Oxnard- $35MM Las Cortes low income housing bond approved- its displaced residents complain, $35MM water bond refi, revenue projections presented

By George Miller

The April 22 meeting was supposed to be all about money: refinancing of water bonds, low income housing financing (no obligation to city) and next year’s revenue projections.  However, numerous bitter complaints surfaced about the relocation of Las Cortes residents affected by its renovation in what was supposed to be a slam-dunk agenda item on its financing.

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Nancy Williams of SCE presents check for $219,563 to Oxnard for meeting “Gold Level” energy efficiency goals (photo by Dan Pinedo)

Name Date Duration Agenda Minutes Video
City Council Meeting April 22, 2014 04h 13m Agenda Minutes Video

 

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135_lascorteslogosmallApproved 35,000,000 in revenue bonds for Las Cortes 144 unit low income housing project on Marquita and 1st St.   The developer will get a 4% tax credit.

There was much discussion of the project, most of it having little or nothing to do with the financing.  Many residents, in English or Spanish, complained that they can’t get answers to their questions, can’t get nearby interim housing where they want, fear that vouchers will expire or not be accepted and more. Housing Director Wilkins says that none of these concerns are valid, although miscommunications might have occurred and assured residents that the outside contractor handling relocations will be held to account.

Staff Report (pdf 273kb)

money.pileApproved refinancing of $36,000,000 in water revenue bonds (existing ones callable June 1), lower interest rate of 3.8% 30 years, private placement, $3.MM savings at net present value, $340,000 /yr. cash flow savings., via RBC Capital.  RFP was sent to 5 sources,; 2 rejected Oxnard’s credit, 1 no bid, only 2 bid.

Resident Martin Jones felt that the elected treasurer is incapable of handling such transactions and not a professional. However, the only objection to the meeting proceedings was lack of fee disclosure.

Document: Staff Report and Attachment Nos 1 & 2 (pdf 689KB)

Document: Attachment No’s 3 & 4 (pdf 2.57MB)

Document: Attachment No. 5 (pdf 4.28MB)

Document: Attachment No’s 6 & 7 (pdf 696KB)

Presentation/discussion on FY 2014-2015 revenue projections. Director of Finance James Cameron estimated revenue increase of up to 4%, based on cautious optimism about the economy.  He expressed concern about Oxnard’s 10% unemployment level (true number is much higher than this, which primarily includes those receiving unemployment insurance payments). He allowed for the possibility of a recession in 2016-18, which could trim revenue estimates considerably, but provided no estimates.

Staff Report (pdf 288kb)

Other:

Resident Joseph Contaoi made suggestions for an employment contract for a new City Attorney (see meeting video starting at 22:30) and provided a hard copy of it to the City Clerk.

Lawrence Stein fears that water conservation would considerably reduce water revenues, forcing rate increases.

Mayor Flynn says that the new education committee is making progress toward defining its objectives, which he said was to improve education outcome, even beyond school. Some residents have said that education is the purview of the School Board, not the City Council, which some believe already has more than its share of challenges. High school teacher (political science) Mayor Flynn disagrees. Next committee meeting is on May 8.

Councilman Perello is concerned about excessive overtime charges. He pointed out that Public Works manpower has been “gutted” which not only contributes to the overtime, but could also affect water/wastewater safety and regulatory compliance.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ramirez is concerned about non-metered water users who may lack sensitivity to/feedback on excessive water usage.

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George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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William "Bill" Hicks
William "Bill" Hicks
7 years ago

How come so many cities believe they are responsible for education? If they are, why do we have a Board of Education to begin with?

My career with The Los Angeles Unified School District saw more than one Mayor sticking his nose into the education process when they had their own problems left unattended.

Maybe the cause can be attributed to an attempt to draw attention away from their failures. Maybe?

But then, why not? City government is just an arm of the federal government and the fed’s do to them what the state does to local government and the local government does what the state government does.