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New subdivisions may have enough blight to qualify for inclusion in redevelopment
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Foreclosure blight may open the door for Manteca to add neighborhoods built in the past 20 years to the redevelopment agency.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton indicated staff  is looking into the possibility of determining if newer neighborhoods – hit hard by homes left in distressed states due to people walking away and subsequent vandalism – will qualify to expand the RDA tax base.

If they can be switched, then any future increase above the base year that property enters RDA status is split in a formula between Manteca Unified School District and the redevelopment agency which uses funds to encourage economic development and fight blight.

Fighting blight ranges from upgrading older parks such as Lincoln Park within agency boundaries to loaning funds to convert abandoned shuttered properties such as Spreckels Sugar into viable economic centers.

The redevelopment agency also plans on issuing requests for proposals for hotel development on 2.77 acres on the northwest corner of Airport Way and Daniels Street. It is just south of the site of the proposed three-story, 71-room Microtel Suites hotel that has been approved by the city.

The developer is in the process of securing financing through a United States Department of Agriculture program that helps fund rural hotels.
The RDA site is adjacent to the location of the future South County center for San Joaquin County.

Redevelopment’s imprint on Manteca’s economy is highly visible — Spreckels Park, Stadium Retail Center, Big League Dreams sports complex, Kelley Brothers Brewing Co. and the downtown streetscape improvements are among them.

But there are far more “little” examples ranging from the once-crime plagued Union Court Apartments that are now a safe haven for low-income families and other housing projects such as Almond Terrance for low-income seniors, businesses such as Mountain Valley Express and Manteca Veterinary Hospital that have benefited from low-cost construction loans, to hundreds upon hundreds of low income senior citizens homeowners who have benefited from outright grants to make health and safety improvements to their houses.

Due to massive shifts in how government is funded after passage of Proposition 13 in June 1978 and subsequent decisions by the California Legislature to siphon off local funding sources so they don’t have to curb spending at their level when the state budget goes into major deficits, the RDA is the only reliable source cities have to fund infrastructure needed to help local economies grow.

The success of Spreckels Park generated the tax increment needed to put infrastructure in place for the Stadium Retail Center as well as build the Big League Dreams complex and is paving the way for the lifestyle center.

Conservative estimates put the ultimate value of the lifestyle center project will be in excess of $250 million. That means $2.5 million more in property taxes will be generated with large chunk going to the RDA.

Critics say that the RDA robs property tax sources for the city. But that is no longer the case. The city only gets 12 percent of all property taxes collected from the basic assessment rolls due to decisions by the California Legislature. By comparison, almost 90 cents of every dollar of property tax paid into the RDA stays in Manteca.

Other activities and programs that the RDA is pursuing in 2010 includes:
•preparing a new five-year implementation plan.
•holding business retention meetings with individual companies in select industries.
•continuing to promote the new San Joaquin County Enterprise Zone and targeted Employment Area that offers substantial tax credits for creating new jobs.
•encouraging affordable housing projects in Manteca.
•continuing to promote first-time homebuyer down payment assistance program.
•continuing to promote the façade improvement maintenance program.
•redoing the city’s economic development website.
•preparing new marketing materials to attract business.