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On track to invest $18.6M

Manteca builds facilities while some dig deep holes

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On track to invest $18.6M

Mayor Willie Weatherford spoke at Tuesday’s dedication of the Manteca Transit Center.

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin


POSTED August 9, 2013 12:32 a.m.

The irony wasn’t lost on Manteca Councilman Vince Hernandez.

Just up the tracks 16 miles from where he made brief remarks during the dedication this week of Manteca’s Transit Center sits California’s biggest train  wreck in terms of municipal government finances.

The Great Recession hit Manteca, Stockton and elsewhere hard. Yet Stockton ended up in bankruptcy with $1 billion in debt while Manteca is $140,000 away from balancing general fund fiscal year expenses with revenues. And during the same time Manteca has invested in six municipal facilities costing $18.6 million with minimal borrowing. And the borrowing they did was from internal government fee accounts that will be repaid as growth occurs.

“Even in bad economic times the city was able to build (the transit center),” Hernandez told a gathering of nearly 200 people gathered below the landmark-style clock tower at Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street.

Hernandez pointed out three major city investments in the downtown area made over the last two years — the municipal vehicle maintenance facility, the animal shelter and the transit center — are all in a row along South Main Street.

When the city’s $1.2 million investment in the nearby HOPE Family Shelter renovations and Library Park expansion are factored in, it brings the city’s two-year investment in the downtown area to $15.3 million.

And the city isn’t through yet when it comes to municipal improvements. A dedication ceremony for the city’s fourth fire station — a $3.5 million project on Lathrop Road west of Union Road —  is set for Sept. 11.

“Other cities ask how did you do it,” Hernandez told the gathering.

Hernandez credited the feat to the city’s fiscally conservative approach, innovative thinking and strong community support.

He noted not only did Manteca save most of the money it needed to make the improvements instead of borrowing, but by moving forward during the Great Recession “we got more bang for our buck.”

Councilman John Harris echoed Hernandez’ comments later noting the Manteca station is larger than Tracy’s but cost less to build. The Tracy station was built before the Great Recession hit.

The $8.7 million Manteca Transit Center is 100 percent paid for thanks to federal, state and Measure K receipts. It also has a 400-panel solar system in place that will pick up at least two thirds of the facility’s energy needs.

The $2.1 million animal shelter is paid for as well while the $2.4 million vehicle maintenance building required some internal borrowing.

Manteca will pay that back with interest through growth fees collected for public facilities with interest. The expansion of Library Park was covered with $900,000 the city collected from growth as well.

The $3,579,000 cost of building the fire station is being be covered by $2,279,000 in government building facility fees collected on new growth and a $1.3 million no interest loan from the public safety endowment fund. The fund was established using contributions made voluntarily by developers to help strengthen Manteca’s police and fire services.

That $1.3 million has been almost entirely paid back with the proceeds of the sale of the former carpenter’s union hall on Union Road north of Louise Avenue that the city bought a few years back for possible conversion to a fire station. The non-profit Valley CAPS purchased the building.

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