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Divisions would consolidate on West Yosemite
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The city’s vehicle maintenance facility, shown in the photo, along with the animal facility will be the only municipal operation remaining on Wetmore street after most public works functions are consolidated on land north of the wastewater treatment plant.

Manteca’s water department operates out of several different locations including a facility on Oak Street and space behind the Powers Avenue fire station.

Building maintenance is located in an old fire station on Center Street. Solid waste and the streets divisions are in separate facilities across the street from each other on Wetmore Street.

Altogether there are 148 employees in the City of Manteca Public Works Department working in seven divisions that are each located in different locations throughout the city.

The Manteca City Council may take the first step toward changing that when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center to consider approving an agreement with WMB Architects for $987,570 to design a central public works building as well as shop structure for the water division on land on the northern edge of the wastewater treatment plant facility off of West Yosemite Avenue.

George Montross, Public Works Deputy Director for Utility Services, noted in a memo to the council “consolidation will increase efficiency, communication, staff coverage, and reduce duplication of equipment and space utilization. In addition to providing a new facility that will accommodate future growth of the department, the existing facilities will be available for other uses.”

Funding for the project includes $1.6 million from water maintenance and operations and $100,000 from sewer maintenance and operations.

Manteca’s current project that’s underway to convert food waste to fuel at the wastewater treatment plant for the purpose of ultimately powering the solid waste division with compressed biogas is triggering the need to move forward with the proposal that has been envisioned for years.

That’s because slow fills are needed to maximize the PSI (pounds per square inch) of compressed biogas needed to power heavy trucks. The solid waste fleet would have their tanks filled overnight.

Once the public works building is completed at the treatment plant it will leave the vehicle maintenance building constructed for $4.5 million in 2012 and the animal shelter built for $2.1 million on Wetmore Street along Main Street.

There is no plan to move either facility. The animal shelter is one of the most high profile in the Northern San Joaquin Valley as it is on a heavily traveled main corridor near downtown in a central location adding to the ability of the city to engage the community. The vehicles that tend to be in the maintenance garage the most are police, fire and transit buses making the location more central.

The city has never discussed what would become of the older public works buildings along Wetmore Street.

Given its location just across the tracks from downtown and the Manteca Transit Center that is targeted to have ACE passenger service by 2023 and being adjacent to the Manteca Industrial Park there are endless possibilities.

An as example, it could possibly work as a location for a fire training facility that the council has discussed.

It is doubtful that the existing solid waste office, street division building and the old vehicle maintenance building would have a use in their existing forms.

The city acquired the old vehicle maintenance building from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District that had used it before World War II as a maintenance building. Prior to that, the metal building is believed to have been used as a horse barn.

The 57-year-old abandoned 300,000-gallon water tower hasn’t been used to pressurize the water system since 2006 when a seismic study determined it was structurally sound enough to withstand a major earthquake if it is used as a water tower. There was a $2.1 million price tag in 2006 to rehab it as a water tower.

The city in 2013 proposed to eventually demolish the water tower. That move was vehemently opposed by Ben Cantu who publically pushed for making it a historical landmark.  The effort didn’t gain any traction. Cantu is now mayor.

City buys land where

animal shelter sits

The council last month tied up a lose end regarding city operations along Wetmore Street by authorizing spending $725,000 to execute a purchase option on 1.33 acres they entered into a 30-year lease so they could build the animal shelter at Wetmore and Main streets. They also set aside $75,000 for closing costs.

The city had been paying $70,000 a year to lease the land and had spent $560,000 for that purpose since them. Had the lease continued to its 30-year length the city would have spent another $1.54 million and then would either have to buy the land or enter into a new lease for the shelter.

The move, instigated by City Manager Tim Ogden who told the council last month he did not like the idea of expensive city facilities sitting on land the city did not own, will avoid at least $700,000 in costs.

The city originally entered into the lease with an option to buy due to financial concerns during the recession when the animal shelter was built.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email