State of Lodi put in focus
Annual event touches on Measure L, homelessness, crime
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.
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.
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.