Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The recent “No More Structured Deficits” news article was of particular interest, since I have waited with bated breath to read finally that Manteca is back on course where day-to-day municipal operations will not exceed revenues in any given year.
Unfortunately, reaching that milestone is not as meaningful as it implies, for that was the same news headline during previous recessions - a decade ago and in the early 1990s, the early 1980s, and the mid-1970s. Clearly, the problem is not bringing expenditures into line with revenue, because, as our city council has once again executed, the process is simply accomplished by reducing service levels, cutting services to the community, and laying people off.
Frankly, I am not optimistic that the City Council and Administration can avoid bringing the fiscal condition of the community to the brink once again in eight to ten years. History has proven that they will eventually return to the same old pattern of governance and fiscal management that has failed to stabilize the financial, cultural, maintenance, services, and safety needs of the community; let alone, achieve desired service levels. Manteca’s history is littered with half-baked, shortsighted, and outdated attempts that were scrimped financially together to respond to community needs, while municipal revenues and resources are routinely leveraged to the benefit of new development. A stable fiscal environment that achieves and maintains desired service levels is possible only when there is a political will to focus on the needs of the community first and the city council takes control of this community’s quality of life standard.
An economic downturn or recession is not the response to the question of, “Why in five decades has Manteca not been able to adequately meet the service needs of the community?”
Nov. 14, 2011