As a longtime resident of Turlock, I have witnessed the increasing deterioration of Turlock roads. The limited funds from state and federal sources only provide funding for temporary repairs on a very limited basis and are mostly directed at specific projects such as the recent pavement improvements to Monte Vista Avenue and Canal Drive. The citizens of Turlock deserve better and passage of Measure B will be the first step to ensure that Turlock roads are fixed.
Measure B is a dedicated ½ cent sales tax that will raise approximately $5.6 million per year that is under local control. Measure B funds can only be spent on fixing Turlock roads and to ensure this, there will be a 5-person Oversight Committee appointed and there will be annual audits provided to the community by the City’s independent auditing firm. Measure B has a 7-year sunset provision – residents of Turlock will have the opportunity to vote to extent if satisfied with the results or the tax will end in seven years.
All of Turlock will benefit from Measure B. Funds will be equally divided for specific road repairs in each quadrants of the City. The detailed spending plan is included in the ordinance approved by the Council to ensure that the entire community will benefit equally.
The voters of Turlock previously approved the county-wide Measure S transportation tax in 2008 only to see it not achieve the two-thirds majority from the rest of the county. Under the 2008 plan, Turlock would have received approximately 50 percent of the sales tax dollars raised for fixing Turlock roads. Measure B provides for 100 percent of the funds generated in Turlock to go to fixing Turlock roads. There is no guarantee that StanCOG will decide to put a county-wide transportation sales tax on the 2016 ballot. If it does, the voters of Turlock will have the opportunity to weigh the benefits of any proposal versus the benefits being received from Measure B. If the residents of Turlock decide to adopt a county-wide transportation tax, then Measure B will terminate. Approval of Measure B will give Turlock a 2-year head start in fixing Turlock roads.
I have heard comments that “no additional taxes are needed – eliminate waste in the General Fund and there would be ample funds available for fixing Turlock roads.” This is not supported by the numbers. The Turlock General Fund revenues for FY 2014-15 are projected at $31.5 million with total expenditures amounting to $32.4 million resulting in a $0.9 million deficit that will have to be covered by reserves. Public Safety (police and fire) accounts for 77.2 percent of the General Fund expenses. The balance of the expenses are for administration, planning, building services, youth and recreation programs with only $50,000 allocated from the General Fund for fixing roads. Any significant allocation of General Fund revenues for fixing Turlock roads would lead to significant reductions in current service levels resulting in negative impacts to quality of life factors ranging from public safety to youth recreation programs.
It is time for Turlock residents to take control of fixing Turlock roads. Please join with me in voting YES on Measure B on Nov. 4.
— Mike Brem, candidate for Turlock Mayor