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Lathrop happy with economic development
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LATHROP – The Lathrop City Council members all sang their praises for Economic Development Administrator Steve Carrigan.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about our economic development director,” said Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo during the second, and final day, of budget reviews Monday night.

Mayor Kristy Sayles and the rest of the council were of the same mind.

“We have an absolutely wonderful economic development director,” said Sayles.

But, she said with regret, “these are tough economic times.”

It is only for that reason that the council members reluctantly nixed, for this time, at least, the idea of offering a permanent full time position to the former City of Stockton’s economic development director. Taking that action would have meant budgeting $140,000 a year for the new position to cover salary and benefit package.

Instead, the council decided to approve $100,000 for the economic development position and to keep Carrigan as a consultant for now until the economy gets better. The $100,000 though is still an increase from the $85,000 that was approved last year for the consultant position. That amount was for less than a year’s tenure.

“Maybe this is not the right time,” Council member Sonny Dhaliwal said about making Carrigan’s position permanent.

The mayor said she “would be glad to revisit” the issue of the economic development administrator’s position in the future.

And that will largely “depend on how the city is doing” economically, said Salcedo. “At this time, the city is not doing well. At this point, I don’t think we’re ready yet,” she said of adding the position to the regular payroll at City Hall.

The council’s main concern was the $40,000 that they won’t have to worry about to erase the $1.2 million budget deficit.  

The council took the bold step, despite the economic crisis, of allocating $85,000 last year for a consultant to help sell the city to potential developers and businesses.