Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Along with their residents, City governments continue to face tough economic times in most parts of California, and this means that local government services are in jeopardy. City councils must make difficult decisions about which services get funded and which ones are curtailed. Making the right decisions impacts the lives of the people who live and visit here and fosters either a healthy and safe living environment or not.
City governments must live within their means and steps must be taken to control the costs of government and personnel, the latter which makes up the majority of a City’s General Fund budget. Local government leaders and leaders of organized labor can and will work together when they approach labor issues fairly and where both parties act in good faith. The City of Manteca has many fine and dedicated employees.
City officials must seriously examine consolidation of services and reorganization issues based on sound fiscal and service analysis to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective delivery of services possible to the people. Battles over political turf and ego must go away and get buried in a time vault to the extent that it exists.
City officials must also have vigorous economic growth strategies to encourage existing small and large businesses to prosper, encourage private-sector investment, and allow for new business development that is desired by the community. Vigorous economic growth creates jobs, keeps shoppers in town, and brings more revenue to the city to pay for essential services.
The job City officials face in determining priorities is made all the more difficult by a California State government that has no economic plan or strategy to encourage private-sector growth and investment. State government in California today is strongly linked to special interests but not the public interest, and it collectively has a philosophy of spend, spend, spend, and tax, tax, tax. The lack of leadership on economic matters in Sacramento is disgraceful and negatively impacts us all at the local level as the State continues to rob local government revenues to support its spending addiction.
The City Council must always keep in mind that their first duty is to protect residents, visitors and property within the City limits and keep us safe. City government must have adequate numbers of trained police, fire, and emergency medical personnel who will respond to emergency situations and take proactive steps to prevent crime and unsafe conditions. There must also be an adequate number of personnel to ensure officer safety and the safety of personnel at a fire and medical emergency scene.
The City Council must stay focused on doing what is most important, encourage economic growth, a diversified local economy, and protect the community. We all have a stake in the safety and success of our community, and we all should wish them well.
David M. Jinkens
June 24, 2012