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Federal dollars means 4 more Manteca cops for four years

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Federal dollars means 4 more Manteca cops for four years

Manteca is receiving nearly $1.2 million to hire and pay the salaries and benefits of four police officers for the next three years.

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POSTED July 29, 2009 1:13 a.m.


Federal dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help Manteca hire or retain four police officers for the next three years.
The nearly $1.2 million in funds Manteca is receiving is part of $211 million California jurisdictions are receiving through the economic stimulus package to fund the Department of Justice Office of Community Policing Services (COPS) grants to hire or retain 649 officers statewide. The grants includes salaries and benefits for three years for entry level officers with the stipulation the jurisdictions receiving the funds must pay for at least a fourth year.


“Every little bit helps,” noted Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford who is also a retired city police chief.


San Joaquin County will receive funding for 17 deputies, Stockton for 20 officers, Modesto for 13 officers and Turlock for four officers. They were the only jurisdictions in San Joaquin-Stanislaus counties receiving COPS funding. There were 4,699 law enforcement officers funded nationwide using $1 billion in federal stimulus money.


Stockton had layoffs of 50 officers which mean they can hire 20 of those officers back.


Manteca, since it did not have any layoffs, can use the funds to hire four new officers to fill vacant positions.


Manteca currently has 85 authorized budget positions for sworn officers but six of those positions have been kept vacant to deal with the city’s budget shortfall.  If it wasn’t for the Measure M public sales tax and a developers public safety endowment fund that are currently funding 10 and 2 sworn-officers respectively, Manteca would be down to 65 officers.


The COPS funds mean Manteca will be able to have 81 of the 85 positions authorized filled.


Manteca still has to deal with a $3 million budget deficit this year thanks in part to over $1.1 million in additional local property tax the state is swiping to help bridge the $26.1 billion California deficit.


City Manager Steve Pinkerton expects the city to be in negotiations with employee bargaining units for the next month to determine how to best attack the remaining deficit.


Possible ways the budget shortfall may be addressed since employee costs are the bulk of the municipal budget includes:
•Additional unpaid furlough days.


•Forgoing pay raises for the 2009-10 fiscal year.


•A reduction in staffing through lay-offs.


Pinkerton is targeting to have a budget for the council to consider by the end of August.


Employees are already taking unpaid furlough days starting July 1 that is the equivalent of a 3.8 percent pay cut.


The city has been operating on a continuing resolution since July 1.


“I’m glad that we waited,” Pinkerton said. “There were some real wild numbers out there.”


By waiting the city was able to find out their projection of property tax cuts of about 15 percent was virtually on the money as the reduction in assessed value is 14.7 percent. Sales tax also has dropped 9 percent and the state is only taking a little over $1 million from the general fund instead of the original $2.1 million had they seized local gas tax receipts as well.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com






 

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