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No new taxes for Lathrop districts
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LATHROP – Lathrop city officials want residents to read their lips: No new taxes for fiscal year 2010-11.

That goes for street lighting, street landscaping, parks, and storm drainage system maintenance in most areas of the city.

The council’s recommendation to not raise any assessments for the above utilities and let the figures for the next fiscal year remain the same as those of the last fiscal year reflects the city officials’ reluctance in making a down economy even worse for its hard-hit residents. Lathrop is at the ground zero of the still ongoing mortgage meltdown that led to record residential foreclosures particularly in the more affluent west Lathrop neighborhoods in the vicinity of City Hall.

No new taxes, though, also means that there will not be enough tax revenues to pay for street lighting, parks, storm drain and landscaping maintenance. However, to continue the current levels of service for these residential comforts and city-image builders, the council made the hard decision to subsidize the revenue shortfalls using taxpayers’ money in the general fund.

The Residential Lighting Maintenance District will need a subsidy of $40,421. With the city paying for the general benefit amounts – those are funds paid for services that benefit the general public such as street lights – the overall subsidy total will be $62,024. The benefit expenses the city will pay amount to $21,603 with the breakdown as follows: residential lighting district ($6,392), industrial lighting district ($9,465), Stonebridge landscaping district ($2,873), and Stonebridge drainage and lighting district ($2,873).

The residential lighting district consists of seven separate zones in the section of the city generally east of Interstate 5 between Lathrop Road and Louise Avenue and the Union Pacific Railroad to the east, with each zone paying different assessment rates ranging from $5.68 for those in Zone G (in the southwest corner of the district) to $43.16 in Zone E which include the tract developments of Eagle Park, Rosegate, Terrace, Brumley Place, Milestone Manor, Sunset Manor, Sunrise Place and Wild Flower Estates between  Lathrop Road and J Street.

Some of the districts will not need any general fund subsidy because the funding shortfalls will be filled by their reserves. Falling under this category are Storm Drain District Zones I (north of Louise Avenue, east of I-5, and west of the western Union Pacific Railroad) and Zone IA (south of Louise, east of I-5 and northwest of Union Pacific).

Districts that are collecting enough revenue to meet maintenance expenses include the Industrial Lighting districts of the industrial areas west of McKinley Avenue and south of Louise Avenue identified as Zone A, and those in the industrial areas that include Crossroads Commerce Center in the southwestern half of the area bounded by Harlan and Howland roads and Louise Avenue known as Zone B. The Landscape as well as Drainage and Lighting districts at Stonebridge are also fully funded by revenues.

Another exception to all of the above is Woodfield Park which was dealt with separately by the council. Landscape and maintenance for this particular park has been subsidized for a number of years by the city since the residents at this district voted against raising assessment fees to maintain the park.

For the fiscal year starting July 1 this year, the city will subsidize the landscaping and maintenance needs of this park again in the amount of $17,775. Last year’s subsidy amounted to $21,000.