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City Council candidates want pavers given consideration
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It’s a rough road for Jose Nuno when he leaves his neighborhood.

That’s because he often uses Airport Way and Lathrop Road — arguably the two most notorious major streets in Manteca when it comes to potholes and crumbling pavement.

 It’s why he is in favor of the city doing a cost analysis to determine whether street pavers may make better sense for the city to use in the long run in certain areas.

“They could possibly be better (than asphalt),” Nuno said.

He pointed to the City of Waterford as example of a downtown area that “has beautiful streets” thanks to pavers. He added that besides reducing long range maintenance costs that they are also permeable meaning they can reduce storm run-off and help recharge critical groundwater instead of rainfall simply all going into storm drains and dumped into the Delta.

The question was one of a number that council hopefuls David Breitenbucher, Mike Morowit and Nuno responded to during Tuesday’s League of Women Voters of San Joaquin County/Manteca Bulletin candidates. forum conducted at the Manteca Transit Center. Candidate Chris Silva did not attend. Voters will elect two council members to four-year terms on Nov. 6.

Breitenbucher agreed that pavers could make sense on some streets but did not favor them for main thoroughfares that have higher traffic speeds. Pavers had a tendency to slow down traffic and aren’t advised for high speed roads.

Breitenbucher stressed whatever the city does it needs to be done right. He pointed to crosswalk pavers in downtown that were put in place in the late 1980s and had to be taken out due to heels getting caught in gaps tripping pedestrians as well as pavers popping up. The crosswalk pavers now in place were put in 13 years ago and have not developed issues.

“We need to do things right the first time,” Breitenbucher said.

Morowit noted the city has recently completed a number of street resurfacing projects including Center Street. He added work will start in the coming weeks on a major $2.4 million upgrade of pavement on Main Street between Yosemite Avenue and Atherton Drive.

Morowit stressed street work costs money.

“The extra 12 cents everybody dreads paying (at the pump in gas tax) is what is funding our road work,” Morowit noted.

Breitenbucher believes the city needs to take a serious look at library services noting the library that was built in 1962 and was last expanded in 1977 is now serving a community of 81,470 or roughly triple the population 41 years ago.

Nuno noted he used the library extensively in 2006 when he was going to graduate school.”

“Not much has really changed since then,” Nuno observed.

Morowit also agreed space needs to be addressed.

“Libraries of yesteryear were full of books,” Morowit said, noting computers have changed the dynamics and the space needs.

 Morowit said the city should purse “spaces convenient for people to go to” in the form of satellite libraries and not necessarily investing in making the existing library bigger.

All three favored looking at an existing building and repurposing it such as was done with the former Bruener’s furniture store in Salida and the former Schemper’s Hardware store in Ripon. They indicated converting existing buildings can be more cost efficient.

Morowit, who was on the council committee that negotiated the Great Wolf deal that shares room tax for a 25-year period, said he is in favor of such deals if they provide significant revenue to the city.

“I believe they should be short term deals,” Morowit said of any possible future undertakings. After 10 years, the split with Great Wolf is reduced and then ends after the 25th year. The Great Wolf deal — in conjunction with passage of Measure J on Nov. 6 to increase the hotel room tax to 12 percent — would make Manteca’s share of room taxes $2.8 million after the first full-year of operation. That is by far the most robust of all revenue deals that involve Costco, Bass Pro Shops, and Living Spaces Furniture that is being built at Union Road and the 120 Bypass.

Nuno stressed that such deals must result in a “strong economic catalyst” to generate more revenue to run city services.

“I like short term,” Breitenbucher said of such deals.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email