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How much rent should city charge?

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POSTED September 3, 2013 1:25 a.m.

State-of-the-art community rooms in Manteca’s $8.3 million transit center are sitting unused by the public until the Manteca City Council acts on recommendations by a citizen’s panel regarding proposed rents.

That could take until the end of October under a time table set down by elected leaders.

Serving on the panel are Ed Fichtner, Matt Sickler, Dave Byrd, Larry King and Jack Snyder. They will meet for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 4 p.m. in the conference room at the transit station, 220 Moffat Blvd.

The agenda includes a review of the current proposed transit center policy, a review of local private rental hall rates, a discussion of rate structures and possible recommendations, as well as public comment.

The staff recommendation that offered local non-profits one free rental a year came under criticism from representatives of private and non-profit halls in Manteca who also felt the rents the city was proposing was unfairly undercutting them.

The City Council rejected the staff’s recommended rent schedule and instead formed the citizens’ panel to look at the issue and make recommendations.

Manteca city staff based their proposed rate schedule on a survey of nearby municipal halls in places such as Oakdale and Modesto as well as the Manteca Senior Center and Chez Shari. The Chez Shari hall is operated by Frank Guinta at the Manteca golf course clubhouse through a contract Guinta has with the city. The rent survey did not include private halls in Manteca such as The Emory nor the FESM or MRPS social halls.

The proposed policy allowed for one free rental per calendar year for Manteca-based non-profit organizations. After that, Manteca-based non-profits would have been able to rent the entire facility Friday through Sunday for a full day for $300. Out-of-town non-profits could secure the entire community room for $450 for a full day.

The community room has capacity for 452 people seated without tables with that space being able to break down into two smaller rooms — one handling 318 and the other 134. The overall number of people that could be accommodated for dining ranges from 200 to 250.

The community room complete with available kitchen was identified early on in the transit center process by the council as being a critical component of the facility. That was due to what the city perceived as a shortage of rental hall space in Manteca plus the need to create a downtown focal point.

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