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City problem? Click it away
Government outreach helps cut through red tape
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Street light out in the neighborhood?

Got a suspected drug house around the corner? Or perhaps there is a pothole that needs fixing.

Help is just a few clicks away via the City of Manteca’s government outreach.

“It’s the best kept secret in the city,” noted Rex Osborn who is in charge of establishing the pilot program for the Manteca Neighborhood Action Planning undertaking.

The Internet communication page - which is also accessible from smart phones with free applications - provides citizens with quick and effective communication with city personnel. It covers four different areas - problems, questions, complaints and compliments.

The system is accessible at the city’s website at and then clicking on “contact us” at the top left-hand corner of the home page. That brings up the government outreach form.

To make it easier, it gives you a pull down tab once you select one for the four main areas that lists everything the city does from animal services to utilities.

In the case of a street light being burned out, you’d click on street lighting and then provide a pole number or location plus a brief description if warranted.

And once you send it off you get a confirmation with a reference number sent back to your e-mail.

“The e-mail is the most critical information that it asks for,” Osborn said.

Your inquiry or request is then directed to the proper person. If it happens to end up in the wrong person’s e-mail, city policy requires that person to forward it to the proper person. That puts them on the hook as well until your problem is solved or addressed.

“It is as much a government accountability system as anything else,” Osborn said.

The inquiry is responded to within several days verifying the issue and explaining the course of action being taken or - if it is a question - the answer is returned.

After the problem is resolved, the citizen is sent an e-mail asking them to provide feedback on how the matter was handled.

The system has been in place for about five years.

Osborn noted there are currently 535 open inquiries ranging from code enforcement concerns to other issues. The city doesn’t close the cases until they are resolved. In some cases, the citizen may be told that there is nothing the city can do if it is a complaint that falls outside of the municipality’s jurisdiction or authority under law.

“There have been thousands of request resolved since the system was put in place,” Osborn said.

Government outreach eliminates having to try to run down someone in person by dropping by city hall or by phone and then either getting a voice recording. It also allows people to access the city 24/7 with complaints or concerns.