The Lodi City Council on Wednesday voted 4-0 to approve the city’s $59.6 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Councilman Alan Nakanishi was absent.
The budget included approximately $5.2 million in funds from Measure L, a half-cent sales tax passed by Lodi voters last November. Measure L took effect on April 1, increasing the local sales tax rate to 8.25 percent.
An estimated $4.9 million will be spent from Measure L funds, according to Deputy City Manager Andrew Keys, including approximately $2.2 million, which will be used both to hire a new librarian at a cost of $98,080 and to maintain existing jobs in the police and fire departments.
“Thirteen positions were maintained that otherwise would have had to go away,” Keys said.
The budget also included several new positions that will be covered by the city’s general fund, such as a full-time community service representative.
Although the community service representative will cost $74,870, there will be a net zero cost to the city due to a recent reduction in part-time staff, Keys said.
“We recently had a recruitment, and we have a nice little list of qualified people we can pull from,” he said.
The Lodi Community Development Department will spend an additional $191,320 on salary and benefits during the 2019-20 fiscal year with the addition of a new neighborhood services manager.
According to City Manager Steve Schwabauer, the neighborhood services manager — currently a contracted position — supervises the Community Development Block Grant program, Gang Reduction Intervention and Prevention program, and Lodi Improvement Committee, and also works with local nonprofits.
The neighborhood services manager used to be a full-time city employee, Schwabauer said; the current contractor is only available 3 1/2 days a week, for nearly the same cost as a full-time employee.
“It was an experiment. I had hoped it would work,” Schwabauer said. “It didn’t, so I’m recommending that we move back.”
When City Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce asked who will fill the position, Schwabauer said he plans to hold a recruitment to find the best possible candidate. Mounce insisted that the candidate be bilingual, as they will work closely with programs in Lodi’s Heritage District.
“I wouldn’t even consider someone who wasn’t bilingual, because of how culturally divers that area is,” she said.