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Why Manteca lacks money
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
It seems City Hall does not have enough money to repair streets or a new library or to complete Atherton Drive, but the Council is considering deferring development fees for apartment projects. The situation would be funny if it weren’t a regular and normal occurrence in Manteca.
As a good jester (the hook) to promote affordable rents, development fees would be deferred for a couple of apartment projects. The developers have requested the city defer fees so they can build apartments affordable to the segment of the community in need. But the truth is the apartments will be “at market” rents which are nowhere near the affordable range of affordable housing.
As for reducing the traffic volumes on Woodward Avenue by the completion of Atherton Drive, it seems the City is once again with no money to resolve that problem. Nothing new here; Council has routinely forgiven development fees when proposed by developers in the past. Its simple math folks; fees forgiven or deferred today (or yesterday) will result in no funds to pay for public improvements tomorrow.
Frankly, the Council needs to decide which is more important — the community’s needs or the developers’ profit margin. Money needed for repairing streets, a new library, completing Atherton Drive, hiring more public safety people, “reclaiming” downtown, a new fire station, and so on and so on, are supported mainly by the development fees. So, every time the City Council forgives development fees or cuts the developers a “deferral break” community needs are set back another 10 years. This is why the civic auditorium and many, many other amenities planned in the late sixties, seventies, and eighties are still illusive today. The new City Council majority has an opportunity to change history with each vote that focuses on and brings to fruition “real” community needs in our lifetime; instead of focusing on the needs of the developers.
Unfortunately the practice of “good jesters” under the leadership of the development community, and the “every-two-weeks” Council eyes-on practice of management has obscured the reality of the growing gap between declining city revenues and increasing costs of infrastructure maintenance and meeting community needs. After so many decades of a “lack of money” style of management the practice has become the norm; so much so, that a “real” solution to the problem is not even considered.
Truthfully, a good “State of the City” is not representative of a City Council that always identifies a lack of money for poor public services.

Benjamin Cantu