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City says sales tax hike would go to streets and other uses
spring street
This is a deteriorating street in the Springtime Estates neighborhood.

Manteca’s 27 worst streets — along with deteriorating streets throughout 13 neighborhoods — need $38.6 million of work  as soon as possible.

The longer the work is put off the more pavement deteriorates that will make the streets even more expensive to bring up to acceptable standards.

Measure Z — the one cent sales tax hike proposed on the Nov. 3 ballot that will raise a projected $12 million a year — is seen as a way the city can generate money needed to whittle away at pressing street work among other needs.

The $38.6 million streets needs figure does not include preventative seal coats needed to protect the city’s 450 lane miles of streets that are currently in OK shape but will need seal coating or a layer of asphalt eventually to extend their lives.

Nor does it include the need for improvements to existing roads such as widening the Airport Way corridor.

Manteca has a general fund of $47 million that represents primarily property, sales and hotel tax receipts that aren’t restricted by law that helps pay for police, fire, parks, streets, and other city services. 

The general fund pays for day-to-day street maintenance that requires a city crew that is still roughly half of the pre-2010 budget cut staffing. City crews handle everything from patching potholes, striping streets,  repairing sidewalks to other street related maintenance work.

Street light and traffic signal maintenance — as well as related power costs — are also covered to a large degree with general fund revenues of which 62 percent is consumed by public safety expenditures for police and fire protection.
The city has been trying to concentrate what limited resources they have to prolong the life of streets. The seal coating of dozens of miles of residential streets every year that a number of people pan claiming it does nothing actually is effective. Asphalt Institute engineers note asphalt residential streets that receive only normal traffic can last 20 years or more before they need resurfacing or seal coating. Resurfacing can often double or triple the life of a street before it is necessary to repair it.

Prior to Senate Bill 1 — the gas tax hike — gas tax revenues sent to Manteca were just over $1.6 million a year.  Manteca received a $1.2 million bump the year after the gas tax hike passed but that increase is being reduced with each passing year and ultimately will disappear.

The city also received around $1 million in Measure K half cent sales tax makes up the source of funding for pavement maintenance.  

Only a portion of the state gas tax and countywide Measure K sales tax goes to pavement maintenance. The rest goes to major street repaving such as the money Manteca secured to pay for the bulk of repaving and other work on Yosemite Avenue from Main Street to Cottage Avenue and Main Street from Yosemite Avenue to Atherton Drive. Other funds from those two sources go to upgrade interchanges such as proposed improvements for the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange, adding new freeway lanes, funding mass transit projects such as the extension of ACE service, retrofitting bridges that sustain fatigue from use, and other transit-related endeavors.

Manteca also competes with other jurisdictions for limited state and federal funds that can be used to address major streets. That provided the bulk of the money for the Yosemite Avenue and Main Street work.


Four possible ways

to fund better streets

There are only four basic ways the city can generate more money for streets beyond trying their luck at securing grant competitions that is almost like relying on winning the lottery.

They are:
*Cannibalizing other parts of the general fund budget that goes to police and fire, parks and recreation, or general government.

*Pursue a communitywide Mello-Roos district.

*Raising the local sales tax or imposing a parcel tax.

*Requiring all new developments to have a community facilities district that lumps street maintenance include overlays and such in specific neighborhoods with park upkeep, landscape maintenance, and paying for street light energy use as well as their upkeep. That, however, doesn’t address existing street needs

A 2019 survey the city conducted to gauge support for a possible bond measure to pay for an $80 million community recreation complex anchored by a community gym and aquatics center showed little stomach to increase taxes for such a purpose. It did show, however, the public might be receptive to support new taxes if they were targeted specifically for additional police services and street work.

The city has said Measure Z would go toward streets, police and other services but opted not to restrict its use as they did with the Measure M half cent sales tax that could only be spent on frontline police and firefighting personnel and the equipment to do their jobs. Such restrictions would have required a two thirds approval.

Measure Z as a general sales tax only requires a simple majority to pass.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email