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$252M on want list, $70M in bank
Manteca leaders to revisit capital improvement project priorities
TRANSIT-cap-porject lt
The $7.1 million transit station at Moffat and Main is among Mantecas capital improvement projects getting underway this fiscal year. - photo by Rendering contributed

Manteca has a “needs and wish list” of $149.6 million in capital improvement projects on the books through 2016.

That doesn’t include another $102.6 million in projects that city leaders say are either needed or desired by the community that aren’t scheduled to move forward in the next five years.

The city has $70 million on hand in restricted funds for more than 160 projects including $15.1 million budgeted for the current fiscal year. The balance of the money will have to either be borrowed against future growth fees - a common practice - or obtained in some other form such as through state and federal grants or Measure K funding for transportation-related needs.

Pressing needs and community desires with limited funding is why Mayor Willie Weatherford has convinced his fellow council colleagues to look at the capital improvement plan separately from the rest of the budget review process for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2012.

The mayor believes it is critical to have the council decide the priorities instead of letting it become a staff decision by default.

Weatherford has indicated there are instances where the council needs to rearrange priorities or to push projects higher up on the priority list. One example is the need to get sidewalk in place along East Louise Avenue just east of Cottage Avenue. The mayor and the rest of the council wants to see that done before $62,000 is spent to extend a sidewalk along Commerce Court to the new Social Security office behind Home Depot.

In some cases, though, strings attached to the acceptance of some funds dictate when they will move forward. For example, federal stimulus funds need to be spent by a specific date or they are lost.

Most of the projects listed in the capital improvement plan are fairly pedestrian dealing with water, sewer, and streets.

Much of the $102.6 million in projects identified for beyond five years tend to be more in the “want” category than a need. Among that projects and their price tags are performing/visual arts center, $18 million; community center, $16 million; aquatics center, $16 million; library expansion, $33 million; Woodward Park baseball field, $1.6 million; Woodward Park amphitheatre, $1.9 million; Woodward Park tennis center, $4.1 million; and converting Morezone Field into a baseball field, $820,000.

Thirty-six percent of the $15.1 million budget for projects this fiscal year is for water and sewer system improvements. Those are covered 100 percent by monthly maintenance and operation charges as well as growth fees.

That money - in many cases - is wedded to funds either put aside or already spent on the project in previous fiscal years. A prime example is the transit station that has a $7.1 million price tag. The $15.1 million for this year included $1 million toward that project but previous budgets have already set aside the balance for the project that is starting this spring at Moffat Boulevard and Main Street.

And in other cases such as the Library Park expansion the work was completed this fiscal year but all of the money needed was allocated in a previous fiscal year. In some cases the money was set aside in previous years but no visible progress has been made such as $594,000 for the Bridewell parking lot at Woodward Park or $270,000 for the Woodward Park picnic shelter.

Among the other capital improvement projects funded in the current fiscal year are:

•$1,280,125 for Union Ranch East Park related improvements also includes 3.3 miles of linear park that will include part of the northern extension of the Tidewater Bikeway that will ultimately connect the leg that runs along the south side of the portion of Del Webb that is currently developed with the Tidewater at Lathrop Road.

• $327,527 for a Moffat Boulevard storm surge basin being developed south of the railroad tracks adjacent to the former Carl’s Jr. Distribution Center.

• $1.8 million to extend a water line for treated surface water down Austin Road from Yosemite Avenue to Moffat Boulevard. The segment from Lathrop Road to Yosemite Avenue has already been installed.

• $895,000 for centrifugal type aeration blowers with high efficiency turbo type blower at the wastewater treatment plant. The blowers are one of the largest energy consumers at the plant that has a $1.2 million plus annual electric bill. The new blowers will pay for themselves in nine years in the form of energy savings.

• $278,000 to put in non-potable wells in place to irrigate municipal parks. It is part of an ongoing effort to wean parks off treated municipal water. In doing so, the city is using shallow water tables where non-potable water is found to irrigate parks while avoiding using expensive surface treated water. That in turn helps improve pressure as well as gets more mileage out of available water supplies for domestic

• $290,000 for a water line along Louise Avenue from Austin Road to Pestana Avenue. By getting surface water close enough to the well, it will eliminate the need to use the well except in high demand periods. It also avoids the need to install an expensive arsenic removal treatment package plant at the well site.

• $521,000 for water pipe replacement in the vicinity of Manteca Avenue and Center Street.

• $2.9 million for state required studies and design work for a new interchange at McKinley Avenue and the 120 Bypass.

• $967,000 for pavement rehabilitation along Louise Avenue from Main Street to the eastern city limits.