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Extra sales tax playing key role for police force
esisting Lathrop City Logo copy
The current logo has been used by the city since the early 1990s. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Measure C is playing a major role in Lathrop’s push to start its own independent police department – providing half of the $6.5 million that the Lathrop City Council approved for the transition away from the longstanding contract that the city has with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday, Lathrop’s Measure C Oversight Committee – which serves in an advisory role to the city council on how the money generated by the one cent sales tax increase overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012 should be spent – discussed the budget for Measure C for the next budget cycle for the fiscal year that will begin in July and had some questions about why the committee didn’t receive any advance notification that Measure C funding was going to be used for the transition to the new police department.

According to Lathrop’s Administrative Services Director Cari James, the council made the decision in March and the body wasn’t set to meet again until this week – meaning that this would have been the first meeting that the committee would have had the item on their agenda. 

Last year the city funded $884,000 worth of community upgrades that included the design work at Sangalang Park, park upgrades at other sites in the community, and the purchase of license plate reading cameras to strategically monitor high-traffic intersections in the community.

And while there were initial fears about how the pandemic would impact the Measure C – reduced spending at restaurants and stores that were closed for months, it was feared, would lead to a massive shortfall – and even though the City of Lathrop did take in less in Measure C proceeds last fiscal year than they did the previous year, the city still budgeted under the amount of money that came in and managed to beat that shortfall to avoid tapping into reserves.

Next year Measure C funding will be used to pay for more than 17 positions between the City of Lathrop, the San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Office, and the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District – including six firefighter-engineers, 1.98 battalion chiefs, and 5.5 sworn police officers.

As part of an agreement between the City of Lathrop and the Lathrop Manteca Fire District, the district receives 40 percent of the money from Measure C to help supplement staffing and purchase apparatus that will serve the city. Because Measure C was not a specific tax – meaning that the money has to be used in a given area – the city has flexibility on where to spend the money as long as it has a pronounced community benefit.

Last year Lathrop Manteca purchased a used ladder truck with its Measure C proceeds to supplement its existing equipment and may potentially use Measure C money to fund the placement of paramedics on fire engines at the three stations that serve the City of Lathrop – providing an advanced level of medical care to the wider community in addition to existing ambulance service provided by Manteca District Ambulance.

This fiscal year Lathrop is budgeting to spend $4.939 million to fund Measure C projects and has budgeted for $4.95 million next fiscal year to round out the two-year budget cycle.

At the end of this fiscal year, Lathrop believes it will have nearly $1.85 million in reserves in the Measure C fund heading into the next fiscal year.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.