July, 20 2018

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Tracy vows to fund at-risk youth program

City officials and community members have rallied around a fledgling program aimed toward helping at-risk youth, despite the program's need for $1 million in a proposed $113 million budget forecasting a $5.8 million deficit.

The Mayor's Community Youth Support Network - a partnership among the city, Tracy Unified School District, the county and community service agencies - is in line to receive an infusion of funds.

At a Tracy City Council retreat Wednesday, where the council and city staff hashed over goals for the coming year, Councilwoman Evelyn Tolbert said she was at first concerned the program was too ambitious.

"But, my God, it's our kids," Tolbert said. "People are starting to see that we've got to give this a shot."

The program aims to connect at-risk or troubled youths with employment, counseling and activities to steer then away from crime.

The school district and county have not committed any money toward the program, Parks and Community Services Department Director Chris Daste said.

Despite the added cost in a year that revenue will not match expenses, prevention and intervention of youth crime create a savings, said Walter Gouveia, director of the Tracy Adult School

"It's cheaper to educate them than incarcerate them," Gouveia told the council during a budget session last week.

Revenues in the city 2007-08 city budget will fall short of expenses for the first time since 1990.

Expenses for labor and new programs such as the Mayor's Community Youth Support Network are adding to expenses, while sagging tax revenues and a slowdown in home construction are forecast to draw on revenues.

The city intends to dip into its reserve of about $33 million to make up a shortfall that is forecast to likely continue for at least the next three budget cycles.

The council is expected to approve the new budget at its meeting June 5.

Related Articles:
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