Oxnard Council 5-7-19: Financial Warning; New Dog Hotel & Single Family Development; Granny Flats Encouraged; Firemen Get More Benefits

By George Miller

The May 7, 2019 Oxnard City Council meeting agenda was long (7 hours) and complex, with numerous items listed/acted upon, including another budget financial warning, new dog hotel; new single family residence tract,and next step approval to build “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADU’s or granny flats). The Senior Services Commission delivered a glowing annual report, but with lamentation of the lost La Colonia Center with no replacement on the known horizon and warnings of a burgeoning senior population needing services. The city hired consulates to study water rates (increases) and do a water strategic plan. In addition, million$$$ were approved for expenditure, appropriation or acceptance in the Consent Agenda with discussion of only one item- not very transparent. These items, however, are discussed only in lower level all-day committee meetings and sent to the council to be approved en masse, again, mostly with no discussion.

 

Meeting AGENDA, VIDEO

 

C.  CLOSED SESSION (4:30 PM)

This is what you don’t get to see: 

1. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – EXISTING LITIGATION (Government Code section 54956.9 (d)(1))
(City Council)
Name of case: Green Energy Holdings, LLC; Auto Fuels, Inc. v. City of Oxnard, et al.
Ventura County Superior Court, Case No. 56-2015-00470344-CU-EI-VTA

2. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – EXISTING LITIGATION (Government Code section 54956.9 (d)(1))
(City Council)
Name of case: William Scarpino; et al. v. City of Oxnard
Ventura County Superior Court, Case No. 56-2015-00475721-CU-OR-VTA

3. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – ANTICIPATED LITIGATION (Government Code section 54956.9(d)(2))
(City Council)Based on existing facts and circumstances, there is significant exposure to litigation against the City in one potential case.

4. CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS – (Government Code section 54956.8)
(City Council)
Property: APN 132-003-301 (adjacent to RiverPark Boulevard near Vineyard Avenue); City-owned property and right-of-way on the north side of U.S. Highway 101 between Rose Avenue and Rice Avenue; City-owned property and right-of-way on the south side of U.S. Highway 101 between Rose Avenue and Rice Avenue; City-owned property and right-of-way on the north side of U.S. Highway 101 between Vineyard Avenue and Rose Avenue; and City-owned property and right-of-way on the south side of U.S. Highway 101 between Vineyard Avenue and Rose Avenue.
Agency negotiator: Alexander Nguyen, Ashley Golden
Negotiating parties: Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc.; Outfront Foster Interstate, LLC
Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment

5. CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS – (Government Code section 54956.8)
(City Council)
Property: 220 South K Street; 309 to 315 South K Street; 1101 West Second Street
Agency negotiator: Ashley Golden, Kenneth Rozell
Negotiating parties: Oxnard Union High School District
Under negotiation: Price and terms of payment

No results were announced.

 

Open meeting:

E-1  SUBJECT: Senior Services Commission Annual Report. (10/10/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council receives the Senior Services Commission annual report.

Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Terrel Harrison, (805) 385-7994

Document: E-1 Staff Report & Presentation

According to Census data, in 2010 over 33,338 (16.8%) residents in
Oxnard were 55 years of age and older.
• Based on the population of residents in Oxnard between the ages of
40-55 in 2010 that number could grow to over 60,000 by 2020.
• California’s 85+ population is estimated to increase by over 70
percent by 2030.

The Commission’s accomplishments, too numerous to list all here (but read the agenda materials and watch the video) were cited, along with a few significant challenges.

It is apparent that the Senior Services Commission has realized the potential of what a Citizens Advisory group should be.

seniors.oxnardrec.org

 

Senior Programs

About 126,000 meals were served at centers and 17,000 home-delivered!  496 volunteers, serving 62,500 hours worth an estimated $1.8 million.

A major setback was having the old seniors center in La Colonia demolished, with the promise of a new center, which turned out to be mainly for residents of the La Cortes development.  Currently, Oxnard is down to two facilities.

This looks like a very impressive program, which has accomplished much with limited financial resources but bountiful volunteer resources.

Call 805-385-8019; seniors@oxnard.org.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ramirez mentioned that SCAG (So Cal Association of Governments) says 65% of population will be 65+ in 14 years (???) and that a needs assessment is required to determine what services to provide.

The city is seeking residents’ input on requirements for  a new senior center. Sessions will be held: on May 15 at 10 AM and May 15 at 11:15 AM.

 

F. Ceremonial Items

1. SUBJECT: Presentation of a Proclamation Designating the Month of May 2019 as “Older Americans Month.”

Proclamations by the US President and CA Governor have declared it so. Oxnard went for it too.  The Mayor referred to services and programs designed to keep seniors in their own homes and help provide needed services. Seniors were recognized for their experience and wisdom.

A representative of the Senior Commission said they serve 55 and older residents, with food and anything seniors might need and not know how to go about it.

2. SUBJECT: Presentation of a Commendation to Gordon and Louise Dilger for Winning the Countywide and Statewide Award for Their Service.

These retired teachers help seniors age well via conducting exercise classes.  They have also trained dozens of fitness instructors. They won Ventura County Agency of Aging and CA Parks and Recreation Society awards. Tonight, the City of Oxnard also commended them for providing 5000 hours of volunteer work.

3. SUBJECT: Presentation of a Proclamation Designating the Month of May 2019 as “Building Safety Month.”

Community Development Director Lambert presented awards. Mayor Flynn attributed relatively low state disaster casualties to stringent building standards. They also touted energy conservation and fire safety. Lambert said they focus on not only value of building codes, but effective enforcement. They are currently trying to upgrade schools. The proclamation said that growth and strength depend upon good buildings and vigilant guardians, including officials, architects, labor, contractors, etc.  Sponsored by the Building Codes Council.

 

G.  PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA 

Chris Hancock- Re: service resistant vagrant population, many from out of area. Community is in shambles, crime, unsanitary conditions. Plaza Park should be our crown jewel, not a skid row,

Ray Blutel- MOU (Memorandum of Agreement) for Oxnard Police Officers is based on erroneous info, including an incorrect financial projection which will be more like $9.5MM.  Comparisons to Santa Barbara and Pasadena not valid due to per capita income differences

Len Martinez- advocate for homeless. Will be on May 9 Homeless panel. Former addict now a counselor.

Angel Garcia-  The above is at 3 PM at Performing Arts Center PACC, Homelessness Townhall. Includes film., panel, research results.

Patricia Garcia- 2nd Vice Chair of SEIU, works as a buyer for city. Opposes the staff layoff, which will adversely affect staff and services. Council needs to find another way to fix finances- fire the consultants. Call on employees for ideas.

Lupe Mongano- SEIU local 721, advocates for strong city services. Have taken many hits, need relief, not more layoffs.  Offer to work with council to find solutions, set priorities. Layoffs and service cuts are wrong approach. Wants to raise revenues.

Danny Carillo- SEIU tri-counties regional director. Same as above statements. City gave no response to his request for information on outside city contracts. Management not paying fair share of retirement contributions. Remember they fought the recall. On line sales tax collection law will bring more revenue.  There are stagnant, unused funds.  Want non-permanent employees let go. Put people in Enterprise Fund areas that have money.

Julie Kollbacher- Construction by her house by Jolly Roger Way not being kept clean per requirements .

Maria- Volunteer instructor for grassroots disaster preparedness for Spanish speakers (what about Oxnard CERT, which already offers this?).

Pat Brown- Attended PACC meeting on Fisherman’s Wharf proposed residential project. Majority of attendees were opposed. Residents are fed up with traffic and parking problems . Want tourism related community, not housing development. Meeting was a total dud.

Debbie Mitchell- Want as many Mandalay seawall pilasters a possible fixed. Does not want their funds spent for other purposes. Water quality expenses wrongfully charged to their funds.

Carol Taylor- Replace worst 50 seawall pilasters. City needs to approve. Identified as a priority for repair- a “shovel ready project.” City has refused for 6 years, it can’t wait.

Judy Havas- Emphasized the above.

Manuel Herrera- Invited all to attend Oxnard (car) Cruise night Thursday at Plaza Park. More events next month. Brian Yanez of Public Works noted dead whale on beach near 5th street, now being towed out 20+ miles to sea.

Council Comments

Madrigal- 4-27 helping at at Rose Park neighborhood cleanup. Dia Del Nino holiday event at Camino del Sol Park. Happy Mothers Day and Teachers Appreciation Week.

Basua- Celebrate Municipal Clerk’s week- Michelle Ascension, Oxnard City Clerk

Ramirez- Big problem with California Whales. Natural world is in trouble- we must think about how to save ourselves, not just whales. Coastal Commission will discuss environmental justice.  Her District 2 meeting 6pm at PAC Thursday. Congratulate Jeff Lambert for getting American Planning Council award for performance in Thomas Fire. Oxnard got award for power plant fight. May is mental health awareness month.

MacDonald- Thanks to staff for response on whale issue.

Perello- Happy Mother’s Day. Applauded whale actions. Thanks to Julie Pena for involvement. SEIU rep asked for sharing of ideas on layoffs mentioned- AB 147 offers funding potential.  November boxing championship in November will decide Olympic boxing candidates.  Terrell Harrison deserves much credit for his work and leadership on this. Second Saturday in May is US Postal Workers food collection drive. Bags will be delivered.  The poor donate more!

Lopez- Attended two college/career events as well as grade school ones. Presented a  resolution on adult education. Will be at Humanizing Homelessness forum Thursday at PACC.  Community budget at Blackstock Elementary – South Oxnard. (call City Hall for details).

Flynn- Recently saw Cleveland, Buffalo, Syracuse, Erie- saw factories that had closed down. How will we handle displaced workers and get them back to work? His daughter was playing championship water polo back East.

 

H. REPORT OF CITY MANAGER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/SECRETARY 

California Coastal Commission meeting Wed-Friday at Oxnard Council Chambers. PUC also here May 16.  Happy Mother’s Day.  Dead whale moved offshore quickly.

L. INFORMATION/CONSENT AGENDA

Items are voted on as a group without discussion unless  a Council Member pulls something for discussion.

From Agenda

L-1, L-8, pulled for discussion

L-1- MacDonald- Citizen Advisory Group nepotism prohibition not really a serious problem. may even inhibit needed volunteer participation. Lopez agreed. Perello wants to keep at least some restrictions. Keep it. Ramirez abstains because her husband is on a  committee. Basua wants to know what City Mgr. thinks- he will manage conflicts no matter what is decided. MacDonald agrees. If we eliminate it, what about people who were blocked from applying before. Madrigal having a difficult time finding candidates in District three- need all the volunteers we can get. Silly that you can’t apply if your stepmom works for the city. Flynn- nobody benefits economically from being a volunteer. Oxnard has history of nepotism, abuse of power. Wants to stick with original language, but wants Finance and Governance Committee to revisit. But appointments are months late. Nguyen: Section 2-38A volunteers not eligible if related to city employees or elected officials, Should it apply to elected officials, city employees or both?

Vote 3-3 failed  (Ramirez abstained). So it will be approved as written originally.

L-8- Madrigal- OK on it.

Public Comments

Debbie Mitchell- Re: funds from our waterways district- objects to tonight’s agenda item on waterways funding taking half of its funds for a water quality project, which was supposed to be funded by City, Westport and Seabridge neighborhoods. Our money is being bled off. PLEASE stop taking money until our seawalls are fixed. Public Works said these funds are necessary for testing. Need quick turnaround. Ramirez is with Mitchell’s position- wants reimbursement or different split later. Staffer said it is being split 4 ways based on water area (55% Mandalay).  Flynn – seawall repairs not yet agendized. Nguyen is working on broader harbor solutions. He understands frustration. It has been an “arduous” thing. Not enough money for what we want to do.

Consent agenda vote- 7-0 to approve  (except Madrigal and Perello-no on L-1)

 

M-1  SUBJECT: Planning & Zoning (PZ) Permit Nos. 18-500-10 (Special Use Permit for a Planned Development Permit); and PZ No. 18-300-09 (Tentative Tract Map) for the Property Located on the 700 Block of Doris Avenue. (10/5/10)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council:

1. Adopt a resolution upholding the Planning Commission’s approval of PZ No. 18-500-10 (Special Use Permit for a Planned Development Permit), subject to certain findings and conditions set forth in Planning Commission Resolution No. 2019-09; and
2. Adopt a resolution approving PZ No. 18-300-09 (Tentative Tract Map for Tract No. 6010), subject to certain findings and conditions set forth in Planning Commission Resolution No. 2019-10.
Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Jeffrey Lambert, (805) 385-7882

Document: M-1 Staff Report & Presentation

Veronica Ortiz (?)  presented. Director Lambert wants approval  to be done by Planning Commission unless overridden by exception by the Council

Proposed: Seven 2 story single family residences  of 3-4 bedrooms- 2500-2700 sq ft with 2 car attached garages. 6200-6800 sq ft plots. Accessory dwelling units allowed.  Want interior lot dimensions and widths smaller than code.  Building height 2’2” above code. 20′ setbacks, 33′ in back. All would have front porches. Would include backyard improvements.

October meeting attendees cited objections on parking, architectural style out of synch with neighborhood. Applicant added on-site parking. Reduced bedrooms from 4-5 to 3-4 and provided more  architectural variety. It was a 5-2 vote to approve. Complies with 2030 general plan.

Public Comments

Blake Rasmussen- He is applicant/project manager for Westwood Homes- encourages questions.

Council Comments

Lopez- OK.

Perello- Slide 11 + 12: Complimented developer- Applicant responded to public input and even did some non-required meetings.  No Wilson Neighborhood comments received.

Ramirez- Appreciates developer cooperation.

Madrigal- Project is great for that area. Time to put something there for better use.

Flynn- Agrees. has some concerns. Lives in the neighborhood, disappointed that Neighborhood Council did not respond.  parking problem on Doris Ave between F and G Street.  Going to allow accessory dwelling units. Creating brand new group homes in an areas already overcrowded. Wants to know if church (his church?) had any input. Wants a covered bus stop. MacDonald- would address through Gold Coast Transit and be separately funded. Developer-plans to live in one of the homes and be HOA president. Do not want garages rented out.

Vote- 7-0 approved. It was a slam dunk proposal.

 

M-2  SUBJECT: Planning & Zoning Permit No. 18-500-11 (Special Use Permit) to construct a 7,059 square-foot building to serve as a dog boarding facility at the Property Located at 481 & 491 Ventura Boulevard. (10/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council adopt a resolution approving Planning & Zoning Permit No. 18-500-11 (Special Use Permit), subject to certain findings and conditions.

Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Jeffrey Lambert, (805) 385-7882

Document: M-2 Staff Report & Presentation

Lambert- not a permitted use, so needs Council approval.

Veronica presented this dog hotel proposal., the second one in the neighborhood. Would demolish 3 residential homes and get a special use for this 2 story insulated metal building with caretaker quarters, landscaping and right of way improvements. Hours would  be 7-7 M-F, 9-5 on weekends to accommodate up to 100 dogs, with indoor and outdoor areas. .  Now zoned general commercial planned development. No dogs near residences. Complied with city noise ordinance. Exempt from CEQA. November 19 meeting- no comments received, just two inquiries.  Approval recommended, commission approved 6-0 with minor modifications, accepted by applicant. Permit 18005111.

New sidewalks, public right of way on Ventura Blvd would be widened.

No Public Speakers

Council

Madrigal- Fine with  this. Previously approved another similar facility. close by.

Basua- OK

Ramirez- I’m a dog owner. Not just day care, night care, too. What about sound of 100 dogs barking? What if we had a lot of complaints about dogs barking?  Lambert- we would verify complaints and seek compliance. They did a good job in Ventura. Applicant Jennifer- we would keep dogs inside at night with 2 onsite 24/7 caretakers.

MacDonald- Like concept, idea. Have two dogs, look for boarding places, but existing ones have no night attendants. Like their plan of caretakers.

Perello- Nice looking building. Noisy, insulated all the way up? Appreciate having caretakers.  Applicant Jennifer: Yes, we did have a dog attacked, we failed. Architect Jeff will address via insulating to R13- exceeds specs- 6″ solid full height panels.

Lopez- No comments

Flynn- Overnight dog accommodations a really good sign for community in an area needing redevelopment. So, it’s a real positive development near freeway, highly visible.

Vote- 7-0 approved

 

M-3  SUBJECT: Planning & Zoning (PZ) Permit No. 19-580-01 (Zone Text Amendment – ZTA) – Amendments to Chapter 16, Article II and Article V, Division 13, of the Oxnard City Code (OCC) Pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units. (15/10/10) 
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve the first reading by title only and waive further reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 16, Article II and Article V, Division 13, of the Oxnard City Code (OCC) pertaining to definitions and regulations governing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU).
Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Jeffrey Lambert, (805) 385-7882

Document: M-3 Staff Report & Presentation

This is being done to accommodate owners, encourage more new housing units, comply with changing state regulations and Oxnard housing plan, using existing residential lots.

Have received input from Barbara Macri-Ortiz (a local housing activist attorney). Lambert- this is a continuation of action on accessory dwelling units, addressed several times in the last couple of years. They were called second units or granny flats before. Can be new construction or re- purposing of existing structures. Doing this to be consistent with changing state regulations and to adapt to Oxnard’s housing program. Have discussed before.

Changes for state law and to facilitate “program 6”  housing plan. Add “efficiency units” (studios). Habitable rules. Parking standards. Reduce minimum l;ot size to 9,000 sq ft. Allow plots with undersized homes to build a new larger, primary home. CEQA-exempt.

There was quite a bit of debate about how large a second structure could be erected on larger lots of  9,000 sq ft+. Otherwise, there seemed to be agreement.

Public Comments

Barbara Macri-Ortiz- Should be more flexible on size of second home. A detached unit maximum ADU size is 1200 sq ft.  Staff plan would create “McMansions.”  Don’t try to force new unit to be twice as big as old one,

Pat Brown- I live in 1200 sq ft  mfg home with 2 bedrooms, dining room , kitchen, 2 bathrooms. It’s too large for a single person, big enough for four people.

Council Comments

Lopez- I sit on Housing and Economic Development Committee. Supported staff recommendation. Size compromise not discussed at committee meeting. Looking for ideas.  Director Lambert: About 200 such properties citywide, maybe 50 with a potential size problem. Issued about 60 ADU’s in last two years.  Lopez- what is minimum size ADU? Lambert- 220 sq ft.

Perello- is this time sensitive/need to be done tonight? Lambert- made commitment to state to get it done. Perello: What is single garage size? 10 x 20. Perello- What about sewer capacity?  Are they in specific neighborhoods? Lambert- Mostly in central Oxnard- older sewer systems, too. Perello: Can deeds be split for units? Lambert- one of two units must be owner-occupied now. Subdivision is limited by access, minimum sizes, and more. Doesn’t always see common sense in state laws and doesn’t like unfunded mandates.

The big dispute seemed to be: how large does the second unit have to be.

MacDonald- Most large lots are in Wilson, River Ridge or Pleasant Valley. He was restricted from building a unit of the size he needs.

Ramirez- Like Macri-Ortiz’s idea of 200-1200 sq ft range for second unit. (Existing rule says 220-1200 sq ft.)  Ortiz says 1200 sq ft maximum now. State law says maximum is 1200 sq ft.  Attached addition has to be 50%.

City Mgr. Nguyen gave Macri-Ortiz extraordinary latitude to speak and interact with staff and council at this meeting.

Macri-Ortiz said state law for detached units shall not exceed 1200 sq ft. She said it also says total floor space of an attached accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed  50% of existing unit or 1200 sq ft.  But Oxnard ordinance says it should be 50% of the primary residence. This was not discussed at the Planning Commission or committee. Planning commission was OK with 110%.

Madrigal- is committee chair. Said he had voted no on minimum ADU  size. agrees with Basua.  This only affects a small number of people/properties. If we continue this, we’ll be here until 2 am.

Lambert suggested 150%. Seems to be a consensus. Nguyen- this is only for exceptions, 150%would be the minimum, but with 1200 sq ft the maximum.

This discussion helped to  illustrate why it is impractical  to attempt to write an ordinance by a group at an open meeting. But City  Mgr Nguyen exclaimed that “it is a great policy debate.” However, Mayor Flynn was hesitant to conclude it at this meeting.

Flynn liked the idea of cities being allowed to eliminate single family neighborhoods to meet housing needs.

The motion was to allow up to 150% of the original dwelling, but 1200 sq ft maximum. But large lots with undersized homes could accommodate 150% of the original structure.

Planning Manager Kathleen Mallory thinks that 1062 units citywide might accommodate additional units, which was much higher than other estimates bandied about at meetings.

Perello likened the process to “making sausage” and says he’s not comfortable with voting on it right now. He also objected to Macri-Ortiz being allowed more time and flexibility than others.  Fischer pointed out that this is not the meeting it would be adopted at.  Perello: doesn’t want to vote now and work it out later.

Ramirez said we could change it later. Ramirez said Macri-Ortiz is the leading housing advocate in the county and is a volunteer.

Nguyen says this isn’t last minute. Appreciates policy debate. Doesn’t think there is a right or wrong issue. Invited Macri-Ortiz because she is knowledgeable and says regular council meeting rules don’t apply here (!). Perello doesn’t think council members are well informed on this.

Flynn- this is a moving target (multiple parameters changing) and hard to visualize, after  first readings, changes are highly unlikely.  Wants to call for the question (vote).

Nguyen says that 676 parcels are involved. He wants to get outstanding questions.

Vote: Motion is: do 150% of ADU with lot size min 9000 sq ft and  per ordinance Section 16-469.6a and f.

6-1 vote- approved (Perello no)

 

At 10 PM, Mayor Flynn wanted to know which items must be done tonight.

Council voted to do all items tonight 7-0.

 

N-1  SUBJECT: General Fund Budget Projections. (15/10/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council receive an update on the latest budget projections for the General Fund. (Finance & Governance Committee approved 3-0)

Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Kevin Riper, (805) 385-7475

Document: N-1 Staff Report & Presentation

CFO Kevin Riper presented at current levels, without cuts, showing ongoing operating deficits if nothing is done. The bottom line is that the City will have endless deficits unless it gets some adequate mix of: significant cuts, renegotiated compensation, more revenue. Nothing was said about improving efficiency/productivity.

“Other taxes” are bed taxes, franchises and business licenses.

It gets much worse next year.

Property taxes up about 4.5%. Other Revenues are pretty flat.

Expenditures going up 6% while general fund only increasing 2%.% personnel.

Pension cost is the biggest problem. up 17+% for CALPERS  alone (doubled in 9 years).

Overtime was about $13mm. Some attributable to Thomas Fire.  Police and fire are biggest users,.

Most of the General Fund goes to public safety.

$3MM deficit anticipated for the current year and $9 million next year.

Forecast $136MM revenue and $145MM spend anticipated with no changes, leaving reserves of only $4.5MM, way below target and any prudent/generally accepted level.

This does NOT include Measure O 1/2% sales tax.   About half of Measure O money is committed.

Revenues gowning 1.3%, expenditures at 5.3%.  So, policy changes are necessary. City Mgr will have a budget proposal in a couple of weeks.

Comparisons have been made to other cities like Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara, which have about the same size budgets as Oxnard, but half the population.

Public Comments

None (!)

Council Comments

Flynn- Committee is concerned about reductions to General Fund balance. If we don’t address longer term liabilities, we will have to cut General Fund every year.

Madrigal-  This isn’t great news, it’s disheartening; appreciate honesty, must make difficult decision, can’t be kicking can down the road, on line “wayfarer” sales tax will help. We need to grow. Retail is suffering, restaurants have away to go.  We are left out on cannabis taxes, due to Council decisions- need to move forward with it.

Basua- Pension costs a big issue. Update cost allocation to bring additional revenue into general fund. Problem with how we are accounting for expenditure via better time sheet accounting. Hope Nguyen can bring in revenue we need to sustain the city

Ramirez- Council had to make unpopular decisions that affect people. We have to live within our means. Pension costs were never put in the budget (REALLY?). We have structural deficit problem. We are not an affluent city. She heard a speaker say that there was an extra 10 million. Do what we have to do to keep our city afloat.

MacDonald- we’re just looking at the General Fund. Must allocate all funds plus Carman Override (additional tax to fund pensions). He sees hotel revenues. Need to look at bed tax (T.O.T.) auditing to make sure we are getting revenue due us.,  Thinks some hotels are underpaying.  This is just one little segment of an overall budget. Need to look to enterprise funds, Measure O and other funds.

Perello- Nice presentation. should have included Measure O and commitments. What about short term rentals TOT? Some want a refund. Mr. Danny Carillo said they picked up a larger portion of their pension contributions. This is not gonna be pretty. We don’t look forward to telling people they don’t have a job. But we need to save the city.

Lopez- It’s all been said, not the greatest time to be making these decisions- but that’s why we got elected.

Flynn- a $5,6MM gap. Pensions. How to deal with unfunded accrued liability. Making normal payments and unfunded liability extra (catch-up) payments. It has gone up $3MM.  Paying $20MM just for unfunded  and a total of $34MM.  Could be higher if stock market investment return estimates are lowered. Next is economic development- may not be investing enough to get us out of this situation. We must either borrow the money for unfunded liability or .employee groups pay more. We will have to cut general fund budget – cut to the bone- every year for the next 5-10 years. May have to cut staff and address unfunded pension liability.  May even have to eliminate depts., such as the library.

Fiber optic network should help attract business, if completed.

He didn’t mention getting more grants, didn’t discuss process improvement, efficiency improvement or tax increases.

MacDonald complained about Flynn’s long presentation of 9 minutes after he had asked Council members to do it it in 3.

 

N-2  SUBJECT: The City of Oxnard Quarterly Investment Report for the period ending March 31, 2019. (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council review and accept the Report.

Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Phillip Molina, (805) 385-7808

Document: N-2 Staff Report & Presentation

Report is late due to new council/committee meeting schedule. Will try to have on time next quarter.

Down to 19 people on his staff, does utility billing disbursements, accounts payable, business license billing, investments, reporting,

Have $212.6 mm in investments, $3MM earned in investments, $2.4mm cash, $8MM in successor account (redevelopment) total $11MM +. But at April end, $20MM in investments were called early (because issuers can borrow more cheaply), so we have much more excess cash, $4MM was reinvested at 2.7%. Yields are dropping. Keeping investments shorter tern until yields increase.

The bottom line is that the $212 million in funds entrusted to the Treasury Dept. are earning small (about 2.5%) , but consistent and safe returns in the categories rigorously and narrowly permitted by the state. Returns are now dropping as yields drop and bond issuers call their bonds. Oxnard is investing in shorter term stuff now in anticipation of yields climbing again. Treasury has managed to improve returns by sweeping more funds into the investment pool and getting marginally better returns, while ensuring protection of principal, which is the highest priority.

 

N-3  SUBJECT: Approve Agreement A-8119 with Gannett Fleming, Inc. for the City’s Water Business Plan. (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council award and authorize the Mayor to execute a Professional Services Agreement (PSA) A-8119 with Gannett Fleming, Inc. for consultation on the development of the City’s future Water Business Plan at a cost not to exceed $519,143.

Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

Document: N-3 Staff Report & Presentation

N-3 and N-4 were addressed concurrently by the Council

40-50% 0f city water comes from state via Callegules. 25% comes from city and another 25%c comes from our resources pumped by United Water,

State water cost projections may be up to $5,000 per acre ft compared  to the current cost of $1600. Groundwater supply drawdown will be reduced in the future.

How to expand water supply source? Via advanced water Purification (recycled)  with up to 25MM gal./day.

Need a comprehensive plan  (see slides), which will look at potential supplies, vs costs, vs resources, revenues, costs, partners.  Melissa Elliot of Raftelis (consultants) will be the main contact for resource management outreach.

Oxnard and consultant will develop a utility ratepayers advisory committee. for the Prop 218 process. Provide communications to customers on that they understand bills, where money goes and what plans are.

Lower energy-consuming pumps will be obtained.

Contract amount not to exceed $519,000 for resources plan and $160,000 for rate study.

No public speakers’

Council Comments

Madrigal- water is essential, we have had a constant battle over water and rates.  Please simplify proves and communications

Ramirez- Don’t look forward to going though it again. Daunting. Must do a better job. Bills should show what it costs to deliver the water.

Perello- Only one of 4 potential bidders responded. Staffer- we put it out to 14 companies. Industry is busy. They are very confident about selected bidder. Are there conflicts with Corolla Engineering? No. Why outside consultants. Don’t have people who can do the work. Asst Director Thien- There is a  need for these projects.

Lopez- How often should rate study been done? Staffer- haven’t had any significant rate increases (say WHAT?). Potential water tax? Staffer- plan will take in all factors.

Flynn- Business plan extremely important.  More local alliances needed. Made disparaging references to “people with money who put out  a one-sided story,” (obviously referring to Aaron Starr, who he characterized as anti-government and untruthful). Meanwhile, city had poor records, poor budgets, poor plans, giving Starr ammunition. City needs to get its story out in a more effective way.

Vote on N-3 & 4  approved 7-0.

 

N-4  SUBJECT: Agreement No. 8562-19-PW with Raftelis Financial Consulting, Inc. for Water Rate Study Consulting Services. (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve and authorize the City Manager to execute Agreement Number 8562-19-PW with Raftelis Financial Consulting, Inc. for a sixteen (16) month agreement for Professional Services for Water Rate Study at a cost not to exceed $160,442.

Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

Document: N-4 Staff Report & Presentation
(See discussion with N-3)
N-5 – SUBJECT: Adoption of Successor Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Oxnard and the International Association of Firefighters (5/5/5)
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council adopt by Resolution the attached successor memorandum of understanding with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF).
Legislative Body: City Council Contact: Steve Naveau, (805) 385-7947
Document: N-5 Staff Report & Presentation
Mr, Moore said it was  a $1.6MM contract. Similar to OPA group for Police, a monthly $1543 toward medical.  or $1243.mo if waiving coverage. A deferred comp .9% payment. Extra pay for Spanish speaking employees plus 8% for pool paramedics and 15% for full paramedics.  Claims it is now comparable to other jurisdictions.
Council Comment
Lopez- Was cost really 3X more than presented? Moore denied
Perello- Mr Bluete’s concerns taken to to heart. What about $125/day for Spanish speakers?
Nguyen- Bi-lingual pay differential will only be given to those with public contact. Especially important for first responders.
MacDonald- Won’t affect pension costs. He approves.
Lopez- hope we are treating all groups equally. Nguyen- these are separate negotiations with each group.
Madrigal- Firefighters deserve way more than we can afford.  Thinks it’s great.
Flynn- Council decided to give increases to two groups in a time when we are making major budget cuts. Hope we’re not subsidizing this by cutting staff in other areas. Everybody deserves a raise but the question is can we afford it? Nguyen- we are not competitive with medical plans.  Increases are mostly not salary raises.
Vote 7-0 approved
Meeting adjourned.
Upcoming events: https://www.oxnard.org/city-council-meetings/

George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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One Response to Oxnard Council 5-7-19: Financial Warning; New Dog Hotel & Single Family Development; Granny Flats Encouraged; Firemen Get More Benefits

  1. Tom May 10, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    The Firefighter MOU states: Employees who waive insurance will receive $1,243 per month by the 3rd year of the contract which will be reduced to $900 if fewer than 61% of members are participating in the plan.

    I emailed the mayor and Human Resources Director with this question.

    Does this mean that if both husband and wife work for the city, one can choose a family plan and the other, if a firefighter, collects $1,543 a month?

    As recently as 2013 Medical Benefits were $4,000. Was the reduction in Medical Benefits accompanied by an increase in another benefit(s)?

    Reply

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