Manteca’s $15 Million Lie: ‘We don’t have the money to build a proper, secure police station’

Have you ever wondered why Manteca doesn’t have public safety days, fire response events like Ripon hosts on Saturday, or even an open house at its police department?

The reason is simple. The police department setup is a joke. It’s a shame.

It is woefully insufficient. It’s a security nightmare. The city space given to the animal shelter and its staff is arguably more humane and certainly more adequate in terms of work space.

Now, city leaders – whoever you define as – will tell you it’s complicated.

They’ll tell you they need a consultant to get things done.

They will tell you that the city has many pressing needs.

Then they will lie to you.

Yes, lie.

There’s no other way to describe it when they say “we don’t have the money for a new police department”.

Yes, the city has a lot of money that is restricted and cannot legally be used for any purpose other than what it is collected for.

And yes, the city can’t afford to pay cash for a new police station.

This is where the lie begins.

The city is sitting on $15 million that it raised through new growth in the form of government facilities fees. It’s actually $18 million if you count the $3 million that’s paid back from fire plant fees assessed during building permits to replace money borrowed from the account to complete the fire station at Woodward Avenue and Atherton Drive.

There’s also nearly $4 million a year from growth flowing into the government facilities expense fund every year.

Given that houses grow faster than weeds after a wet winter and will likely do so well into the middle of the century, this source of funding is unlikely to dry up anytime soon.

The responsible thing to do is to take most of the money the city has and start executing a plan now so that construction of a new police station can begin within two years.

The city can easily bond the balance.

Rest assured that borrowing money will cost less than construction inflation.

If this is an irresponsible course of action, then each sitting board member is financially irresponsible when it comes to the future of their respective families.

None of them paid 100% for the house they live in.

If they had waited until they had 100% of the money to pay it or had relied on a consultant to tell them what they needed, they would either lose money or live in the Street.

Manteca is beyond fiscal prudence.

They are fiscally irresponsible by sitting on large sums of money when there is a pressing need which has a solution which is getting more expensive every year due to construction inflation which is significantly higher than ordinary inflation than we know with gas and food. prices.

The city has competent personnel.

They can get Manteca the police service he needs.

All it takes is for three of the five elected council members to stop paying lip service to public safety as a top priority.

This will require them to make a clear decision. Either public safety is number 1 or it is not.

They allowed the valid observation that Manteca has a number of overwhelming needs and wants to meet them to paralyze them.

If anyone in council – or in the city’s senior management – disagrees, don’t act like they’re ashamed of the facilities they provide for men and women who put their lives at stake every day for the approximately 90,000 inhabitants of Manteca.

Let’s have an open house and celebrate what this town thinks about the safety and security of the police and their support staff, and the crowded, dollhouse-scale workspace.

This can start by bringing groups of four through the front doors. Not because of social distancing, but because the lobby isn’t much bigger than a phone booth. It’s an indisputable fact that, based on COVID-19 protocols, allowing two people in the lobby at the time would push the limit.

It doesn’t take an expert to quickly realize that the lobby is about as solid in terms of security as Swiss cheese.

But beyond that, you might be stunned by the lack of sufficiently bulletproof walls and the like.

There are five city managers, the city’s top bureaucrat acknowledged the absolute minimum was a $300,000 band-aid to make the world’s smallest lobby for a police station serving a community of nearly 90,000 more safe with steel plates and the like.

Five years later, the money has still not been spent.

The city needs more money to provide basic services, which is a legitimate argument, but it cannot spend the money it already has on urgent needs.

The town needs to stop funneling a paranoid squirrel and start spending some of the nuts they’ve been stashing for the past 15 winters.

The next stop on the tour may be spacious workplaces for police and support personnel. Audiences are likely to be truly impressed by the converted storage rooms, better known as closets, which are used as offices by cramming in a desk, filing cabinet and two chairs.

A trip through the offices would not be complete without using the main “corridor”. It is in fact an easy passage secured at both ends by wrought iron fences which, placed elsewhere in the city, barely prevent the unarmed homeless from entering.

Then, to show what really matters, the tour can include the new evidence building which is easily 10 times more secure and functional than the current police station.

Perhaps those with a passion to be mayor from 2023 – all three of whom sit on city council – can be on hand to explain to citizens what they saw on the tour was enough for a city. which will have 100,000 inhabitants in about five years. that is not located in a third world country.

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

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