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One extra cent in Lathrop equals 4 more police officers

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POSTED May 30, 2013 2:19 a.m.

LATHROP – Criminals in Lathrop had better run and hide.

The committee tasked with providing fiscal oversight for Measure C – the one-cent sales-tax increase passed overwhelmingly by voters in November – gave its blessing to a proposal Wednesday night that will restore four unfunded sworn police officer positions by the end of the year.

As part of the initial Measure C budget, which will now be forwarded on to the city council, Lathrop Police Services will add officers in positions that will bolster their ability to adequately provide service in accordance with the spirit in which voters intended.

That means adding a pair of community impact deputies – essentially street cops that will supplement patrol activities, create a network of intelligence to put pressure on local street gangs and drug traffickers and interact with neighboring agencies to share information – as well as an administrative sergeant and a school resource officer.

In all the hiring will end up costing the city just over $642,000-a-year (the two community impact team deputies will run $269,800 plus vehicle costs of $55,000 while the administrative sergeant carries a salary of $186,300 and a vehicle cost of $35,000 – the school resource officer’s salary is $96,700) and will account for less than half of the city’s share of Measure C proceeds.

The extra penny is expected to add up to roughly $2 million extra in Lathrop’s coffers at the end of the year, and the city agreed to give 40 percent of that to the Lathrop Manteca Fire District to help with personnel expenses during tough fiscal times.

With the 2013/14 budget not yet officially passed (the Lathrop City Council will sit down on June 3 and 4 to hammer out the final details) City Manager Steve Salvatore pointed out that the city was sure to come in well under the estimated $1.2 million that should roll in by the time the next fiscal year ends.

California’s State Board of Equalization started collecting the tax in Lathrop on April 1, and the city will get its first check next month – collecting one every month until September when the first true-up is levied. Quarterly payments will be made after that.

An estimated $443,292 will be left in the Measure C fund at the end of the next fiscal year.

One item that wasn’t discussed, but was considered when Lathrop made budget considerations several years ago, was the funding of a community prosecutor position. Working hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, the deputy district attorney would have been given a workload based on cases that stemmed from the local community to truly round out the community oriented policing model.

Cost led to its elimination.

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