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More room on way for customer lobby?
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Days when municipal utility bills are due – including the absolute last day to pay on delinquent bills to avoid a shut off of water service – lines often snake outside the Finance Department at the Manteca Civic Center and down the sidewalk.

The lines have been getting progressively longer as Manteca has grown. The backup has skyrocketed in recent years due to foreclosures and unemployment now at 14 percent in Manteca.

The reason is simple. The lobby in the finance department is Lilliputian in size. There are just three service windows and room for just two to three other people waiting in line.

That could all change if the Manteca City Council tonight approves a plan to spend $53,476 to expand the counter to five customer service windows and to expand the lobby to accommodate more customers in line.

The remodel also will allow for the replacement of more efficient work stations to enhance the efficiency of finance department workers.

The money was included in last year’s fiscal budget. It was set aside from sewer, water, and solid waste budgets. That money is paid for by ratepayers and can only be used for utility related functions including the billing and collection of money for services rendered.
The money was carried over from the last fiscal year and was already built into the cost of operating the system.

The city has just completed a remake of the Community Development Department public access area to allow for a more efficient interaction with customers. The one stop permit center opened last Thursday.

That project was paid for with bonus bucks put up by developers to assure residential sewer allocation certainty.

If the council opts to precede, the new counter and work stations will be purchased from Warden’s.

The council meets tonight at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.