Camarillo – State of the City 2015

By Logan McFadden

Mayor Bill Little spoke on a wide range of topics at the Camarillo City Hall on Tuesday, September 22nd.

Mayor Bill Little Youtube

Mayor Bill Little
Youtube

Bottom line, the city is meeting its water conservation goal set by Governor Brown’s Executive Order, growing through new residential and commercial projects, and maintaining a strong financial position.

The Mayor led off with a discussion of the California drought and its impact on Camarillo. Over the past year, the City Council has heard from several residents that are opposed to future residential and commercial developments. Among their concerns is more traffic, reduction of open spaces and water resources that will be needed to support new demand. Mayor Little addressed the water concern by stating the city has been proactive, requiring developers to “bring water to the table” through funding water-conservation projects within the city. The city staff will present a comprehensive plan next month followed by comments from the public.

Mayor Little stated that the city has a balanced budget and ample reserves. Over the last fiscal year, the city collected about $15 million in sales tax and $10 million in property taxes. The Camarillo Premium Outlets generate a large portion of the sales tax revenue.

There are several development projects in various stages of completion. On the drawing board is a hotel and conference center that will be located on vacant land south of the 101 Freeway and east of Las Posas Road. The project was stalled by the economic downturn beginning in 2008. Staff is negotiating an exclusive agreement with the Mian Companies to develop the property.

Some of the other projects include the following:

1. Stabilization of the hillside in the Camarillo Springs neighborhood to prevent future mud and debris flows
2. A recreation center that could include a bowling alley and ice skating rink
3. Two new Starbucks to open in the next few months
4. Local infrastructure improvements
5. Extension of a 4.5-mile bike trail to the CSUCI campus

 

Little spoke highly of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office serving the city since 1964. The city has seen an increase in crime with 100 more crimes between January and June 2015 compared with the same time period in 2014. Little speculated that the passage of Proposition 47 has contributed to the increase. Proposition 47 was approved by the voters on November 4, 2014. The initiative reduces the classification of most nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, thus allowing more offenders to stay out of jail. The department sponsors a wide variety of community programs such as Project HOPE, a program which helps the homeless, and Citizens Patrol, made up of a group of volunteers who assist police.

Mayor Little credited city staff for helping Camarillo run smoothly. His experience in working for five other cities in different parts of the country supports his opinion that the caliber of work is outstanding.

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Logan McFadden is a Citizensjournal.us city reporter and a recently retired banker, residing in Camarillo. He volunteers for the Heritage Action Sentinel team and serves as the AMAC Delegate to the 26th Congressional District.

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