A: Due to
financial cuts we can no longer maintain effective fire services to our
community. The fire board has already cut firefighters and is considering cutting
even more firefighters from the engine that responds to your home. The
fire district needs drastic cuts or increased revenues in order to balance the
budget. The fire district does not have the money to do both; provide the
current level of service and balance the budget.
does this mean to me and my family?
means that response times will increase, a neighborhood fire station (possibly
2) will close, and fewer firefighters on the fire engine to help you when they
get there! In order to be effective firefighters have to be equipped, staffed,
trained, and the station(s) open…all in order to save the lives and property of
you and your neighbors.
Every 60 seconds that goes by, a victim of a Sudden
Cardiac Arrest loses the chance of survival by 10%. As a rule of
thumb…Fire doubles in size every 60 seconds. This could spell tragedy for
you, your family, your neighbors, and yes our community! We have already closed
a neighborhood fire station over 90 days so far this year, and are expecting it
to be closed many more days.
many firefighters does it really take to deal with an emergency?
A:Obviously that depends on the emergency.But the National standard is to have a minimum
of 4 firefighters on a fire engine.We
typically have 2.Because the most
critical emergencies such as house fires, cardiac arrests, and auto
extrications are manpower intensive, having only 2 firefighters isn’t effective
and doesn’t come close to the standard the Federal government says. This just further
jeopardizes the safety of you and your family as well as the firefighters.
Q.Why is the Fire District in such a bad
A:Our income is largely based on property taxes.Because home values have dropped so much in
the last few years, so have our revenues.Also, because we are funded on a system that was put in place 30 years
ago, our income capabilities haven’t kept up with the increasing demand in
services.Additionally, the continued
growth of Lathrop City has forced us to provide a city fire department level of
service on a rural fire department budget.
Doesn’t the City of Lathrop run the Fire Department?
A: No. When
the City of Lathrop was incorporated in 1989 as a General Law city under the
government code, they were charged with making sure that you had essential
services. At that time, the City Of Lathrop decided to rely on the
Lathrop Manteca Fire District to provide their fire protection services
instead. The City of Lathrop has routinely spent millions of dollars for Police
services. This current sitting council has not spent one dime on
emergency fire services. Yet the increasing growth of the city with no
additional funding has increased the burden on the fire district. Most
cities pay over 60% of their general fund for police and fire. Lathrop
city pays 5 million per year for police services and ZERO for fire
What is a Special District?
special district is formed by a vote of the people to provide various community
services. These services range from Irrigation districts, public sewer
and water, to fire services. The Lathrop Manteca Fire District was
originally formed in 1936 as the Manteca Lathrop Rural County Fire Protection
District. It is governed by the California Health and Safety code and a
five member board that is elected by the voters throughout the district.
In essence these five board members make the decisions that provide
accountability and direction to the Fire Chief concerning your fire
Q:How is the fire district
fire district receives a small percentage of money from property taxes within
its boundaries. The money collected from property taxes is equal to a
fraction of 1% of your total property taxes.
The district also collects money from an override
assessment that was approved by the voters approved in 1982. The override
assessment is approximately .03 cents per residential square foot, .06 for
commercial business, and .08 cents per square foot of industrial. This
means that the owner of the typical home of 1500 square feet pays only $45 per
year! Both the property tax and fire assessment are tax write offs as
Unfortunately these funding mechanisms were meant to
provide fire services to a rural-type of community, and as our community has
grown and developed, our income has not kept up with the needs of the
Manteca provide all of the fire protection in the area? After all, it
does say Lathrop-MANTECA Fire District.
A.No. The word
“Manteca” in Lathrop Manteca Fire District refers to the rural unincorporated
areas around the city of Manteca, but not Manteca City.These are the areas between the cities of
Manteca, Ripon, Tracy and Stockton.The
Lathrop Manteca Fire District provides the fire services to those areas.
the fire district receive Funding from the City of Manteca or Manteca's Measure
The fire district receives no money whatsoever from Manteca City. The fire
district does not receive any money from Manteca’s Measure M sales tax
either. The City of Manteca's voters placed on the ballot and passed an
increase of sales tax to increase funding for their police and
fire services only.
are our Elected Leaders of the Fire District?
A: Currently, Benny Gatto, Bill Mahaffey, Manuel
Medeiros, Glorryana Rhodes, and Frank Cavaco.Both Benny Gatto’s and Frank Cavaco’s seats are up for election this
what is the solution?
A: There are two problems that need solutions.
The immediate funding shortfall, and the long term funding plan.
First in order to eliminate the immediate shortfall
and keep fire stations open we are hoping that the City of Lathrop will be able
to provide critical funding.
Second, to address the long term funding plan, the
district needs to explore avenues to streamline costs. In the recent past
we have explored ideas such as consolidating services with other nearby
communities. The problem is, operating costs for the Lathrop Manteca Fire
District are much lower than our neighboring cities. Nearby agencies such
as the City of Manteca and Tracy Consolidated Fire can't fund the difference in
costs. There is a large list of other Fire Agencies throughout California
that have successfully consolidated services.
Furthermore, our administrative costs are
approximately 25% of our personnel budget. Compared to nearby agencies
like Manteca Fire and Tracy Fire, our administrative costs are high. To
make matters worse, when the Fire Chief and staff initially proposed cuts, not
one dime was cut from the administrators, only front line firefighters.
That’s right, the burden was kicked right to those who respond to your front
Lastly, additional revenue sources need to be
explored to maintain your emergency fire services. We aren't sure what
the future holds as far as revenue generating capabilities. We do know
that we cannot provide the high level of service that you deserve with an
income structure that was developed in 1982. The fire district is exploring the
options needed to maintain and ultimately increase the level of service you and
your family need.
can I do to help?
A:Contact your Fire Board Directors and tell
them you want to keep the firefighters on the fire engines, and all
neighborhood fire stations open.
Also contact the Lathrop City Council Members and
tell them that The City Of Lathrop needs to immediately play more of a ongoing role
in the funding of vital public services such as the Fire Department, and that
you and your family can no longer risk going without fire and emergency medical