By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Singh’s math: Manteca ¼ cent sales tax + Great Wolf equals 9 more police + 9 more firefighters
traffic cop
Gary Singh’s proposal would add 9 more police officers and 9 more firefighters in Manteca for a quarter of a cent increase in sales tax.

Gary Singh has a plan to get Manteca 9 more police officers and 9 more firefighters.

It will cost you though.

The price?

An additional quarter of a cent sales tax.

If voters approve such a proposal in 2024, the tax would end after 20 years.

How, you might ask, would happen in 2044?

Would the city layoff whoever are in the 9 police and 9 firefighter positions when the money stops flowing in?


That happens to be the year the 25-year room tax split with Great Wolf ends.

Look at the money in constant 2022 dollars.

Based on the current half cent sales tax, Measure M funds 18 police officers and 18 firefighters at a cost of $8.6 million. 

If the tax were a quarter of a cent higher, the city could hire 9 more police officers and 9 more firefighters  at a cost of $4.3 million

After the room tax deal ends, Manteca will get all of the room tax including the developers share that in the 25th year is $5,145,492.

The city, at that time, would replace the lost $4.3 million from the 20-year quarter cent sales tax that expires with the $5.1 million that would have gone to Great Wolf.

For an extra quarter of a cent now for the next 20 years, Manteca can have public safety that is more on par for the norm

Singh said his proposal checks all the right boxes.

*It doesn’t rely on wishful thinking that there is money in the current general fund  for public safety staffing beyond current levels.

*It is a restricted tax.

*It is a tax that will end after 20 years.

*It brings Manteca almost to one officer per 1,000 residents for the first time ever.

*When wedded with Community Facilities District fees on new homes being proposed and the annual increase in staffing made possible through the usual annual property and sales tax increases, the city will be able to meet and exceed the 1,000 residents per officer mark.

*It is 100 percent transparent as an addendum to the Measure M tax.

*Manteca would have enough firefighters for a second engine company at the Union Road station, eliminating the need to build a new $6 million station.

Singh, who is running for mayor on Nov. 8., said such a measured approach is designed  to build trust with the public, be completely transparent as it would be under the scrutiny of a citizens oversight committee that is currently chaired by former City Councilman Richard Silverman, and would be an actual tax that needs without the services it provides being cut.

While it doesn’t bind a future council, it is clear that no elected official  in their right mind is going to cut 18 public safety positions especially when they will have the money available from Great Wilf to keep them in place.

It also means city residents can benefit even more now from Great Wolf being in Manteca than having to wait 22 years by simply paying an extra penny every time they spend $4 on a taxable item for 20 years.

Singh said once public safety needs are addressed city efforts to renegotiate property  tax sharing with the county on annexed land another measures the city is working on can benefit other municipal needs besides frontline police and fire manpower.

Singh’s approach with a specific plan to get more police and firefighters in place is a radical departure from the usual Manteca campaign posturing, platitudes and political mush.

It is wishful thinking to say you’re going to somehow find the money by perhaps cutting back on parks, streets or other city services as well as begging others for one-time money such as corporations and the state and federal governments.

The same goes for saying give the city another 1 cent sales tax and then trust the bureaucrats.

He is offering a specific plan, with dollar numbers attached, what it will cost, and built in transparency.

And it comes with a rarity for a tax — an expiration date.

Every candidate for the past 35 years in municipal politics have made public safety one of — if not the — cornerstone of their campaign promises.

You know how it goes.

Elect me and I’ll work to get you more police officers and firefighters.

That, of course, implies that if elected they will find a way to fund additional police and fire positions beyond what happens on a predictable annual basis thanks to growth increasing revenues.

Once elected neophytes soon find out the fact the city, despite currently having $144 million set aside in investments, doesn’t have the money.

It’s because money — thanks to the taxpayers revolution sparked by Proposition 13 — cities collect that aren’t tethered to the general fund can only be used for the purpose they are collected from users and taxpayers.

This is a good thing. Ask fiscal conservatives from the 1970s about how cities went to the edge by not having such restrictions in place.

Ironically, people who like to paint themselves as fiscally conservative today make arguments that such restrictions should be lifted so money can be spent as they please. One example is raiding growth fees for parks to pay for more police.

Do that and you soon won’t have adequate parks.

The courts have routinely upheld what was the will of the people at the ballot box although there are forces that are mightily trying to erode the public’s mandate to spend and tax as they please.

Passage of Measure M — the  half-cent sales tax restricted to public safety frontline positions with the ballot imposed restriction the city’s general fund commitment to police and fire could not drop below 62 percent — gets a lot of kudos for keeping Manteca’s public safety efforts afloat.

What people forget to mention is before Measure M passed in 2006, criminals were having the time of their lives in Manteca. There were 798 vehicles stolen in Manteca in 2005 — four times the current level.

Drug and gang problems were much more prevalent.

Measure M passed because it was a way to close the gap between what the city was able to fund and what police and fire positions they needed to deliver public safety that the community needed and wanted.

The positions were being added just as the Great Recession hit.

Nothing is free.

Government costs money.

The best we can hope for is for voters to decide how much they are willing to pay.

And, at the same time, control what taxes can be spent on.

Singh’s plan makes it better by putting in place a tax that ends in 20 years without losing a single public safety position.

Instead, out-of-towners splashing around at Great Wolf will be paying for the 9 additional police officers and 9 additional firefighters after the tax expires.


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at