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Lathrop special sales tax revenues are ahead of projections

When the City of Lathrop first put a one cent sales tax increase on the ballot seven years ago, they anticipated an additional $2 million a year in extra revenue – 40 percent of which would go to the Lathrop Manteca Fire District. 

And with the amount of growth that Lathrop has seen in just that short window, the Lathrop Manteca Fire District is slated to get almost as much as the entire fund was supposed to generate when it was first created. 

On Tuesday, the Measure C Oversight Committee passed the 2019/20 budget for the fund generated by the sales tax increase and while there weren’t any unexpected developments being added this year, the fund is generating far more in current forecasts than when the idea was proposed as a way to help the city rebound from the lingering effects of economic downturn and the housing crisis. 

This past fiscal year the City of Lathrop took in more than $4 million for essentially city services while the LMFD took in $1.895 million – both of which are more than double what was initially forecast when the measure went out to voters. 

The proposed budget for next year for Lathrop’s essentially city services is expected to grow to $4.736 million – spurred by ever-expanding development front that includes hotels, restaurants, and businesses to cater to the growing community – while the LMFD is slated to receive $1.759 million. While the city is forecasting that the fund will generate $6.495 million next fiscal year, that number is more than likely conservative as the fund has overperformed in each year that it has been in existence. For example, the city is projecting the Measure C budget for only $6.499 million for the 2020/21 budget – an increase of only $4,000. 

The fund has been a massive boon for public safety for both the City of Lathrop and the areas that surround it – responsible for the funding of five sworn police positions as well as six firefighter-engineers for the LMFD as well as two-thirds of three line battalion chief positions in addition to apparatus that has been purchased to help meet the demands of a growing community. 

Included in this next year’s budget will be funding to staff the fire district’s rescue unit – which is currently being housed at the new fire station headquarters complex in River Islands – that affords first responders flexibility to meet the unique needs of the district and the people they serve. 

Because Lathrop has a number of railways, large industrial warehouse buildings, active factories, freeways and waterways – any number of which could provide a hazardous materials situation or a specialized rescue situation that calls for special tools in addition to enhanced training – the rescue unit provides the quick-response necessary to any one of those call types to augment existing emergency response efforts. 

Measure C has also been used to pay for:

uFour positions with the Parks and Recreation Department. 

The maintenance and operations cost associated with the Lathrop Generations Center – which includes the Lathrop Teen Center and the Lathrop branch of the San Joaquin Public Library. 

Upgrades to a variety of parks throughout the city including the installation of fitness equipment, benches, barbecue areas, waste receptacles, and pet fountains. 

Parking lot repairs at Valverde Park and additional parking at the Lathrop Generations Center. 

The purchase and installation of license plate readers for law enforcement use. 

The Measure C Oversight Committee was formed as an independent body to provide independent balance to the Lathrop City Council pet the language of the approved ballot measure. 

The budget that was approved included objectives that outline the need to continue to fund sworn safety positions to promote a safe environment for the city and its residents and to continue to fund city positions and the maintenance and operations costs for the Lathrop Generations Center.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.