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New homes = $2.6M in bonus bucks
Teri and Chuck Palmer stand with Toni Raymus of Raymus Homes during Saturdays dedication of a park in the honor of their fallen son Marine Cpl. Charles O. Palmer. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Bonus bucks are back.

Oleander Estates — a 532-home neighborhood being developed jointly by Raymus Homes and D.R. Horton — will pay $2,657,211 in bonus bucks in exchange for sewer allocation certainty. The subdivision is being built south of Woodward Avenue between Union Road and Airport Way.

The Manteca City Council placed the unrestricted development fee in abeyance in 2010 until mid-year 2015 for projects that had 972 build-able lots in place when the housing market crashed. The move was made to allow home building with much narrower margins due to prices dropping significantly because of a flood of foreclosed homes.

The city essentially gave up $8 million in bonus bucks. In exchange the city:

uenabled a number of construction workers to keep jobs as Manteca for four straight years built around 300 housing units a year which was more than the combined total of all other jurisdictions within the three-county Northern San Joaquin Valley.

uhelped prevent massive foreclosures on residential development property such as what happened at Oakwood Shores where the Manteca Waterslides once stood. Builders for at least three years were selling homes for less than what it cost to build them so they could extract in the sale of each home built an average $42,000 invested in the ground creating build-able lots covering everything from infrastructure to the price of the land.

uwas able to add 972 more homes that had families that paid property and sales tax to support general fund operations plus fees for services such as water, sewer, and garbage. Since the areas were essentially either contiguous to or surrounded by developed neighborhoods the city was able to add 3,000 residents without additional staff as they fit into existing police beats, fire station coverage, and garbage truck routes. Actually, the city was able to serve the new neighborhoods with less staff than they had before 2008 thanks in part to efficiencies and service level changes the city put in place. The additional revenue meant there were fees and taxes flowing into city coffers to avoid further staffing reductions.

ucreated new business for retailers and service firms as 3,000 residents were added while the economy retracted. Most neighboring cities, including Stockton and Modesto, added significantly less potential consumers for their local businesses during the height of the Great Recession.

The bonus bucks paid when permits are taken out for new homes will cover the$1 million construction tab for the Moffat Community Center on the southeast corner of Moffat Boulevard and Industrial Park Drive/Spreckels Avenue that is targeted for completion by Nov. 1. The center will primarily serve as the new home for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Jimmie Connors Post.

Bonus bucks over the years paid for the soccer lights at Woodward Park, Northgate Park soccer lighting, the skate park, traffic signals at the Tidewater Bike Path crossing at Louise Avenue and Lathrop Road, part of the cost of the Union Road fire station, and smaller endeavors.

The biggest use was $12.2 million that was used over 10 years to plug budget shortfalls. Without the bonus bucks, the city would have been forced to cut even deeper into municipal staffing during the recession.

An amendment to the Oleander Estates development agreement is before the Manteca Planning Commission when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Raymus Homes has sold 199 lots to D.R. Horton Homes. The amendment makes the national home builders responsible for paying $5,000 per home or $995,000 in bonus bucks.

Raymus Homes has already paid $685,135 of the $1,660,000 they have agreed to pay for bonus bucks on the remaining 332 lots.

On Saturday, Raymus Homes broke ground on the neighborhood park in Oleander Estates named in honor of Charles O. Palmer II. Palmer was the first Mantecan to die in the Global War on Terror.