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Food Bank tops Lathrop list for block grant funds
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LATHROP – The Second Harvest Food Bank is getting $2,800 from the City of Lathrop to help feed the people who need it the most in the South County.

On Monday night the Lathrop City Council voted 3-2 – with Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos and Vice Mayor Christopher Mateo dissenting – to once again give the local food outreach program a bigger slice of the annual Community Development Block Grant than the other non-profits that put in applications prior to the mid-January deadline.

The other applicants – which included the Boys and Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop, Give Every Child a Chance, Agape Foster Families, Meals on Wheels, Stockton Emergency Food Bank and the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County – will each get checks for $1,492.

 According to Public Works Director Steve Salvatore, the city will be receiving just over $85,000, and will be able to dole out just under $13,000 to the non-profit organizations that depend on grants and government programs like the CDBG during lean financial times.

But that represented only the first portion of a three-part decision on what to do with the roughly $85,000 coming into the city’s coffers.

Ultimately the council decided to send the lion’s share of the money to their home rehabilitation project – 70 percent of roughly $45,000 – and set aside roughly $22,000 to maintain the Lathrop Skate Park.

It’ll be a pair of future homeowners, however, that’ll make out the best on the decision from the council.

Almost $30,000 is being set aside for the city to start their first ever down payment assistance program – giving two moderate-to low-income families the chance to apply for up $15,000 to help with a down payment on a house in Lathrop.

None of the three voted-on sections received unanimous support – with Santos and Mateo dissenting on the skate park and home rehabilitation project issue and just Mateo dissenting on the down payment assistance program – but the trade-off did end up leading to a better outcome for the community.

Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal suggested that the council set aside seven percent of the proposed 14 percent that is going to come out for staff expenses and administrative costs, and leave the rest in the package to go towards one of the city programs.

But Mateo – who echoed what former Mayor Gloryanna Rhodes had already pitched to the council – wanted to see the 14 percent recycled back into the programs to help those in the community who need it the most.

The item will be back before the council at their next meeting on Feb. 28. It will be in the form of a resolution for them to formally adopt so that work can begin to start delivering the funds to their various destinations.