Editor's Note: This is a part of a series of stories on how mayor and council hopefuls would address various municipal issues
Carlon Perry contends it is unfair to collect redevelopment taxes from existing businesses to help bring competitors to Manteca.
Perry is referring to direct redevelopment agency (RDA) loans at lower than prevailing rates or “in kind deals” where loans are forgiven if the business generates a specific amount of sales tax within a given time. He fought such deals that benefitted two new car dealers when he was previously on the council when two of the other four new car dealers in Manteca at the time were paying RDA taxes but did not receive any direct benefit.
Perry labeled such loans and assistance to developers with infrastructure as “corporate welfare.”
Existing businesses see it as a case of the RDA “using my money to compete against me,” Perry said.
Perry is among the four candidates seeking election to the mayor’s post on Tuesday. He is running against incumbent Willie Weatherford, council member Debby Moorhead, and retired municipal senior planner Ben Cantu.
The former publisher of the Lathrop Manteca Sun Post noted that RDA exists to develop jobs, fight blight, and provide 20 percent of RDA tax increment to develop affordable housing as required under state law.
He believes RDA can be used more effectively.
“We can be creative and find ways to legally do things with RDA (that will help the city),” Perry said, noting that whatever ideas are implemented must still meet legal requirements for use of the money.
Among his suggestions is trying to find ways that RDA could be used to fund police officers and still meet the requirement that they benefit primarily those properties paying into RDA. Manteca this past year, as an example, hired a second code enforcement officer using RDA funds.
As it stands now, he views the Manteca RDA as primarily a “cash cow for developers” and would like to see the money directed toward other needs.
He said the city needs to find more effective uses for RDA funds.