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DeBrum wants urban limits explored for Manteca growth

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POSTED October 12, 2012 12:36 a.m.

Steve DeBrum believes it’s time to draw the line.

The Manteca councilman wants to put in motion discussions that would determine the ultimate eastern and southern city boundaries in a bid to protect agriculture and pursue “smart growth.” The western boundary is now up against Lathrop while French Camp Road has been established as the ultimate city boundary where it would run up against Stockton’s city limits.

DeBrum, who has served for 9 ½ years as a Manteca City Council member is seeking re-election Nov. 6. Also running for the two council seats are fellow incumbent Debby Moorhead and challengers Ben Cantu and Sheila Raya.

“We need to talk about urban limits because eventually we’re going to run out of dirt,” DeBrum said in reference to projected state and county population growth and the need to feed people. “We’ve got to plan smart.”

That said, DeBrum indicated his No. 1 priority is restoring police and firefighter manpower as city revenues improve.

DeBrum believes “meaningful growth” coupled with economic development will allow Manteca to generate more jobs and broaden tax base to provide higher levels of municipal services and additional amenities.



Accomplishments of the past 10 years

DeBrum pointed to six major accomplishments the city has done over the past 10 years:

• The conversion of the shuttered Spreckels Sugar plant and its 360 acres into retail, employment centers and housing. the Spreckels Park project is home to more than 1,500 jobs.

• The completion of the surface water treatment plant project.

• The expansion and upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant to meet tougher state water quality requirements,

• The Big League Dreams sports complex.

• The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass Pro Shops.

• The purchase of 417 acres along Hays Road south of town for wetlands created with the future surface disposal of treated wastewater to safeguard the city against having to comply with the ever tightening discharge quality standards for the San Joaquin River.

He noted that some of the projects such as Spreckels Park started before he was elected. Even so, DeBrum said it was rewarding to have been able to help see them through to completion.

DeBrum said the jury’s still out on whether the proposed Great Wolf Resort and family entertainment zone project on municipal property adjacent to the Big League Dreams complex also to whether they make fiscal sense for the city. He added, though the city has to explore such possibilities in an aggressive quest to help secure jobs for Manteca residents as well as additional tax revenue to support more police and firefighters.

The councilman noted that Manteca’s biggest plus “location, location, location” at snaring retail and future employment centers is a “double edged sword.” Essentially what makes Manteca attractive to the private sector and families also attracts the criminal element including gangs.

He said that is why as Manteca grows public safety has to grow as well.

DeBrum lauded city staff for stepping up and taking compensation adjustments while rethinking their jobs to cover positions left vacant in a bid to help the city weather the economic downturn. He notes that because of hard decisions and city employees stepping up to the plate to help reign in health be benefits and retirement costs, Manteca should be able to eliminate its structured deficit by 2016.

Also on his agenda as Manteca moves forward is the creation of a 25 percent general fund reserve to give the city a cushion against future economic downtown turns and unforeseen disasters. He also wants to make sure CenterPoint - a $175 million business park development encompassing 168 acres in northwest Manteca being funded by the California Public Employees Retirement System - moves forward with its promise of 600 permanent jobs.

DeBrum, 65, was born in Hanford and graduated from Hanford High in 1965.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from California State Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo in 1970.

DeBrum works from his home base in Manteca as Dairy Farmers of America’s Northern California manager which covers the Northern California and Northern Nevada area.

He is currently serving his third Council term sitting on the City’s Criminal Justice Task Force, the Manteca Unified School District 2 x 2 Common Goals Committee, as a member of the San Joaquin Council of Governments, the Valley Regional Policy Advisory Committee, the Second Harvest Food Bank Board and as a member of the League of Cities Transportation, Communication and Public Works Committee

The councilman is active in a number of professional clubs and associations. He is currently a member of the California Dairy Industry Association and is a past member of the California Auctioneers Association. He is the past president of the Manteca Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and is also a past president of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and board member for the Manteca Boys and Girls Club.

He is a member of the Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis, where he has served as Lt. Governor for the California, Nevada, and Hawaii region. He has served as a past state officer for the Future Farmers of America. As an active member of Manteca’s St. Anthony’s Parish, DeBrum has served in the role of Grand Knight with the St. Anthony’s Knights of Columbus.

DeBrum and his wife Veronica have been married for 43 years. They have two grown children and five grandchildren.

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