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Mantecas near starvation budgeting
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I would like to think that a deteriorating library was simply a result of broken promises. The truth is that the condition of Manteca’s library is due to a much larger and menacing problem that manifests itself in many other community issues as well. While the need for a new library or even a remake of the current library is very important, it represents the Council majority’s inability to properly fund for decades community amenities and infrastructure maintenance. You would think a 5-year capital improvement program would be sufficient time to gather funds for such things. History says, not!
Why is a 5-year capital improvement program (CIP) falling short of bringing to fruition long needed community amenities? Why is the community’s infrastructure not being properly maintained? I bet the Council majority doesn’t know why, and I can bet Administration may know but is uneasy to broach the subject. Unless our municipal leadership is willing to make a change and to manage Manteca as a proper “profitable” business, the revenue stream that funds a 5-year CIP will become a 10-year CIP in the foreseeable future. It is important to recognize that the productivity of the 5-year CIP has been dwindling for decades, and what started as a 3-year CIP is now stretched to a thin 5-year CIP.
I understand that municipal government is not a business, per se, and that municipal government is traditionally thought of as a public service non-profit entity. In Manteca, management operates on the premise of a zero balance at the end of the accounting year (Zero Based Budgeting). I call it, “Near Starvation Budgeting” that prioritizes community needs far into the future. The practice of zero based budgeting when tied to a near starvation CIP program and tied to a new development only leadership focus and tied to a budget system based on new home development, has resulted in a community that has been waiting 30 years for a new library and the streets are “repaired with a sheet of oil” instead of new pavement because the future financial pot-of-gold has yet to come.
Conditions will not improve until those members of the council (The Big 3) and financial management are replaced with folks that can see the “big picture” of public service.

Benjamin Cantu