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RDA helps pay cost of some city staff
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Manteca Redevelopment Agency funds just don’t pay for brick and mortar projects such as streets to spur economic development, private sector endeavors designed to combat blight such as business facade improvements, or affordable housing projects.

They also pay for Manteca municipal personnel or outside specialists who implement efforts to fight blight and spur economic development.

Manteca charges off whatever work existing staff does that can legally be paid for with RDA funds all the way from hourly employees in public works to the city manager. That payment essentially reimburses the general fund for time based on hours and benefits that the particular individual devotes to RDA business during the course of a year.

RDA funds were also used to pay the entire tab of a second code enforcement officer who essentially is assigned to targeted areas within the RDA boundaries.

That is in addition to $2.2 million the RDA loaned the city to create a Development Services Fund to keep the Community Development Department staffed while the city is in the process of implementing growth and processing fees that reflect the actual costs or services provided to the private sector. Once the fees are in place and cash flow established the Community Development Department will essentially be self-sustaining based on fees. The RDA loan will eventually be paid back.

It was part of an effort that eliminated $11.3 million in costs last year to balance the general fund.

“You can only charge off work that is specific to economic development and blight fighting goals of the RDA,” noted Manteca City Manager Steve Pinkerton.

City staff in the past year re-examined all work done by municipal staff to make sure the maximum allowable under the law could be charged off to the RDA as well as whatever supplies and materials are used.

As a result the RDA budget this year had increases in several of the line items for material and supplies, professional services, and personnel services.

The largest sub-budget for Manteca RDA covers debt service, administration of facade and signage improvement programs as well as business development loans, reporting requirements, and any economic analysis internal and external of potential tax increment revenues and proposed economic development partnerships and projects.

Material and supplies dropped from $1.7 million to $1.5 million this year, professional services fell from $575,000 to $190,000 while personnel services shot up from zero to $100,790.

The materials and supplies from the housing set aside funded by RDA dropped from $2.7 million last year to $1.4 million this year while professional services jumped from $100,000 to $180,000.

The overall RDA budget is $76.8 million meaning Manteca’s general fund personnel charge offs are roughly one percent compared to other cities where it runs as high as 40 percent,

Oakland, for example, funds 17 of it police officers with RDA funds. Manteca has said they cannot legally justify such a move as it could not have officers work exclusively in one area of the city whereas Oakland can do it due to is size.