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Tough choices ahead for City of Turlock
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The City of Turlock is on the verge of bankruptcy. Decades ago, city leadership was financially sound, building a reserve account to spur economic growth and to have in case of a rainy day.
It may not be storming yet, but the threatening black clouds are inching toward us rapidly.
The City Council is in a tough situation. Today, the city spends far too much on health insurance for employees, leaving the Council with two choices. First, it can distribute an RFP to seek a new insurer, which may help bring down the ballooning cost of premiums and care. Second, it can cut this benefit altogether, saving the city millions on expenses.
Unfortunately, this means cutting benefits for our city’s first responders, too. Police and fire service make up 73 percent of Turlock’s total budget, including equipment costs, technology, payroll and benefits. The Council, along with the police and fire departments, must find a way to agree to changes. A new city manager, with a strong background in finance and a record of making tough choices, would help the city through this difficult period.
Finally, Turlock needs to hear today what would happen if the city is forced to file for bankruptcy. We can hardly afford the necessary amenities for city hall, let alone large-scale projects that are well outside the current budget.

— Larry Rumbeck