State of Lodi put in fo­cus

An­nual event touches on Mea­sure L, home­less­ness, crime

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By John Bays NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

Two days af­ter the elec­tion, Lodi City Man­ager Steve Sch­wabauer was still bask­ing in the glow of vic­tory af­ter the pass­ing of Mea­sure L, a half-cent sales tax in­crease, as he be­gan his pre­sen­ta­tion for the 2018 Lodi State of the City ad­dress at Wood­bridge Golf and Coun­try Club on Thurs­day morn­ing.

Sch­wabauer thanked Lodi’s vot­ers for pass­ing the mea­sure, which is ex­pected to gen­er­ate ap­prox­i­mately $5.4 mil­lion an­nu­ally for the city’s $50 mil­lion gen­eral fund to pay for ser­vices such as po­lice, fire, parks and the li­brary.

“Mea­sure L al­ways was about main­tain­ing ser­vices. We’re go­ing to try to im­prove ser­vices as well, but the mea­sure is about main­tain­ing ser­vices,” Sch­wabauer said. “We’re glad the cit­i­zens thought that was im­por­tant. We take that se­ri­ously and we’re go­ing to do our best to spend that money wisely.”

The city coun­cil has re­cently taken ac­tion to­ward re­solv­ing the city’s pen­sion cri­sis, Sch­wabauer said, such as cre­at­ing an $11.6 mil­lion Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Em­ploy­ees’ Re­tire­ment Sys­tem (CalPERS) sta­bi­liza­tion fund, $8.5 mil­lion of which comes from the city’s gen­eral fund.

The city’s an­nual PERS costs are ex­pected to in­crease from $11,659,946 in fis­cal year 2018-19 to $17,246,212 in fis­cal year 2023-24, Sch­wabauer said, mean­ing that pen­sion costs will con­tinue to be the city’s sin­gle largest fi­nan­cial chal­lenge in the years to come.

On a brighter note, the com­mu­nity has seen con­tin­ued growth in the com­mer­cial and re­tail sec­tors, Sch­wabauer said, with a new

“We still have chal­lenges, but through col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the peo­ple of Lodi, city em­ploy­ees and all th­ese groups, we’re go­ing to have a bright fu­ture.” MAYOR ALAN NAKANISHI OF LODI

Sprouts gro­cery store open­ing in Au­gust and two new apart­ment build­ings fin­ish­ing con­struc­tion.

Lodi’s tran­sient oc­cu­pancy tax is up 19 per­cent from last year, Sch­wabauer said, three ho­tels have ei­ther al­ready be­gun con­struc­tion or will in the near fu­ture.

“Lodi is not be­com­ing a tourist des­ti­na­tion,” Sch­wabauer said. “Lodi is a tourist des­ti­na­tion.”

Mayor Alan Nakanishi’s speech ad­dressed three main top­ics: Home­less­ness, crime and money to pay for ser­vices.

“Home­less­ness has in­creased, but we have the Home­less­ness Com­mit­tee and Take Back Lodi and they’re work­ing to ad­dress the is­sue,” Nakanishi said.

The Lodi Po­lice Depart­ment was able to help ap­prox­i­mately 60 tran­sients find homes through their new com­mu­nity li­ai­son po­si­tion, Nakanishi said, al­though he ex­pects that more tran­sients will con­tinue to come to Lodi.

The Lodi Com­mit­tee on Home­less­ness worked with a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion based in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia to get four younger tran­sients en­rolled in job train­ing pro­grams, Nakanishi said, and Take Back Lodi has con­tin­ued their ef­forts to clean up the city’s parks.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, but it is go­ing to be a chal­lenge in the fu­ture,” Nakanishi said.

Eight of the nine mur­ders this year have been solved so far, Nakanishi said, and while both vi­o­lent crime and gang-re­lated crimes have de­creased, he said Lodi po­lice have seen a 42 per­cent in­crease in the over­all num­ber of calls for ser­vice they re­ceive.

“Our of­fi­cers work very hard,” Nakanishi said. “They work over­time, their paid less than other of­fi­cers in the county, but we’re go­ing to work to re­in­force them.”

Nakanishi ap­plauded groups such as the Lodi Po­lice Foun­da­tion, Lodi Pub­lic Li­brary Foun­da­tion and Lodi Po­lice Part­ners for their con­tri­bu­tions to the city.

Nakanishi also thanked the Lodi-Tokay Ro­tary Club for spon­sor­ing Ok­to­ber­fest which he said raised ap­prox­i­mately $15,000 for Amer­i­can Le­gion Lodi Post 22 while at the same time hon­or­ing the city’s Ger­man her­itage.

“They say be­fore the Ger­man im­mi­grants came, Lodi had 14 sa­loons and two churches,” Nakanishi said. “Af­ter they came, there were 12 churches and three sa­loons, and they brought their cul­ture of vol­un­teer­ing and com­mu­nity ac­tivism with them.”

Sch­wabauer also re­ceived Nakanishi’s praise for speak­ing be­fore CalPERS of­fi­cials in Sacra­mento about the im­pact of spi­ral­ing pen­sion costs on the city, Nakanishi said, as did City At­tor­ney Jan­ice Magdich for han­dling lit­i­ga­tion that led to Lodi hold­ing its first-ever dis­trict-based elec­tion for city coun­cil this year.

Nakanishi also thanked City Clerk Jen­nifer Fer­raiolo for over­see­ing the elec­tion, which he said went off with­out a hitch.

Al­though Lodi had a dif­fi­cult time last year due to in­creased salaries for full-time em­ploy­ees, in­creased pay for part-timers and the pen­sion cri­sis, Nakanishi ended his speech by ex­press­ing his op­ti­mism that the city will be able to over­come those dif­fi­cul­ties.

“We still have chal­lenges, but through col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the peo­ple of Lodi, city em­ploy­ees and all th­ese groups, we’re go­ing to have a bright fu­ture,” Nakanishi said.

Prior to the start of the ad­dress, a mo­ment of si­lence was held for the 12 peo­ple — in­clud­ing one Ven­tura County sher­iff’s deputy — who were killed in Wed­nes­day night’s tragic shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks that left at least a dozen more in­jured.

NEWS-SEN­TINEL PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY BEA AHBECK

City Man­ager Steve Sch­wabauer speaks and thanks Lodi res­i­dents for vot­ing for Mea­sure L dur­ing the mayor’s State of the City break­fast at Wood­bridge Golf and Coun­try Club on Thurs­day. The screen be­hind Sch­wabauer reads “Thank You Lodi!”

Jim Cooper, rep­re­sent­ing Cal­i­for­nia State 9th Assem­bly Dis­trict, smiles dur­ing the mayor’s State of the City break­fast.

Tom Patti, County Board of Su­per­vi­sors, Dis­trict 3, and Pat Pa­trick, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Lodi Cham­ber of Com­merce, chat be­fore the mayor’s State of the City break­fast at Wood­bridge Golf and Coun­try Club on Thurs­day.

Mayor Alan Nakanishi speaks dur­ing the mayor’s State of the City break­fast at Wood­bridge Golf and Coun­try Club on Thurs­day.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Mayor Alan Nakanishi and his wife, Sue, stand dur­ing a mo­ment of si­lence for the vic­tims of Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks dur­ing the mayor’s State of the City break­fast at Wood­bridge Golf and Coun­try Club on Thurs­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.