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Making room(s) for money
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Manteca’s fastest growing source of municipal revenue since 2013 isn’t property tax nor is it sales tax.

It’s a tax Manteca residents don’t even pay. It’s the hotel room tax.

Those spending the night in Manteca and paying a 9 percent room tax is projected to be 11 percent higher by the time the year ends compared to $990,000 collected in 2016.

It puts room tax revenue on track to push $1.1 million this fiscal year or 2.8 percent of all of the anticipated $39.3 million anticipated revenue. That compares to 2013 when room tax revenues came in at $545,000 or 1.7 percent of the overall general fund revenue of $27.8 million for that year.

If the current trend continues room tax revenue will double over 2013 levels by June 30, 2018 to $1.1 million. In order for property tax to have doubled during the same time period it would have had to have gone from $9.1 million to $18.2 million. The property tax for the current fiscal year is projected at $15.2 million. For sales tax to double during the same time period it would have had to have gone from $8.2 million to $16.4 million. The sales tax for the current fiscal year is projected at $11.8 million.

The potential boom to the Manteca economy as well as the ability to generate additional revenue to support municipal police and fire services has been the bottom line push of the city’s drive during the past 10 years to make Manteca a reginal destination for family recreation.

The first two parts of that puzzle — Bass Pro Shops and Big League Dreams — are already in place. The next step is securing an indoor water park resort. Once that is in place, the city’s strategy is to use the resort along with BLD and Bass Pro Shops to leverage development of Northern California’s first ever family entertainment zone.


Lunch & Learn with

Great Wolf Wednesday

One possible water park resort operator — Great Wolf Lodge — will have representatives at the Manteca Chamber of Commerce Lunch & Learn on Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Big League Dreams to share the possibilities of coming to Manteca and what they have to offer. Call oremail Chamber Executive Director Joann Beattie at 209.823.6121 or to reserve your spot.

Documents cobbled together by DeNova Planning Group that is updating Manteca’s 20-year outlook for growth via the general plan, notes negotiations with parties for a 500-room indoor water park resort and conference center may generate as much as $2.8 million in room taxes in its initial year of operation.

Various scenarios the city has examined over the past several years of water park negotiations have centered round creating a special room tax district for the 200-plus acres involving the proposed indoor water park resort and family entertainment zone that would have a 15 percent hotel room tax.

That is in the same ballpark for room taxes for regions and cities that rely heavily on tourism to support their economics. Room taxes in such area range from 12 percent for Inyo County that includes Death Valley, Mt. Whitney and numerous alpine lake destinations and 15 to 15.5 percent for San Francesco that has a basic 14 percent room tax plus a sliding 1 to 1.5 percent tourism improvement assessment district tax on motel rooms that is based on where the property is located.

The add-on tax per room is essentially what Manteca is pondering for the water park resort.

A large chunk of the room tax generated is expected to go toward making the project to cover public facilities and such.

What is bringing people to fill motel rooms? A survey of motel owners four years ago produced a list that includes Big League Dreams, soccer, traveling to and from the Sierra, specialized construction work, and Bass Pro Shops. The Bass Pro Shops visitors that stay in Manteca aren’t making the trip here for that specific reason. Rather they tie it into another destination and chose Manteca to stay because they can drop by the Bass Pro Shops store.

Bass Pro Shops is the South County’s biggest attraction drawing between 2.5 million and 2.9 million visitors each year. Big League Dreams is next with excess of 430,000 paid spectators a year. There is at least one out-of-town tournament scheduled every weekend at BLD.

BLD has been the biggest driver of hotel room bookings on Fridays and Saturdays thanks to its proven ability to book tournament play 52 weekends a year.


Resort would create

500 jobs, spur other

visitor spending

State economists believe one out of every nine jobs in California is supported by tourism or visitors dollars. While many think of tourists as being those on a week-long trip that either fly or drive somewhere, it actually is anyone who travels to another destination for a recreational purist. By that standard, it is easy to understand how weekend or one day trips can generate significant revenue for a city.

City leaders are negotiating with Great Wolf to locate a resort on 30 acres owned by the city directly west of Costco along the 120 Bypass. The project could ultimately 500 permanent jobs, draw 400,000 visitors annually, create 1,500 construction jobs, and cement Manteca as a legitimate tourist attraction.

 If Great Wolf builds, guests likely would be subject to a special 15 percent entertainment zone room tax. That is how Manteca staff in a study three years ago pegged the room tax potential at Great Wolf of being between $4 million and $6 million year. That is based on Great Wolf’s performance at other locations including Grand Mound in the State of Washington.

City leaders have consistently noted that Manteca — even though it may not get the lion’s share of a room tax if a split is put in place to make the project work — will be able to leverage significant positive impacts for the local economy as well as to help provide new revenue to support municipal services.

Bass Pro, for example, draws an estimated 97 percent of their customers from outside of Manteca and up to 100 miles away meaning the city is capturing sales tax it not otherwise could go after.

BLD also operates on the 100-mile business model. It isn’t unusual for youth and adult teams playing in tournament that are an hour or more away to either book rooms in Manteca or to squeeze in shopping between games. It isn’t unusual to see players in uniform with their parents ion Costco and Kohl’s on Saturdays. At the same time team players fill a list of restaurant seats.

A water park resort would also build on the 100-mile radius market where nearly 18 million consumers live. Essentially it would draw consumer dollars primarily from the Bay Area to help support the Manteca economy. It is a roundabout way of countering the cost of Manteca being the affordable housing answer to the Bay Area.

While Great Wolf is a destination resort restaurants, guests are likely to access other locales in Manteca such as gas stations.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail