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Lathrop seeks $5M for levee work from DC
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When the City of Lathrop sends representatives to Washington, D.C., as part of an annual lobbying trip they hope to bring back more than dirty clothes in a suitcase. 

Like the $5 million that’s needed for the design work to bring the city’s levees up to the 200-year flood standard that’s being required by the State of California by 2025. 

And if a finding of adequate progress can’t be made by July 1, 2016, all development must be halted until that stamp comes through. 

While the actual work of overhauling the levees is expected to top $150 million by some estimates, Lathrop – which has a wide expanse of San Joaquin River levees that run down along its western border and up against new residential track homes, businesses and even the city’s lone high school – will have to look at funding options once it gets the green light from the State of California to be able to proceed with development. 

Getting funding from the One Voice trip to be able to commission the necessary design work and engineering would be a huge boost for the city by not forcing it to dip into general fund reserves or cut from future budgets in order to offset the one-time cost needed to fund the specialty work. 

Mandated under Senate Bill 5, the 200-year flood plain enhancements won’t directly impact the new River Islands development because of the work that the developers themselves did in order to get the green light to build in an area that has historically been plagued by floods. By widening and strengthening the existing levees, River Islands, which is almost a self-sustaining entity within the city, is already compliant with the new regulations but will have to prove that to the state themselves in order to keep the rooftops coming. 

Discussions have been taking place between San Joaquin cities that will be affected by the new bill about splitting the cost of the design work. How Lathrop will figure into that discussion if awarded the full amount being sought remains to be seen. 

The council voted unanimously last week to make the issue one of the two items being brought back to Washington, D.C., for consideration – deviating from the standard format that has always included a pair of transportation-related projects. The other will be requesting funding for the I-5/Louise Avenue interchange. 

The upcoming 16th annual San Joaquin One voice lobbying trip to the nation’s capital brings together all of the cities, county, and private sector to basically try and sway federal decision makers to part with greenbacks for everything from interchange projects to  water supply endeavors. The effort was started by the San Joaquin Council of Governments after it was noted the region was consistently getting lot less federal funds than other areas of the state.

In the past the effort has netted some $104 million for projects in San Joaquin County including funding for Give Every Child a Chance.