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Lathrop planning board stipend doubled to $40

Lathrop’s planning commissioners are finally getting a raise.

After years of paying planning commissioners – who have been busy in Lathrop in the recent past approving development projects and offering recommendations to the Lathrop City Council as the city grows – only $20 per meeting, the council unanimously agreed to give the appointed public servants an increase in their compensation.

The cost of the jump? An additional $20 every month.

For Lathrop City Councilman Paul Akinjo – one of only two members of the council that did not serve on the commission prior to their time on the council – the meager compensation put alongside the work that the commissioners do for the city deserved the attention, and by pulling it from the consent calendar Akinjo was able to make his point before supporting the move.

“I’m really glad that this item is on the agenda because it shows that our planning commissioners have been getting a huge stipend of $20,” Akinjo said in jest. “It’s eye-opening – we all know on the council that this appointment requires a lot of reading and knowledge that comes with it. I think that it’s past time that we move it to $40 because of the amount of time that goes into it.

“It’s not a massive compensation, but you can’t even fill your gas tank up here and yet they come and spend all of these hours.”

Even with the increase, however, Lathrop’s planning commissioners are still below the average of the communities that were surveyed before the council made their decision.

Currently Manteca provides its planning commissioners $40 per meeting, but they meet twice a month. Elk Grove provides $38 per meeting for $75 every month, while Tracy and Turlock each offer $50-a-month for the position.

And the compensation in the valley pales in comparison to that of communities in the East Bay that were surveyed. Brentwood compensates its planning commissioners with $200 a month, while Livermore provides $535 for serving – or $6,200 every year for each commissioner.

Because the council previously adopted a budget that already allocated for the raise, the $3,600 annual increase did not require any additional council action to fund.

The idea was something that city staff also supported.

“Staff finds an increase in warranted given the Planning Commissioners’ importance in the city’s development review process, and as an advisory and recommending body to the City Council,” staff wrote in their report to the council. “Staff further finds the amount of $40 per meeting is respectful of the Planning Commissioner’s willingness to commit the time necessary to perform their assigned duties that includes more than the time spent at the dais during meetings.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.