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Feeding more money into Turlock’s broken budget system is not the right solution

Dear Editor,

Ask any City of Turlock official about his or her stance on fiscal responsibility, and you’ll get an earful about how disciplined the city is with money.

But just past the smiley glad-handing is a hidden agenda.

The City of Turlock’s pension budget has ballooned over the last five years from $5.75 million in FY 15/16 to $8.84 million this fiscal year. It’s projected the city will have a $14.1 million pension budget in FY 24/25, an increase of 245% over nine years.

Our operating expenses are running on fumes. The city burned through its reserves like an irresponsible college student with a brand-new credit card. Today, Turlock has only three months of operating expenses, which is a violation of state code.

Rather than make necessary budget cuts to rein in spending and refill the reserve, the city’s answer is a sales tax increase. Measure A raises city sales taxes from 7.875% to 8.625%, making it one of the highest rates in the Valley.

Since there’s nobody running the Measure A campaign, there is no plan on how the city will spend the new funds. All that new revenue will go directly into the general fund, to feed its voracious appetite for spending and feign a look that it will operate on a balanced budget.

Turlock’s budget system is broken — feeding it more money now does not fix the problem.

We have many challenging questions this November’s ballot that impacts our city, state, and nation. Measure A will not solve our city’s budget problems, and urge my friends and neighbors to oppose it on Election Day.

— Larry Rumbeck