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Ripon, Manteca property value up
Snap 3-year downward trend; rest of county still dropping

The nose dive in aggregate property value in Manteca and Ripon appears to have ended.

The two cities were the big winners even if by hairline gains in the 2012-13 property tax roll released Thursday by San Joaquin County Assessor Kenneth Blakemore. Ripon’s overall property value was up 0.06 percent on Jan. 1, 2012 as compared to a year earlier while Manteca’s was up 0.01 percent.

Other San Joaquin County cities - including Lathrop - were not as fortunate. Lathrop registered its fourth straight  year for drops in property value as the tax base tumbled another 2.3 percent.

Good news for Manteca and Ripon municipal governments won’t necessarily make property owners in the two jurisdictions happy. Some who have seen property assessment declines since 2008 may see slight upticks in their property tax bills due to value starting to rebound.

For Manteca, the gain from the current year property tax receipts of $8,852,000 is miniscule. Based on the figures released by Blackmore’s office the city could see an increase in actual property tax receipts of $8,852.

But dollar wise in terms of how the budget has been framed for the fiscal year that started July 1 it means Manteca will have up to $400,000 more in revenue than it had projected. That’s because several months ago when Manteca started its budgeting process, the assessor’s office told municipal leaders to brace for a possible 4 percent drop in property tax values. The city went ahead and built the budget that will be up for formal adoption on Tuesday by the City Council with reduced property tax revenues pegged at $8,423,880. Now with the slight gain that means receipts will be slightly higher than this year’s anticipated $8,852,000 in property tax revenue.

It would provide Manteca with a much needed cushion on the revenue side of the stressed general fund that pays for day-to-day government operations such as police, fire, parks, streets, and general government. It also ends a three-year decline in Manteca property tax revenue from a peak of $11 million in 2009. Property tax receipts this year slipped below 2006 levels.

The upward bounce in Ripon is attributed almost 100 percent to rebounding resale prices since new home building has virtually dried up.

That’s not the case in Manteca where roughly 300 new homes were completed and purchased in time to be assessed as of Jan. 1, 2012. That new property value coupled with the strengthening resale market helped push Manteca’s property tax year-to-year numbers back into positive territory.

Manteca for four straight years has led the Northern San Joaquin Valley in housing starts to help offset some of the loses due to prices dropping from foreclosed home sales. In 2008 and 2009 Manteca built more new housing units than all jurisdictions in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties combined. Without new housing sales continuing fairly strong in Manteca the property tax declines starting with 14.74 percent in 2009, 1.50 percent in 2010, and 3.77 percent in 2011 would have been even deeper in Manteca.

Property and sales taxes are the two biggest revenue sources for the city. In the proposed budget they account for a combined $17,122,600 in general fund revenue or just slightly more than the $17,108,790 the city expects to spend on public safety in the fiscal year that started July 1. Property and sales tax account for roughly 65.5 percent of all money the city collects for day-to-day government operations and public safety.

Sales tax receipts are budgeted to increase 4 percent to $8,698,870 in 2013. It is the third straight year of increasing sales tax for Manteca.

The assessed value of property in Manteca has now been placed at $4.5 billion Countywide, the assessed value is at $50.9 billion for a 0.32 percent decline from last year.