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Against possible Manteca, Great Wolf resort deal
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

As Manteca continues to negotiate with Great Wolf Resorts, let’s review some of the facts:

•The Great Wolf Resorts would charge over $300 a night for a room at the resort. First of all, who is going to pay over $300 a night to stay in a hotel? In Manteca?  I don’t care if they give me free tickets to a water park for my family. If I’m paying that much for a hotel, I’d better be on a beach in the Caribbean.

•The city and the Manteca Bulletin claim tax revenues brought in by Great Wolf Resorts would be $4-$5 million annually. If the hotel tax is 15%, and the rooms cost $300 for a 500-room resort booked every day at 100% capacity, the annual room tax revenue would be $8,212,500. That means, to bring in $4 million, conservatively, the city thinks the Great Wolf Resort can be at 50% capacity year-round. Really?  In our current financial crisis?

•Oh, and during the winter months or off-season, Great Wolf will offer locals a room at $109 a night. Such a deal because I know going to a water park in the winter time is the first thing on my list.

•Great Wolf Resorts is considering walking away from the loans for the last two resorts they built, one in Kansas and Michigan. They are attempting to modify those loans with their bank. And, we want to do a deal with them?

•Let’s talk about the 500 permanent jobs that are going to be brought to Manteca if we approve Great Wolf Resorts. I’ve stayed in hotels so I know what jobs are created. These are not permanent jobs. These are seasonal jobs with wages that you cannot raise a family on. Maids, room clerks, cooks, lifeguards, etc… If we’re going to lease this land at $1 a year, why not bring in jobs that you can provide for one’s family? Why are we in such a hurry to get this deal done?

•Why you ask? Governor Brown is trying to convince Sacramento lawmakers to eliminate RDA money and give this $5 billion in taxpayer money back to cities and schools. The city wants this deal done before that happens. Do we really need to spend taxpayer money to save the Sacramento Kings or bring in Great Wolf Resorts? Redevelopment agencies are a losing proposition. They generate 50 cents for every tax payer dollar we give them. Not only that, this is bare city land. Is that considered blight? The city and the Bulletin claim the Great Wolf hotel tax can save our emergency services. How about if we just get rid of RDA money and keep the tax money at the local level for our cities and schools? Approximately 10% of our property taxes now go to redevelopment agencies and away from schools, police and fire.

Ken Johnson
June 1, 2011