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Manteca moves to protect $77M
Aim is to keep Sacramentos hands off local money
Without the redevelopment agency funds partnering with the private sector, Spreckels Sugar would have stood for years as a shuttered plant much like Holly Sugar in Tracy. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
Manteca is refusing to roll over and play dead for Sacramento when it comes to deterring the theft of local property taxes.

The City Council Tuesday night took steps to retain control of more than $77 million in Manteca Redevelopment Agency funds by formally contracting the agency with the city to help finance four interchange projects and the future extension of Daniels Street to McKinley Avenue as well as establishing a Manteca Housing Authority.

It was a preventive move reflecting that of at least 130 other cities during the past two days that is in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to dissolve redevelopment agencies and seize all funds that aren’t under contract. After that, the governor proposed taking away future revenue that he estimated at $1.7 billion annually from cities up and down the state and send it to Sacramento to be spent by the California Legislature. Brown wants to use the money to fund Medi-Cal and trial courts.

“I think it is incumbent upon us to take this action and protect our citizens,” Councilwoman Debby Moorhead noted.

The council unanimously agreed to add the late item regarding RDA to the agenda and then voted 5-0 again to adopt the measures needed to protect Manteca’s money.

The state since 1990 has “borrowed” more than $30 million from Manteca to balance past state budget deficits that it promised to pay back within several years but never has. It has forced similar “loans” that have never been repaid from cities up and down California.

The four interchanges and their price tags are Union Road at the 120 Bypass, $25 million; McKinley Avenue and the 120 Bypass, $29.5 million; Airport Way at the 120 Bypass, $32.5 million; and Main Street at the 120 Bypass, $32.5 million. The extension of Daniels Street from Costco to McKinley is estimated to cost $3 million. The extension accesses 130 acres of municipal land where the family entertainment zone and Great Wolf Resorts are proposed.

Outside of growth fees and Measure K funds, the RDA receipts are the only local funding sources for the interchanges. The state years ago stopped financing interchange work triggered by growth.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton said without RDA no local funding would be available to cover the $122.5 million price tag of the five projects.

The city had $60 million in previously non-contracted RDA funds on hand in a set aside account to help finance projects. Another $17 million was earmarked under the state mandate that 20 percent of all RDA property tax receipts must go to affordable housing.

Brown’s proposal to cannibalize redevelopment agencies to cover the state’s never-ending deficit would have sent the state mandated portion of affordable housing to the local housing authority. Manteca’s housing authority until Tuesday night had never been activated. Instead, the city contracted with the San Joaquin County Housing Authority.

Tuesday’s action means the property taxes collected in Manteca would go for housing projects in Manteca and not Stockton or other communities in the county.

“(We need) to protect people in our community,” Councilman Steve DeBrum noted.

Pinkerton pointed out there is nothing in the governor’s budget that affects state agencies or the workforce in Sacramento.