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Proposal may save Manteca $2.6 million

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POSTED September 18, 2017 1:30 a.m.

Oakwood Lake Shores — the gated 480-home community built where the Manteca  Waterslides once stood — is overtaxing the Oakwood Lake Water district’s ability to treat wastewater from the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Manteca is facing a $2.6 million bill to put in a force main project and pump station in the southwest portion of the city to handle storm run-off in order for the area to develop.

On Tuesday, municipal staff is presenting the Manteca City Council with a proposal for a feasibility study involving Oakwood Lake Shores sending sewer to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the city being able to dump storm run-off into — or around — the gated community’s lakes and into the San Joaquin River. 

The $180,000 cost of the feasibility studies is being split by the city as well as the Oakwood Lake Water District.

The basis of the studies is to determine if the two entities can enter into a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both sides.  The Oakwood district might be able to discharge wastewater to the city’s treatment plant and the city storm water though the Oakwood project.

The staff report for the item on Tuesday’s agenda notes that if the feasibility study pans out and a mutually beneficial long-term agreement can be worked out, the city would not need to spend $2.5 million to put in a force main to send storm water to the San Joaquin River. In turn, Oakwood Shores wastewater would be accepted by the city.

What the staff report doesn’t mention is how it would impact annexation discussions Oakwood Shores started with the city in 2012.

The talks started after the state issued an edict for Oakwood to secure a long-term solution for wastewater after determining the district’s existing system is inadequate and cannot be expanded.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board gave the original developer that converted the old Manteca Waterslides into a 480-lot subdivision with two manmade lakes a temporary permit to use an existing treatment plant put in place years ago for the Oakwood mobile home park and the adjoining resort. The homes ultimately have to be part of a municipal treatment system that meets state requirements. The only viable option is Manteca.

And based on what the council was told at a subsequent council meeting in October of 2014 the only way they can obtain a connection to the city’s treatment plant is by annexing to Manteca.

“We cannot extend sewer service to an area outside the city limits unless they annex to Manteca,” noted then City Manager Karen McLaughlin in citing legal research by municipal attorneys.

Back in 2013 the cost of connecting to the Manteca system was pegged at least $3,961 each for existing Oakwood homeowners or $66 a month for five years.

The big sticking point was the other associated annexation costs.

Once annexed, the city in 2014 expected the Oakwood Shores water system to ultimately be connected to the municipal system. That would trigger a fee of $4,065 a month to connect each home. Manteca charges for water use by combining a base monthly rate of $17.15 with actual usage.

There are also a variety of fees from community park development to major equipment that city staff at the time said “would definitely be imposed” on any new construction although not existing Oakwood Shores homes. In previous annexations of homes that have already been built and occupied such fees were not applied.

Just under $100,000 in annexation related fees to cover processing costs was expected to be picked up by the developer.

The staff memo doesn’t make it clear whether “a mutual benefit” would allow Oakwood Shores to get around the annexation requirement to access wastewater treatment services that the council was informed the law required when the matter was brought up in 2014.

The City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

 

 

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