By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
State ready to taketh away
Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop among big losers Tuesday
Placeholder Image
The City of Manteca’s budget deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 may have swelled by at least $1.2 million at the stroke of 8 o’clock on election night.

That’s based on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s promise to take $2 billion from local government in the form of property taxes if Proposition 1A failed to try and bridge a state deficit that is now expected to hit $23.1 billion after Tuesday’s elections.

 The headache Manteca’s City Council faces is nothing compared to the Manteca Unified School District Board. The failure of the first five budget propositions means additional cuts between $5 million and $23 million will have to be made.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton noted at a budget workshop the looming “borrowing” from the state could go much higher than $1.2 million depending upon how the pain is distributed in San Joaquin County.

Back in December, the city was staring down a potential $11.3 million deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 based on spending and revenue trends. The city examined all operations and came up with ways to reduce that deficit to $2.5 million. Most of the savings were through leaving 44 positions – or 15 percent of the municipal work force – vacant after retirements or people leaving for other reasons.

The next steps the council may have to take based on discussions at Thursday’s budget workshop include:

•adopting a formal budget in September or October instead of July 1 as sales tax and property tax information is not yet in. Those two revenue source account for 50 percent of the general fund budget.

•adopting a continuing resolution to allow the city to keep paying its bills after July 1 without a budget.

•declaring a fiscal emergency.

•possible inter-fund borrowing to be repaid with interest in a bid to minimize reductions in service levels.

•possibly trying to reopen or add side letters to memorandums of understanding with employee groups regarding raises and other employment costs.

•taking over landscape maintenance districts.

•establishing a special revenue fund for development services to assure those paying fees they are not being overcharged.

•implementation of a matrix fee study to recoup money the city is legally entitled to receive for providing services.

•continuing to have all departments evaluate budget requests for even more reductions.

Voter turnout Tuesday set a new record low for a statewide election with only 19 percent of the electorate bothering to cast ballots.