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Manteca may ask downtown stores to pay for parking
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The days of “free” parking in downtown Manteca may be numbered.

The loss of redevelopment agency funds now means the city has to come up with $10,000 a year in lease payments for private property in the downtown area that provides 186 off-street parking spaces.

The idea of having downtown merchants who benefit from the parking cover the tab was floated by Manteca City Council members during a mid-year budget review last week.

Manteca also has to find a way to cover the cost of slurry coats every five years to maintain the integrity of the parking lots they lease.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin indicated it makes sense for the city to find a way to cover the lease payments or else they’d lose access to the investment they made to upgrade the parcels into parking lots when they first entered into leases.

The goal is to avoid having to tap the general fund to pay for the downtown parking leases. The general fund covers day-to-day municipal expenses such as police and fire protection, parks and streets. The general fund has been under stress due to a drop in revenue that forced Manteca to reduce positions as well as to impose compensation reductions in excess of 20 percent for remaining city employees.

The Manteca City Council last month approved shifting $100,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds from storm drainage improvements to pay for parking lot work. The storm system improvements cost less than expected.

Lots that are owned or leased by the city will be rehabilitated and re-striped. There are a number of potholes in the lots.