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Reversing downtown not overnight thing

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POSTED April 15, 2014 12:40 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

Apparently the Measure M sales tax passed a few years ago for public safety isn’t enough; staff and the Council are now considering a Community Facilities District tax to help fund the police and fire departments. 

Keep in mind that establishing a CFD or Community Services District on top of Measure M represents triple taxation because public safety is already part of the General Fund budget, which is funded by our property taxes. (Editor’s note: A CFD tax or CSD tax, if implemented, would only apply to new development within a specific boundary and not citywide. The only existing CFD was put in place at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley so owners of parcels within the development would pay off the infrastructure put in place for that development.). The truth is additional funds for public safety is needed because of fiscal impacts from new development on the existing community. I am not professing that we stop new development, but frankly, the residents do not need another tax to solve the Council’s problem and their lack of political will. 

A recent article highlights the Council envisioning a “destination downtown” and that the city sunk $4 million a decade ago into downtown improvements. Let’s not forget the previous $1 million from two decades ago. That represents about $5 million over 20 years, based on the same strategic premise of making Downtown a “destination” point. While I agree downtown Manteca needs to become a commercially viable destination, “throwing” a few million dollars over 20 years at the area for cosmetic improvements is unrealistic. 

The ongoing argument between Council and some downtown businesses over who is responsible for improving Downtown, and several failed attempts to develop any type of plan, has gone nowhere for decades. In order to break this deadlock and to begin the process of transitioning downtown into a commercially viable destination, I felt it was important to establish a three-way partnership of downtown property and business owners and the Council. As such, two years ago a group of downtown business people and I established the Downtown Manteca Business Association with the mission of developing a three-way partnership to work together on revitalizing downtown Manteca. While the Downtown Association’s progress has been positive and progressive, reversing downtown’s decades of neglect is not an overnight transition.

 

Benjamin Cantu

Manteca

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