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Manteca: A $116M concern
Struggling general fund just part of overall picture
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City of Manteca operations are expected to generate $116 million and spend about $500,000 less in the fiscal year ending June 30.

Most of the attention has been focused, though, on just $32.8 million that constitutes the general fund that pays for day-to-day services such as police, fire, parks, streets, and general government.  The general fund is the only municipal account facing a continuing deficit problem. After chipping away at $11.4 million in expenses to balance this year’s general fund, the city is working on ways to trim another $3.8 million from next year’s budget so expenses match revenue.

Audits show all of the other accounts - ranging from business-type activities such as enterprise accounts for sewer, water and garbage to growth fee related activities and the redevelopment agency – are healthy with adequate financial cushions.

Although it frustrates some city hall critics who believe that money collected by the RDA and other special accounts such as growth fees for parks should go to help the general fund and pump up public safety, state law prohibits such money from being used for anything other than what it was collected for in the first place.

The comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009 that was released earlier this month shows that Manteca’s net assets increased seven percent over 2008 levels going from $289.6 million to $313.3 million.

Net assets are used to give an indication of a government agency’s overall financial position. Cities were required a few years back by the state to do such a recap. Unlike a business that could shift assets or cash from one division that is doing well to another that isn’t the city can’t do that to help the general fund. However, if the general fund were flush the city could legally shift money from it to other operations.

Of the $313.3 million in assets, 54 percent represents an investment in capital assets such as land, buildings, infrastructure ranging from streets to water pipes, machinery, and such that are used to provide services to residents. The wastewater treatment plant is the city’s biggest single investment coming in at almost $60 million.

Capital assets increased by $27.4 million in 2009 as the city invested heavily in road projects, storm drain improvements, and park enhancements.

Manteca has $148.1 million in funds – sitting primarily in investments until they are needed for future spending – that are restricted in how they can be used.