice during difficult times.
“It’s humbling that in these difficult economic times the citizens of Turlock are willing to share their personal treasures to fund the essential city services. Our residents are the reason Turlock is so special,” said Bublak.
A new revenue stream could not come at a better time for the City of Turlock. The Council adopted a budget for 2019-20 that saw a drastic tightening of the City’s financial belt and significantly impacted what services are provided to Turlock residents. Last year’s budget defunded 16 vacant positions and cut public safety overtime budgets, allowing for fewer police officers and firefighters on duty on a weekly basis.
When it was adopted, City department heads said the cuts wouldn’t be sustainable as safety equipment would eventually need to be replaced and public safety staffing wasn’t optimal for a city as large as Turlock.
The City was hoping that 2020-21 would be the start of climbing out of its financial troubles, but instead Turlock now has the additional economic burden brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Attempting to tackle the City’s financial troubles and put Measure A funds to their best use will be two new Council members for Districts 2 and 4, respectively.
While election results are not official, Rebecka Monez has a significant lead in the District 2 race with 51.02% of the votes, followed by incumbent Gil Esquer with 27.88% and Ruben Wegner, who received 21.10% of the vote as of Friday.
In District 4, Pam Franco has received 62.09% of the vote and Robert Puffer 37.91%.