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Lathrop: $5.1M general fund balance for 2016
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LATHROP – Despite low housing prices and a dismal future outlook, the City of Lathrop is set to be financially solvent for years to come.

During a general fund update from the second quarter of the 2010/11 fiscal year, Lathrop staffer Terri Vigna painted a picture where in 2016 the city will still have $5.1 million left in the general fund if all goes according to plan.

And the city is sitting on more money right now than they previously expected.

Thanks to a conservative estimate factored into the budgeting of county property taxes, Lathrop has a net increase of $256,514 this quarter, with very few changes to the previously reported numbers from the first quarter of the fiscal year.

According to a chart prepared by city staff, fiscal years ending in 2011 and 2010 will actually end with more operating revenue in the bank than the operating expenses – a surplus of $7,857 for this year and $98,314 next year.

But the budget is only balanced through July of 2012.

Because of increased expenditures like a hike in the police services contract inked with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department and the abandoning of employee furlough days to help cover the cost of budget shortfalls, the fiscal year ending in 2013 will be the first of three scheduled years where Lathrop will lose money.

If the economic outlook were to improve, however, those conservative models could just as easily become surplus years – with the bulk of that hinging on development and new home construction as well as the attraction of business to the community.

“There are a number of things that are going to come up within the next four years that are going to affect the long-term budget sustainability,” Vigna said. “If it’s all crystallized how we have it projected, we’ll have $5.1 million left in the general fund in 2016.”

The Lathrop City Council, who were simply informed of the budget status during Monday’s special meeting at City Hall, will hear a third quarter general fund update in April that will include mid-year budget adjustments, updated regional economic data, and updated sales tax information.

It will also give staff a chance to gauge the outlook of the California budget situation and how it might affect the budget.