Steve DeBrum wants Manteca to have a larger municipal rainy day fund to guard against future economic downturns plus bring in new businesses and head-of-household jobs.
And he believes the best way he can help make that happen is if he gets elected mayor.
DeBrum, 66, officially announced his candidacy to replace Willie Weatherford as mayor. Weatherford, who will have served 12 years when his term ends in November 2014, has indicated he’s not seeking another turn.
And to make that clear, he’s endorsed DeBrum for mayor as have the rest of the current City Council members. DeBrum has also collected the endorsement of all five San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors members.
DeBrum’s 2014 mayoral campaign launch was attended by more than 150 people Wednesday evening at Chez Shari at the Manteca Golf Course clubhouse. He is the first candidate to declare.
“I believe I can make a difference and affect change,” DeBrum said as to why he’s running for a four-year term as mayor. “That’s not to say the direction we’re going in is (not the right one) but new ideas can help.”
DeBrum believes the council acting together during the past several years has accomplished a number of significant goals:
• The city general fund is balanced and well on the way to ending deficit spending where money saved from previous years is used to balance the current budget. The city by June 30 could get to the point current year income covers all expenses. In previous years, the gap between income and expenses has been as much as $3 million.
• Restoring the Manteca Police Department gang unit.
• Invested in public facilities while most other cities were retracting thanks to a fiscal strategy of building up funds in special accounts before spending them. Among the facilities built in the past two years were an animal shelter, transit station, fire station, vehicle maintenance facility, the Atherton Drive extension, and numerous water and sewer system upgrades.
DeBrum believes one of the key issues is striking a balance between protecting agriculture and accommodating the population explosion projected for the San Joaquin County over the next 22 years. The county population is expected to go from 700,000 to 1 million.
DeBrum said simply trying to stop growth isn’t the answer. Instead, he favors finding a way to couple Manteca’s growth cap with policies that assure there is no leapfrog development and pushing for smarter growth with possibly higher densities.