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$1M+ price tag spikes talk of Lathrop city camera system
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LATHROP – The Lathrop City Council will not be discussing the approval of a city-wide security camera system anytime soon.

The reason: Money. Millions of dollars, in fact.

The council members at their meeting this past week got an idea of just how much it would take to install security cameras in key sensitive areas at public parks and at all entrances and exits – more than 10 of them – to the city. Installing a system at the Veteran’s Memorial in Valverde Park alone would cost in the neighborhood of $34,000 which would include the cost of fiber-based cameras and additional wireless cameras.

The budget whopper though would be in the installation of the system’s backbone, which could be a fiber network such as the one being used in Stockton, or a wireless network which Ripon has installed. Staff told the council members that the cost to install a fiber network would run into the millions of dollars. The wireless system that Ripon has installed would cost less but would still be up in the millions. The beauty of the latter, though, is that the network can be installed in phases thus diminishing the financial impact.

But the expenses would not stop there. Monitoring, especially at 24-7 levels, could run to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even the least expensive type of monitoring – which is no monitoring at all – would still come with a price tag of several thousand dollars per year, with the system used solely for evidence purposes by burning DVDs of the video after the fact, staff explained.

“We’ll have to go slowly. We’re going to have to look at it further,” said Councilman Robert Oliver.

In the meantime, he would like to see if the city could find a way to provide security protection for the new Veterans Memorial to prevent vandalism or graffiti. The imposing memorial, whose construction was part of the $3.4 million facelift of the Valverde Community Park, was dedicated just last November during the week of Veterans Day. Around the memorial are an interactive water feature, a rose garden, and a bocce ball court.

One way that the city can possibly defray the potential costs of installing the wireless or fiber network would be to have this worked into future development agreements with future developers, Oliver said.

During the discussion, the council asked Interim City Manager Cary Keaten to look into this possibility.

The issue over the provision of a security camera at the Veterans Memorial was originally suggested by Council member Sonny Dhaliwal.