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Manteca city runs on less per capita than nearby cities

Cities run on money.

And, as Councilman Charlie Halford points out, Manteca is getting what it pays for.

Halford notes that people often bend his ear about Manteca not having what other cities nearby have in terms of amenities and facilities.

His response: Residents in other cities pay the price for what they get.

The councilman points to numbers to make his case.

The numbers are what cities spend per capita from general funds to underwrite day-to-day services such as police and fire protection, roads, parks, and such.

There were compiled using general fund data from the last complete fiscal year available for all the cities, 2021-2022

Manteca spends $524.66 per capita.

That is at least $107.77 per resident less than nearby cities.

The numbers for other cities are:

*$632.43 for Ripon.

*$761.06 for Lodi.

*$762.73 for Lathrop.

*$795.70 for Patterson.

*$1,040.73 for Tracy.

*$1,231.74 for Dublin.

*$1,267.48 for Livermore.

*$1,522.33 for Pleasanton.

Halford, and the rest of the City Council, will soon weigh a proposal to place as much as a 1 percent sales tax increase on the Nov. 5 ballot for voter consideration.

Tracy, with a plethora of Amazon fulfillment centers, scores big in sales taxes.

That’s because sales tax are collected in the city where orders are filled.

And unless your order is shipped from the Manteca fulfillment center on Airport Way or the Manteca Amazon Prime center on Louise Avenue, what you order from the online retailer likely comes out of their three much larger fulfillment centers in Tracy. That means Tracy gets the sales tax you pay and not Manteca.

Amazon also has fulfillment centers in Patterson, Stockton, and Patterson.

The nuances of online sales tax collection rules aside, Halford said the bottom line is Manteca lacks the revenue needed to do many of the things the community needs or wants ranging from stepped up road maintenance to a new police station to funding another fire engine company 24/7 that would require nine additional firefighters.

“I wasn’t in favor of the sales tax increase in 2020,” Halford said. “I am now.”

Four years ago the city was in the middle of going through its sixth city manager in seven years.

The financial department was in disarray.

It wasn’t clear how much money the city had due to redundant bookkeeping entries.

The city has since gotten its financial accounting in order.

They are now working with verified audited numbers when it comes to revenue and expenditures.

And those financial figures show Manteca is spending within its means with little else leftover for a long list of needs.

Those needs are $80 million plus in general fund capital expenditures that have repeatedly been identified when budgets have been put together over the past few years but then not funded due to insufficient income.

The city also has not funded more than 40 general fund positions that department head managers have identified are needed for service levels to keep pace with growth.

The city is in the process of polling community members to get a better handle on their expectations for municipal services and amenities.

The polling data will help the council determine whether a one percent sales tax that could generate between $16 million and $20 million annually will be requested of if it would be a lesser amount such as a half percent.

The council needs to make a decision whether to proceed for sure with a tax measure — and the size of the ask — on the Nov. 5 ballot by mid-August.

Under California law, the city would not be able to conduct a sales tax election until 2026. That’s because such asks must be on general election ballots whether it is the primary connected with the general election or the general election itself.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email