Things sure have come a long way in just less than a decade for the City of Lathrop’s financial position.
As part of the city’s mid-year budget report prepared by the city’s finance department, the council learned that the general fund reserve increased by $70,000 to a projected balance of $6.4 million on June 30 – furthering the council’s commitment to create a true reserve that will serve them in times of emergency.
Less than 10 years ago the City of Lathrop was facing a budget shortfall of nearly $20 million after the collapse of the housing market hit the growing community hard – further battered by the foreclosure crisis, and the subsequent falling of property values across the county.
Forward thinking by the council, which included current Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, forced the city to slash positions seemingly across the board to prevent the deficits from eating into operational expenses, but now – armed with a sales tax increase that has brought staffing levels of police and firefighters back up to the level they were at before the financial turmoil, the city remains in a healthy fiscal position.
And considering that it’s on the verge of a major growth explosion unlike anything it has ever seen in its history, more money than the city has ever seen will be flowing into its coffers once everything is operational and construction crews are up-and-running.
But the annual mid-year budget report has also always provided an opportunity for the council to make any changes that it sees fit to address the needs of the community.
This year staff recommended unfolding a lieutenant’s position in the Police Department that was not being utilized and adding a permit technician in the Building Department to help keep up with the demand for permits. And even though the city will be looking for a full-time permit technician to handle the job, with the savings from the unfunded police position and the contact service that was being provided for plan-checking, the hiring of a full-time employee will actually save the city $29,000 from the current costs paid through the contractor who was brought in to assist with the growing workload.
With Measure C providing an alternative for funding projects that benefit the community, the city’s general fund reserve remains strong and growing to provide the true rainy-day fund that was envisioned with the council had to make the cuts necessary to the city financially solvent.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.