Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Reading between the lines of “Smart Growth” and “Greenfield Development”, I was surprised that new housing development is paying its way, as implied in the letter submitted by Mr. Beckman, CEO of the Building Industry Association of the Delta.
After decades, it seems that new housing is now paying for the municipal services and resources that they require and for their impact upon the existing infrastructure of the community. Unfortunately, this is all a misnomer, because the underlying relationship between new housing development, the imbalance of the municipal fiscal revenues and budget, and the inability of the city to stay ahead of the declining condition of the community’s infrastructure, has not changed. There is an unprofessed explanation--new housing does not pay its way (never has) and never will under the current well entrenched exactions formula and political priorities, whether pre or post Prop 13. The growing municipal fiscal deficit is not likely to change until City Hall acknowledges a basic principle — if new development does not pay its way or for the long-term impacts to the existing community, a fiscally balanced revenue to services stream (the budget) is not likely to occur and the existing residents will continue to pay for the deficits.
While there are varying opinions regarding the benefits or not of “Smart Growth”, it is evident from decades of running deficits that “sprawl, automobile-oriented development” is costly, while compact, pedestrian-oriented growth is more cost effective. In support of sprawl, Mr. Beckman notes, installing a water line, sewer line or storm water drainage into an already built environment can be very difficult. This really means it is less expensive to develop in an already built environment.
Manteca is a non-profit, service corporation and is entitled to recover the cost of services; as such, given the growing fiscal deficit, the $60,000 fees charged per new house seems low.
Resident and Businessman