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Lathrop may add another officer for traffic unit

The City of Lathrop may soon have another traffic officer. 

On Wednesday the Lathrop City Council is set to discuss and potentially adopt the 2019/20 and 2020/21 budgets – a multi-year calculation of the city’s revenue and expenditures for the next 24 months as a way to cut down on staff time and save money – that includes a new full-time traffic officer at an annual cost of $211,420. 

Over the course of the last several months, Lathrop Police Services has managed to – through scheduling and overtime – provide traffic coverage within the city limits every day of the week. And last month, Lathrop was the recipient of the multi-agency traffic enforcement operation where traffic officers throughout San Joaquin County work a given city with a traffic saturation patrol. In just one day, 160 citations were issued in Lathrop for traffic violations ranging from distracted driving and seat belt violations to speeding. 

The new, full-time position is the only full-time position that Lathrop is looking to add to its roster of employees this budget cycle – choosing instead to add a part-time management analyst for Lathrop Police Services to provide coverage until the current employee retires, and an adjustment of part-time positions to reflect current hours worked at the Parks and Recreation Department for recreation leaders. 

The city is also looking to unfund a project manager position within the public works department – a savings of $166,995 for removing the vacant position – and plans to reclassify a number of positions in the finance department and one in the parks and recreation department to reflect current tasks and adjust for increased work volume from development. 

According to the city’s financial estimates, Lathrop’s general fund will take in $150,000 more than it spends this fiscal year and is scheduled to take in more than $275,000 more than it spends next fiscal year – something that will add to the city’s already healthy general fund reserves. While it’s been roughly a decade since Lathrop was facing more than $15 million in cuts due to the impacts of the housing crisis that hit Lathrop harder than most cities – forcing the city to alter its hours as a way to save money – the explosion of growth and development in Lathrop over the last several years has greatly improved the city’s financial footing. 

The decision by voters in 2012 to approve a one cent sales tax increase to help pay for essential city services – including police, parks, and personnel – helped Lathrop fund positions that it wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, and an agreement with the Lathrop Manteca Fire District to give 40 percent of that income to the agency helped stave off station brownouts and layoffs. With Measure C funding Lathrop has been able to pay for a number of police officers and fund public projects at local parks while the fire district has used its proceeds to hire personnel and purchase apparatus – including the new rescue unit that is now housed at Fire Station 35 in River Islands. 

The discussion about the upcoming multi-year budget will take place during a special city council meeting on Wednesday, June 12, at 3 p.m. at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive. For additional information, or to obtain a copy of the agenda or the budget, visit the City of Lathrop’s website at 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.