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Lathrop may switch to two-year budgets
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If the city council gives its blessing tonight, Lathrop could end up passing its budget in two-year blocks. 

As part of a mid-year budget review designed to give the council the ability to get a financial update before the budget process begins again, Lathrop staffers are suggesting that the city adopt a two-year budget cycle that would allow for greater flexibility of staff while at the same time performing the necessary fiscal oversight necessary for keeping a city solvent. 

According to the staff report prepared for the council, the move would free up staffers who spend a sizable portion of time preparing the annual budget and would put the city on par with 50 percent of the other municipalities and special districts that operate under a multi-annual budget. 

And while there are a few adjustments that will be proposed tonight – including reclassifying a position in Lathrop Police Services and outlining some capital expenses that weren’t part of the normal budget – the majority of the city’s budget forecast will remain in place. The city’s unassigned general fund balance will remain at $5.8 million until the next budget is adopted. 

And maintaining that and growing that number as the city prepares for future expansion both out at River Islands and the Central Lathrop Specific Plan will be crucial, and switching to a multi-year budget could be a big part in ensuring that fund remains healthy. 

While the move will cost the city less staff time to prepare it each and every year, it will free up those in charge of municipal finance to spot trends, take a longer look at the ebbs and flows over an extended period of time, and figure out the best way to secure the city’s fiscal position moving forward. 

When the housing crisis crippled the Central Valley and new home construction essentially dried up overnight, Lathrop was facing a deficit of more than $16 million and through cuts of programs and personnel – essentially stripping the city down to a bare-bones crew needed to keep things operational – they were able to turn that into a rainy day reserve that has remained near the same level for the last several years. 

The Lathrop City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive. For more information visit, and click on the city council tab. 


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.