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Manteca population hits 72,880
City adds 7,804 residents in 7 years
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Manteca has added 7,804 residents since the start of 2007 that marked the first full year of the housing market collapse.

The latest state Department of Finance population estimates released this week put the city’s population at 72,880 on Jan. 1, 2014. There were 65,076 Manteca residents on Jan. 1, 2007. The subsequent growth of 7,804 residents is larger than the overall current population of Escalon that has 7,323 residents.

Manteca gained 1,372 residents during 2013. It is the second largest numerical gain in San Joaquin County behind Stockton for the sixth straight year. Stockton added 3,142 residents in 2013 to reach 300,899.

Manteca 15 years ago in 1999 had 48,027 residents.

“Continued growth helps Manteca to catch the attention of retailers and those interested in locating jobs in business parks,” noted City Manager Karen McLaughlin.

When McLaughlin started with the City of Manteca as an administrative assistant 27 years ago the city had 36,000 residents or almost exactly half its current population.

Manteca continues to set the pace in the Northern San Joaquin Valley for housing starts.

The 3.9 percent annual growth cap coupled with development agreements were credited to a large degree for Manteca continuing to have new housing starts in the depth of the housing collapse while other communities were lucky to have only a handful if any at all. Manteca averaged 270 to 320 a year during the Great Recession.

The Manteca’s City Council in 2010 gave up $36 million in bonus bucks — the bulk of which they were likely never to collect anyway.

It was part of a four-point strategy to improve the potential for new home construction and the jobs it would create.

At the time there were roughly 3,500 lots ranging from those finished and ready to build homes to projects that were entitled but hadn’t broken ground yet that were given a chance to skirt the requirement to pay pre-negotiated bonus bucks lifted for any home that is built and closes escrow by June 30, 2015. Bonus bucks is shorthand for cooperative sewer development agreement fees that were agreed to in exchange for residential sewer allocation certainty.

The bonus bucks typically ran about $12,000 per home but went as high as $17,500 if they also agreed to pay a $5,000 public safety fee to fund an endowment for more police officers and firefighters.

Virtually all of the 304 homes built in Manteca during 2009 paid the bonus bucks. Developers said they lost money in most cases as they were building and selling homes to retrieve upfront costs pushing $24,000 per lot that have stranded in the ground after making on and off-site improvements as well as land costs. That refers to the 957 finished lots that were ready to build on in 2010.

Developers characterized the period they were in simply as “money management” in a bid to stay in business adding that the dropping of the bonus bucks allowed them to be more competitive against foreclosures plus do so without losing money.

At the same time because they were able to get sewer allocation certainty for multiple years, they had secured financing to do larger chunk of lot development than developers would have done elsewhere. The fact they had the finished lots that represented $22.9 million spent that could only be recovered if building continued was credited with Manteca for six years in a row being able to build more homes combined than all other cities combined in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties. Banks, understanding the building of homes was the only way they would not have loans default for the infrastructure improvements, worked with builders to continue construction of new housing units.

Since bonus bucks were first collected in 1999, some $41.2 million has flowed into municipal coffers. It has helped cover $12.2 million in general fund deficits, establish an $8 million public safety endowment fund where the interest is now  paying for two police officers, and built a number of amenities ranging from soccer field lights at Woodward Park to part of the Union Road fire station.