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No more structured deficits?
Manteca Police officers took a $4 million hit over the next four years to help put the city on firm financial grounds. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Manteca for the first time in more than a decade is on a course where day-to-day municipal operations will not exceed revenues in any given year.

It is the end result of salary negotiations that have been painful for workers but in the end - if projections hold - will avoid further cuts in city jobs and municipal services.

Two employee groups are still in the process of negotiating new four-year contracts.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted salaries and benefits account for about 80 percent of the general fund.

The goal of salary negotiations have been to eliminate a $4.2 million deficit that existed on July 1 for the current fiscal year as well as future anticipated or structured deficits for the next three fiscal years.

The four-year contract signed by the Manteca Police Officers Association, as an example, reflects savings of more than $4 million.

The police - just like other employee groups - will benefit if municipal revenues exceed projections in any of the next four years. When that happens, a certain percentage of each dollar is being set aside for employee compensation. Then each bargaining unit can decide whether they want whatever additional money is available to go to salary, benefits, or retirement.

In past years, the city has dipped into reserves and spent down discretionary funds such as the fees known as “bonus bucks” collected on new housing growth in exchange for sewer allocation certainty.

The first part of the last decade the city squirrelled away excessive revenues and essentially spent the last five years using them to prop up general fund services such a police, fire, public works, and parks.