The demise of the redevelopment agency as part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s solution to plug years of overspending by Sacramento deprived local governments such as Manteca of a viable tool to spur economic development.
The state seized whatever annual tax money is generated after bond repayments are made and “residual payments” — the tax rate share local jurisdictions get from property taxes — that are passed on to the school district and the city. When bonds are paid off the money collected from local property taxpayers to cover the tab will go directly to the state as well.
Manteca’s elected leaders — not wanting to lose their ability to help push for economic growth — opted to take the city’s general fund share of the RDA residual payments and set it aside in an economic revitalization fund.
By June 30, the fund is expected to have $2.4 million. It grows by about $900,000 a year.
The proposed creation of what could end up being a downtown masterplan would be funded from the reserve account.
The Manteca City Council is expected to decide whether to spend $102,950 at an April meeting to hire the consulting firm of Opticos Design to do a downtown assessment. It is the first in a series of phases that could ultimately cost $700,000 to put in place.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin believes that in order to get a plan in place that will succeed, “it is imperative to first understand the current environment, uses and opportunities that exist in the downtown area.”
That will require reviewing the current downtown footprint, assessment of previous efforts for improvement, public outreach with key stakeholders, and an accurate understanding of the current market.”
The goal is to possibly use the initial assessment to develop a strategy forward creating a Downtown Specific Plan including an assessment of the city’s own codes and their impact on either encouraging or impeding successful development of downtown. An actual specific plan might be developed after the assessment is made and presented to the council.
The most successful of the subsequent downtown plans was part the Vision 2020 plan put together in 1998 for the entire community. The document was crafted to lay out what the community wanted to have in place by the year 2020 in terms of economic growth, jobs, housing inventory, roads, amenities such as a library and performing arts center, and a revitalized downtown.