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State raids on Manteca coffers hit $14.4M

Sacramento big factor in current city budget woes

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State raids on Manteca coffers hit $14.4M

How Manteca stacks up by the numbers.

Bulletin photo/

POSTED February 17, 2009 4:25 a.m.
Manteca since 2002 has used $13.8 million in one-time cash infusions – primarily from $12.2 million in bonus bucks – to cover gaps between expenditures from day-to-day city operations and revenue.
During the same time, the state has taken $14.4 million from traditional Manteca municipal funding sources – primarily property tax – to balance its budget. The shift is part of a California-wide strategy dubbed Education Revenue Aggregation Fund (ERAF) where the state has taken from city governments in a bid to keep public schools whole during periods of extended deficit spending in Sacramento that started earlier this decade.
If the state didn’t continue to take city money on a “temporary basis”, the city could have spent  part of the $12.2 million in bonus bucks collected from developers in return for residential sewer allocation certainty on various amenities including completing the remodeling of the new police headquarters on Industrial Park Drive and various phases of Woodward Park.
Instead the money went to cover what has been called a “structured deficit” in the budget. The structure deficit essentially refers to year-to-year shortfalls in revenue to cover expenditures for a particular year. Manteca hasn’t had an actual deficit to this point thanks to the availability of bonus bucks.
But starting in the July 1 fiscal year, the bonus bucks option will no longer be viable. Manteca is projected to compile an $11.3 million deficit during the fiscal year starting July 1 based on revenue and expenditure trends noted in December. Manteca started the current fiscal year with a $7.4 million structured deficit that it covered with a hiring freeze, cutting $800,000 in expenses and using $6 million in bonus bucks. The drop off in revenue has expanded that structured deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year to $11.3 million.
City Manager Steve Pinkerton currently believes measures taken so far by the council will cover half of that $11.3 million deficit.
Neighboring cities that didn’t have the luxury of bonus bucks employed other sources of income including landscape maintenance districts to pay for all park upkeep, community facilities districts, a municipal electrical utility such as the City of Lodi, and user utility taxes.
Manteca in the past nine years has made a concerted effort to pump up public safety.
A 39 percent increase since 2000 has added 22 police employees to take the ranks of sworn personnel up to 85 positions. Twelve firefighters have also been added.
Overall increases in the police budget have come to 168 percent since 2000 while fire service costs jumped 106 percent.
The increased manpower is reflected in how police-fire services accounted for 53 percent of the general fund in 2000 compared to 75 percent of the general fund today.
The city has been hit with higher costs in the Public Employees Retirement System contributions due to severe drops in the stock market. The city now pays 26.63 cents on every dollar of salary to retirement accounts. Compounding municipal money concerns has seen major jumps in workers compensation costs plus the current fiscal year drop in sales tax revenue due to consumer confidence weakening.
It costs an average of $1,790 a year to provide municipal services – excluding garbage, water, and sewer – for a three person household in Manteca.
Property taxes on a typical Manteca home with a $250,000 assessed value generate $2,500 but only $275 of that makes its way to the city’s general fund coffers. The lion’s share of what is left goes to schools.
The rest of the $1,515 needed to provide services for a typical household comes from sales tax receipts, utility fees on natural gas and electricity, cable franchise tax fees and a myriad of other sources.
Manteca ranks sixth among 11 surveyed cities in the immediate area and others of like size in per capita expenditures per resident of $498. Not surprisingly it is also ninth in terms of public employees per 1,000 with 5.96 workers. A check of those 11 cities shows the 75 percent of the general fund Manteca dedicates to police and fire services puts it at No 2 on the list. It is tied with Stockton and only topped by Turlock that is at 77 percent.
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