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Contends Manteca growth doesn’t pay its own way

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POSTED December 25, 2012 10:21 p.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

A bit more background is needed to three recent representations regarding The City of Manteca’s foot dragging on crosswalks, whether to water the “free” trees along the highways, and the nexus of (city) fees.

In all cases the core issue is the lack of funds when responding to a community need, to carry on a project, or setting fees. In the 1970s balancing the budget was a slight bump; in the 1980s, because of considerable development occurring, it was tolerable. In the 1990s when service demands from the 1980s development outpaced city revenue, city administrators surmised new development needed to pay its way and proceeded to negotiate fees that were “fair” to the builders instead of what is needed to cover service needs costs of a growing community. In the 2000s, the chickens came home to roost, when the recession arrived and the revenue stream dried up, but service demands continued.

For decades the Council’s mantra for balancing the fiscal books has been the need for new development, while ignoring the growing deficit that is outpacing the city’s revenue resources due to the service demands and impacts to infrastructure from the new development. Their response was to close the cumulative fiscal gap by cutting levels of service and standards (roadway maintenance, public safety, community amenities, traffic impacts, delayed crosswalks and sidewalks, etc.), and taking “free” state and federal handouts.

A Nexus study is supposed to determine appropriate fees and justify their adoption. In practice, Council never protracts into the nexus formula realistic future impacts and service demands, so adopted fees always fall short of covering costs. As such, the residents are required to make up the shortfall through reduced service levels.

The truth is that Council policy has not (in decades) and does not today make sure growth pays its way. If it did, why has there then no money?



Benjamin Cantu
Resident and Businessman

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