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Council deciding Tuesday whether to place measure on Nov. 3 ballot that could raise $13 million annually

Manteca voters on Nov. 3 may be asked to increase the city sales tax by a penny.

The City Council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. during a Zoom gathering due to the pandemic will consider placing the tax measure on the ballot

City Manager Miranda Lutzow emphasized “the decision would be left up to the voters” as to whether they want to fund additional services and amenities.

The increase of a penny for every dollar in taxable sales would raise $13 million annually based on economic activity in Manteca for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010. It would represent almost a 30 percent increase in revenue for the general fund that is now at $46 million.

Based on community surveys, Lutzow said the language of the tax measure would be crafted to prohibit any of the new revenue generated by the extra penny tax to go toward the city’s pension obligations or to pay for the salaries of administrators that aren’t involved daily in the front line delivery of municipal services.

The additional funds could be used to accelerate street improvements, hire additional police officers or leverage borrowing to acquire major amenities such as recreation facilities and such. It would also provide money for the city to pursue state and federal grant opportunities that require matching funds.

Sales tax — as opposed to parcel taxes, utility taxes, or a communitywide Mello-Roos district – does not place a heavier burden on lower income households where a $100 a year parcel tax of a $3 a month utility tax is proportionately higher than for households with larger incomes.

Sales tax is also not collected on non-prepared food items, prescription medicine, and items purchased with food stamps among others.

One misnomer is that a higher sales tax would hurt auto sales within a jurisdiction. Since the early 1990s state law was changed to require sales tax on vehicle sales to be based on the tax rate in the community where a car is garaged. It was designed to stop cities from making deals to poach car dealerships from other jurisdictions. Now if you live in Manteca and if you buy a car in Modesto that has a 7.88 percent sales tax you have to pay the 8.25 percent sales tax Manteca charges.

If the council places a one cent sales tax increase on the ballot and it is passed by voters, Manteca’s sales tax would go to 9.25 percent as opposed to the current 8.25 percent. The current Manteca sales tax includes the ½ cent Measure M public safety tax and the ½ Measure K countywide transportation tax. All cities receive 1 cent under state law. The remaining 6.25 percent goes to the State of California.

Current city sales taxes in the region are Pleasanton and Livermore 9.25 percent, Stockton 9 percent, Lathrop 8.75 percent, Oakdale 8.375 percent, Manteca, Lodi and Tracy 8.25 percent, Modesto 7.88 percent, Turlock 7.875 percent, as well as Ripon and Escalon 7.75 percent

During the past 32 years there have been two tax increases in Manteca and one tax eliminated.

In 1989 the council at the time imposed a $2.35 per month tax on municipal utility bills in a bid to satisfy community demands to upgrade the storm drain system and increase the level of municipal services. Another council in 2001 rescinded the utility tax.

Voters in 2006 approved the ½ cent Measure M public safety tax. That tax has done more than what it promised as today it has allowed for the funding of 17 police officers and 15 firefighters that the city otherwise could not afford to have on the payroll. The ballot measure was presented with the promise to fund 15 police and 15 fire positions.

The city started exploring options to generate more revenue since Mayor Ben Cantu last year made a push to do so.

Cantu pointed out citizens for years have lamented the fact the city doesn’t have certain amenities, is unable to be more aggressive with street upgrades, and doesn’t have as robust services levels as some communities.

Cantu, who triggered a storm of criticism, emphasized the council lacked the ability to impose any tax under current state law without a majority of the voters agreeing to do so.   The mayor said that his aim was to give voters the choice to decide whether they were willing to tax themselves to pay for the things they keep saying they want Manteca to offer in terms of amenities and services.

Sales tax elections can only take place at regular general elections. The next opportunity would be this November.

After that the next window is 2022.

A sales tax would go into effect roughly three or so months after it is approved. Then it would take close to a year for the city to receive any revenue from it.


 Public comments for

Tuesday’s council meeting

Public comments for the Manteca council meeting taking place on Tuesday must be submitted by no later than 4 p.m. that day. Public comment will be limited to 250 words and every effort will be made by staff to read these comments into the record. Comments that exceed 250 words will not be read into the record and will be made a part of the official record on file with the City Clerk. Comments received after the 4 p.m. deadline will not be read into the record and will be made a part of the official record on file with the City Clerk if received prior to the end of the meeting.

Public Comment may be submitted by  or they can be hand delivered to the Office of the City Clerk, 1001 W. Center St., Ste. B, Manteca.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email