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Measure M keeps police on patrol
Without half cent sales tax, Manteca would have 10 less officers
Manteca Police ranks would be thinner today by 10 patrol officers if it wasn’t for the Measure M public safety half cent sales tax. - photo by Bulletin file photo
To access City Manager Steve Pinkerton’s blog to
Manteca would have 10 less police officers today if it wasn’t for the Measure M public safety tax approved by voters in November of 2006.

The half cent sales tax generated $3.6 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008 compared to the projection of $4 million. It is expected to bring in $4.2 million to fund police and firefighter positions when the current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2009 at best.

Next fiscal year sales tax receipts for Measure M are expected to be flat.

“We are still going to implement the plan as presented to voters but we will delay the actual implementation by a year or so due to a drop in (half cent) sales tax receipts,” Police Chief Dave Bricker said at a recent citizen’s budget committee meeting.

Manteca Police are authorized 70 general funds police officers along with 36 support staff, 10 Measure M positions, one officer from growth endowment funds paid by developers  and have another two officers covered by either a state grant or Manteca Unified School District funds to help pay for school resource officers.

Thirteen of those general fund positions are being kept vacant to help cope with a projected $11.3 million deficit anticipated to materialize in the fiscal year starting July 1. Those positions include four police officers, a sergeant, and a captain. Non sworn positions that are vacant include four community service officers, a dispatcher, a booking officer, and a support services manager.

The vacant police positions mean the city will save more than $1 million in a year’s time in benefits and salaries or an 11th of the projected deficit.

Today, there are 77 officers actually on the job. If it weren’t for Measure M sales tax, there would only be 67 officers protecting Manteca or a staffing level equivalent to four years ago.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton believes budget strategies in place so far or else in the process of being implemented will bridge half of the projected deficit.

The rest will have to be made up in further service cuts, through new revenue or a combination of both.

The council appointed citizens budget advisory committee meets Thursday at 3:30 p.m. to possibly recommend options they’d like Manteca’s elected leaders to consider addressing the budget gap.