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One free rental a year of community room for non-profits?
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It’s a free offer worth up to $1,100 for Manteca-based non-profits to “rent” the state-of-the-art transit center community room once a year.

But in order to use it, non-profits will have to act fast.

The Manteca City Council will consider a rental policy for the 3,000-square-foot community room when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Part of the proposed rental policy allows Manteca non-profits to “rent” the community room once a year at no charge except for a $25 per hour facility usage fee to cover city costs. That is in addition to $150 if they want chairs and tables set up and $100 to rent the kitchen.

There’s only one catch: Once the policy is approved non-profits and government agencies will have 45 days to book their free use of the community room for the next 12 months. At the conclusion of 45 days, the community room rental will be open to anyone.

The policy also calls for local residents to get priority over those who live outside the city limits when it comes to securing hall use. The same is true of non-profits that are based in Manteca as opposed to outside the city.

City sponsored programs will be allowed to book the facility 18 months in advance, government sponsored events benefiting Manteca residents as well as non-profit organizations can reserve rooms a year in advance, and private users can’t reserve the rooms for more than nine months in advance.

The recommendations were made by a citizens committee appointed to review the proposed city rental rates after Manteca for-profit and non-profit hall owners complained the city was undercutting them.

Non-profits and local residents under the new proposal would be able to rent the community room on weekends and holidays for $1,100 or $100 more than originally was proposed. Friday evening rate for non-profits and city residents is proposed for $350. That’s $50 more than originally suggested. Non-residents would be charged $1,200 on weekends and holidays and $750 for Friday evenings. Government organizations would be subject to a $25 per hour charge either on Friday evenings or weekends and holidays.

The proposal also calls for separate rates for weekday daily and weekday evening uses. Non-profits can rent the small community room on weekdays for $15 an hour or $50 an hour on weekday evenings. There is a minimum rental for weekdays but for weekday evenings the non-profits must rent the facility for at least two hours. There are also government, resident private use, and non-resident private use rate classifications for the small room, large room or both.

The community room has capacity for 452 people seated without tables with that space being able to break down into two smaller rooms — one handling 318 and the other 134. The overall number of people that could be accommodated for dining ranges from 200 to 250.

The community room complete with available kitchen was identified early on in the transit center process by the council as being a critical component of the facility. That was due to what the city perceived as a shortage of rental hall space in Manteca plus the need to create a downtown focal point.