Turlock Police and Fire Department Budgets to Potentially Cut Positions

The Turlock City Council held a special meeting on May 8, 2012, to discuss the proposed 2012-2013 Budget. The meeting was held directly before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, and was the third of four special meetings held to discuss the budget. No action was taken during the meeting.

City Manager Roy Wasden opened the meeting with good news and bad news.

“On the good-news side of the equation, we’ve seen significant increase in revenues,” stated Wasden.

While there has been a considerable increase in revenue available to the City, the expenditures surpass the amount of revenues the City has available, even with the increase. Though the city has $30 million in revenue, the expenditures are expected at just less than $33 million. Wasden attributed this mostly to health care costs.

With much of the money from the proposed budget being spent in the police and fire departments, both Police Chief Rob Jackson and Fire Chief Tim Lohman discussed with the Council their proposed budgets for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year.

Police Chief Rob Jackson reported a $1.3 million increase in expenditures. Police Chief Jackson then continued to address a staffing reduction plan in order to reduce spending.

There are currently 5 vacant positions in the police services department, which Chief Jackson stated they had been trying to fill. Of the five vacant positions, Chief Jackson proposed to have 4 of the positions defunded, bringing the deficit down to $819,000, as opposed to $1.3 million.

“We have no other real choice than to make those tough decisions,” stated Jackson.

Jackson also discussed the disadvantages of the cuts, as there could be a reduction in the services provided to the community.

With the loss of funding from the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), which was eliminated earlier this year due to a state mandate, Chief Jackson reported the police services department as coming up with innovative strategies to keep up certain programs, such as the Graffiti Abatement Program, which previously received 100% of it’s funding from the RDA.

Fire Chief Tim Lohman also shared proposals of cut positions in effort to reduce the department’s increase in expenditures, which is mostly due to healthcare and benefits costs.

With the expected upcoming retirement of two administrative positions this year, Chief Lohman stated that the two positions are proposed to be removed from their budget, rather than replacing the positions.

The Council will continue to discuss the budget at the final budget workshop, which will take place on May 22, 2012.

The special meeting will be held at City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway, directly before the regularly scheduled 7pm City Council Meeting.

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