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Manteca needs a moratorium on building
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The Manteca City Council has continuously stated we need low-cost homes. I am in disagreement with this proposed need. It is my contention that people need a moratorium on building more homes until people regain what they paid for their homes. The addition of new homes compounds this problem of regaining the cost of our homes. I personally think people shouldn’t be upside down by an average of $100,000 on what they originally paid. I don’t see the need for building homes while we are in a drought.

If the city moves into building more houses, then they should have a plan in place. Ted Turner, former husband of Jane Fonda of movie star fame, did this to establish low-cost dwellings in his jurisdiction. He stated that a percentage of all homes in his jurisdiction would have to include low-cost housing. The developers balked. The developers eventually gave in to this plan. I embrace such a plan. In saying this, I think these should be separated from higher priced homes. This would totally solve the housing problem without the council having to do anything but issue permits.

We really don’t have a need for more homes in Manteca. What I am saying is we have an advantage in negotiating this kind of deal because we don’t have an immediate need for more homes. The fact that developers have to stay busy to make money puts the city in the drivers’ seat. We don’t need to indulge in incentives using redevelopment agency funds in the future. We simply tell developers in the future if you want to develop homes in Manteca then you have to play by our rules for a change. If they don’t move on this, then show them the door. The fact is, with our present state of the economy and bridging a current deficit we can ill afford to offer developers incentives any more. To my way of thinking developers have received enough of our vital taxes. It seems logical to me that the council shouldn’t extend any more free lunches to developers.

We should not extend the fee deferment program to developers either, that would make us wait until the homes sold. It is obvious that we need our money up front. We shouldn’t be the ones who wait on the sales of homes for our much needed fees. What I am going to reference to is not a slam on the council. But fee deferments just isn’t the thing we should engage in, when we still have $1 million to go, to bridge the deficit. The most important thing for this city and the council is to get us out of the red and to do that, you have to cut spending and feed the general fund. I don’t say I have all the answers to our needs, but some feed-back is better than none. I am trying to enter into a mode of helping.

I think the bottom line is to show mutual respect for each other. Whether I have been right on certain issues or wrong, it has to be considered as water under the bridge. You can’t repair the past, you just forget it and move on and try harder to avoid repeating our mistakes. That’s basic life in the fast pace and difficult conditions we currently live in.

Fleener Richards
Jan. 4, 2010

Editor’s note: The fee deferments the city is considering are for specific and restricted costs associated with accommodating growth and the impacts that project makes and can’t be used for the general fund under state law.