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Sales tax hike raising $2M for Lathrop

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POSTED December 27, 2013 10:44 p.m.

LATHROP – Out of every dollar you spend in Lathrop, an extra penny goes to pay for enhanced city services.

It’s kind of a non-descript term – Manteca passed a sales-tax increase for the sole purpose of funding police and fire services, and needed a two-thirds vote for it to pass. But by keeping it generic, the City of Lathrop was able to get by with only half-plus-one.

But make no mistake – that money is earmarked.

When Lathrop voters were asked to pass the sales tax increase last November, the unofficial handshake agreement with residents and with emergency services personnel was that the money generated would go to pay for public safety protection.

And with 40 percent of the Measure C money essentially wrapped up before the matter went before the voters, the Lathrop-Manteca Firefighters Association became one of the biggest proponents – taking out political signs and walking neighborhoods to make sure residents knew just what was at stake.

What was at stake? The department had already lost four firefighter positions when the San Joaquin County assessor’s office reevaluated the money that the district would be getting from property taxes. And even though Fire Chief Gene Neely had helped secure a grant that funded nine positions, making them full-time – and preventing the rotating station brownouts that were implemented because of budget constraints – hinged on the vote.

Lathrop Police Services benefitted as well.

With the permission of the citizen oversight committee that approves all spending from the Measure C account, the department added a pair of community impact officers – street crimes deputies that work to keep a handle on drug and gang activities in the community – as well as a new administrative sergeant position and a school resource officer.

Now that everything is up-to-date, the city will be receiving checks at regular intervals that are expected to total $2 million annually.

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