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Upcoming Lathrop budget tackling $1 million deficit
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LATHROP – The preliminary budget for fiscal year 2010-11 will not be available until Monday, May 17. But already the Lathrop City Council has scheduled the dates when the budget hearings will be held.

Those discussions will be held June 7-8, and will continue June 14-15 starting at 5 p.m. All the meetings, which fall on Monday and Tuesday, will be held at City Hall, 390 Towne Centre Drive at Mossdale Landing, and will be open to the public.

City staff members estimate that each session will run between two to four hours. Residents are always encouraged to attend and join in the discussion on the spending plans for the coming fiscal year beginning on July 1.

It was announced during the council meeting earlier this week that once the preliminary budget is completed, it will be posted on the city’s web site for public viewing. Anyone can also request for a printed copy of the budget plan at City Hall.

With the economy taking a plunge during the current fiscal year, the city had to lay off some two-dozen employees including department heads, and eliminate funded but unfilled positions to deal with a $2.5 budget deficit. The city is still facing an almost $1 million deficit as it comes to the end of the current fiscal year.

Among those who were laid off earlier this year were the Human Resources Department director and the Parks Project Manager. The shake-up in the C1ity staffing resulted in the remaining department heads wearing several hats, and workers with increased workloads.

Some three Lathrop Police positions were also cut back to trim the city’s contract with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office which provides police services to the city.

Additionally, all city staff including those in Police Services took a 10 percent pay cut with Friday furloughs resulting in City Hall being closed for business in an effort to trim the deficit.

Because of the dismal economy compounded by the residential foreclosure nightmare which decimated the city’s income from property taxes and sales taxes, Lathrop’s revenues plunged about a third from that of the previous fiscal year.