TURLOCK — Turlock’s city manager says a new, slimmed down budget is a necessary evil in order to avoid financial ruin.
There will be no new hires within the Turlock Fire Department or Police Department in the coming fiscal year.
“Spending more than we took in, is no longer an option in the city of Turlock,” City Manager Bob Lawton said.
Lawton says the move was necessary in order to keep the city’s $40 million budget out of the red.
“It became a matter of trying to choose the least bad alternatives,” he told FOX40.
Lawton says the city’s previous council spent money the city did not have.
“We have virtually no reserves,” Lawton said. “That is, the city’s saving’s account has been almost emptied.”
While there’s a current hiring freeze, the city manager stresses that current employees are safe.
“Nobody in police or fire who was in a job was laid off,” he said.
Lawton explains that although there are cuts to every department, city officials are working to ensure the impact is minimal
“Fire and police are getting the lion’s share of the general fund, we believe that public safety is a key priority for the city,” Lawton told FOX40.
The city manager says he realizes what he’s asking for is a lot of sacrifices, which is why he says he took a 14% pay cut.
And while the city avoided a potential crisis with passing this new budget, Lawton says city leaders will have to keep a vigilant eye on their bottom line for next year.
“The bigger task before the city of Turlock is what happens the year after this one,” he said.
The new budget will go into effect on July 1.
Lawton says raising taxes to increase revenue will be a topic city leaders will discuss in the coming months.