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Builders bite a helping hand from Manteca

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POSTED March 21, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Here’s a little tidbit for those who worry about Manteca’s business friendly quotient.

Thanks to ruffled feathers by representatives of the Building Industry Association Great Valley that Manteca supposedly was harsher on home builders than any other jurisdiction in the region when it came to development processing fees municipal staff surveyed 22 cities that deal with the BIA.

Eleven cities responded with almost a third charging developers 100 percent of the cost for all planning work required to move a subdivision to groundbreaking.

It is against that backdrop BIA executive John Beckman squawked during Tuesday’s City Council meeting about how unfair it was that Manteca was dropping a discount for multiple applications required for the same project. Forget the fact home  builders are still getting a 60 percent discount off of what it actually costs the city to process such requests. The money the city will now collect is going right back into Community Development Department staffing to benefit — you guessed it — developers.

After the meeting, several council members expressed that they weren’t too happy about the homebuilders attempt at hardball especially considering how the city went out of its way to work with developers during the recession to keep home building going. That included putting the $8,000 plus per home bonus buck fees in abeyance that various developers had contractually agreed to pay the city.

And given the fact the BIA in an earlier email to its members was bragging that it looked like they were successfully beating back an attempt to discontinue the multiple application discount and noted it would save members $200,000 a year, the BIA may have just created a nice campaign issue for those trying to unseat incumbents in November.

That $200,000 annually the city gave up to help builders over the past five years could have easily paid the annual cost of having one more police officer and a street worker to provide services to Manteca residents.

One has to wonder how much municipal services or police and fire staffing is being sacrificed so developers only have to pay 40 percent of the cost of processing their applications rather than 100 percent of the cost as they do in other area cities.

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