A survey of Manteca voters indicated they don’t have much of an appetite to pay additional taxes to fund the construction of an $80 million community recreation complex that would include an aquatics center.
What the survey did show was that residents would be open to pay more taxes to hire additional police officers and/or to address street concerns.
The preliminary information from a city hired consultant doesn’t bode well for efforts to build a 72,000-square-foot community gym/recreation center, nine soccer fields, and aquatics center on a possible 38-acre site on the northern edge of the Big League Dreams sports complex.
Given that there hasn’t been an organized community-based push aimed at convincing people of the need and just consultant-driven community meetings the results of the survey aren’t surprising.
But what it may underscore is what Councilman Gary Singh, among others, has tried to do which is steer Mayor Ben Cantu from using his position to keep pushing the need for a major communitywide tax increase of some type and instead focus on specific areas of concerns.
While Cantu has mentioned perhaps a 2 to 5 general cent sales tax might be a possible way to go following in the footsteps of Lathrop’s general one cent sales tax, others on the council have approached the potential of possibly asking the voters to increase the current half cent sales tax specifically to pay for more police officers. Based on the current staffing levels from the special sales tax going from ½ percent to ¾ percent would allow the city to augment its current police force by 15 officers meaning there would be one officer for every 1,000 of Manteca’s 85,000 residents.
That said Singh has pointed out Manteca needs to stay the course as the city will see a strong improvement in the bottom line of its general fund to help pay for more municipal services and police officers.
Singh is referring to moves Manteca leaders have put in motion that by the end of 2021 are likely to boost general fund revenues by $2.6 million. That reflects the city’s nearly $2.1 million share of Great Wolf room taxes at the higher rate of 12 percent after the resort’s first full year of operation, at least $400,000 more in sales tax from Costco receipts given the obligation of the sales tax split that snagged the wholesale more than a decade ago will be fulfilled this year, and the first year sales tax share of $175,000 from the deal that secured the Living Spaces furniture store that is breaking ground in the coming months at Union Road at the 120 Bypass.
If the additional revenue besides other gains in property tax and sales tax occurred and the city set aside 62 percent of it toward public safety with all of it going to hire additional police officers they could add 10 officers to the force. That is in addition to revenue bumps that would allow the hiring of more police officers, firefighters, and other city workers over the next two years.
Let there be light
along Moffat Blvd.
For the first time in more than eight years, the street lights along Moffat Boulevard immediately south of the 120 Bypass are working — at least six of the nine that is.
Crews with the firm contracted by the city to maintain street lights and traffic signals were able to get the six lights working. The last three not yet working are closest to the overcrossing including the one directly between the two bridge structures carrying Bypass traffic that is near where a homeless woman walking on Moffat was struck and killed by a motorist after sunset last year.
The area under — and just south of — the overcrossing is used extensively by the homeless crossing to and from illegal encampments on both sides of Moffat that are pushed up against embankments of the 120 Bypass. The homeless also park their vehicles that do double duty as sleeping quarters in the extreme northwest corner of the Manteca Commerce Park parking lot.
Ironically it was likely the homeless that stripped copper wiring from the base of the street lights to sell at recycling centers for pennies on the dollar. Hopefully the wiring will be secured in concrete as the city has with all new street lighting to foil copper thieves.
The homeless aside, the developer of the business park was required to install the street lights while the city has been paying PG&E a flat monthly rate per light even though they weren’t operating for the past eight years given they are not on meters that would be cost prohibitive to install.
Besides, Manteca Police can tell you the worst place for speeding in the city is Moffat Boulevard.
Great Wolf Resort opens
as ‘summer’ comes to end
Originally Great Wolf was aiming to open their 500-room hotel and indoor water park in Manteca Memorial Day weekend.
That goal was made in a perfect world that didn’t include PG&E that played a big role in throwing off the construction schedule for the $180 million project.
The target is now to open Aug.1. That’s two days before classes resume for the Manteca Unified School District. While Great Wolf aims for a 100-mile plus target, other school districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley start at the same time or shortly after Manteca. As for the Bay Area and Sacramento, its back to school for most districts by the third week of August.
Given the nature of the resort it likely won’t be an issue but having a waterpark — even an indoor one — open at the start of the summer vacation season has to be the best option.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org