Oxnard approves dozens of contracts, assessments, taxes, trash trucks, hauling services

By George Miller

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the Oxnard City Council considered approval of many contracts for dozens of landscape maintenance districts, other neighborhood level services,  Landscaping Maintenance Districts assessments and special tax levies for Community Facilities Districts and more.  They also considered nuisance abatement fees, recovery of Civil Citation Fines, Ventura Council of Governments (VCOG) Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Agreement Housing Authority policy changes,  police services in schools, gasoline/diesel fuel purchases, 15 new trash collection/hauling trucks,  computer hardware and software. The Treasurer proposed a new banking agreement with Bank of America.  All were approved, most unanimously, many with no discussion/debate.

Attendance for this meeting was quite light.

 

Items C1-2- Public hearings were held on Recovery of Nuisance Abatement Cost and Recovery of Civil Citation Fines 

C-1- Roger Brooks, newly appointed Code Mgr for Development Services, made the presentation. A mortgage guaranteed by the city went into foreclosure. They will be charged with a civil citation for property cleanup.  Angel Alvaradao and Chicago Title are involved.  This was quickly approved unanimously 4-0 (Perello absent, showed up later).

C-2- There are dozens of properties with unpaid fines cited in the agenda material, although Brooks said that the list is shorter this year and most on the list have been resolved.  Appeals period has passed. Six have resolved the citations by paying or getting permits.  $14,925 in outstanding fines remain. One speaker, a Mr. Salise,  said he was incarcerated but resolved the problem last year and asked for a settlement of the three fines.  Brooks said that there had been no prior contact with Salise, even after repeated notices and attempts to inspect.  There was no demolition permit requested or granted (garage conversion project by a tenant).  Fines will stand, but Brook swill work out an arrangement to not place a lien on the property if project permit is applied for by June 25. Approved unanimously 4-0 (Perello absent).

D-  Ceremonial item- Presentation of a Proclamation Designating June 12, 2017 as “Philippine Independence Day – Flag Raising.”

Top brass from Filipino-American Council accept Oxnard’s proclamation honoring service of Filipinos and celebrating Philippines’ independence from Spain at 6-6-17 Oxnard City Council meeting

Filipino-American Council honored.  Mayor Flynn read a proclamation celebrating local Filipinos’ contribution to American/local life. Each year, a ceremony is held with American and Filipino flags raised. Many Filipinos joined US Navy. Many families live right here in Oxnard.  June 12 is date of independence from Spain. Phillipines are a former US possession. Monday June 12 is a Philippines Independence day celebration scheduled at 11:30 in front of City Hall (contact them for more info). There are regional Filpino clubs locally too. Filipinos are known for their military (especially Navy) and agricultural service here.

E. Public comment- items not on agenda

Jack Villa (INCO Chair)- Congratulated East Village for its neighborhood council election- 40 residents showed up. Paul Henke elected Chair, Baxter Roseburg Vice Chair.

Steve Nash- re: Aaron Starr-initiated recall. Please talk to INCO about this. Cost of outside legal council fighting Starr lawsuits as of 5-26-17 is $242,928 just on outside counsel + much staff time. Begged Starr to justify these costs. Assuming recall gets signatures, election would cost $220000+. He calls it a “vanity recall.” Says it is a waste of time and money to punish City Council for tough decision. Should be resolved via regular election

Michael Gleason- Re:” Political Capital” – defined as advantage over political opponents. Transparent- easy to see or detect. Opaque: not able to be seen through- not transparent. He has heard things described as transparent, which really aren’t. Make waves, don’t avoid confrontation, or corruption prevails. Don’t stand by and ignore the unjust.  The People are the banks of the river to keep the river on course.

Daniel Chavez, Jr.- Re: budget study session. It made it seem like we were on right track. Doesn’t like 9% budget increase- wants to increase reserves. Complained about Hemlock near Patterson- dangerous crosswalks- poor visibility. It’s a Channel Islands Blvd alt route. Speed limit to be raised too high. Also re: a key Perello priority- need whistleblower program in effect. (Per Flynn- acctg.firm to do this will be covered last meeting in June).

Dan Pinedo- Opposed to recall. Agrees with Nash assessment.  Praised Mgmt/council members for street improvements. Says roadside memorials make our city look bad- wants an ordinance for guidelines on this for placement, duration, elaborateness.

Jackie Tedeschi- Totally against recall. Says VC Star says it is a waste of time/energy, should follow local leaders or vote them out.

Woodrow Thomas Sr.- Says he was stopped/harassed multiple times. has complained to PD Internal Affairs. Says blacks/latinos harassed. Being hated for color of skin. Blames clubs on 6th to 7th St. Feels he should have precedence as a Citizen vs illegal immigrants.

Al Velasquez- On 5-23 excessive utility rate increase was approved, forcing him and other voters to support recall. Council spent 100’s of thousand of $ on unnecessary litigation. He showed donation checks in hand to support recall, including from Ventura Fernandez and several others- – solicits more,  Accused council of ignoring voter wishes and not justifying increases. 36,440 people supported Measure M to overturn last increase.

Harold Cejas- I don’t know what Starr’s trying to pull. Shouldn’t be any recall. He spoke of water rates, but recall is over wastewater. He added- I don’t know what’s wrong with that man (Starr).

Larry Stein- Re: Special budget meeting on Monday. The budget is one of the most important public documents- over $300 million public money and utility fees. $6mm in other revenues. Public has an opportunity to ask questions. Council has responsibility to answer these questions. Last night, council refused to answer questions (Brown Act allows them to do that). Public has  a right to know where money is being spent. LBE’s lost benefits that they were entitled to because city failed to pay taxes for their benefits

Pat Brown- Re: FEMA meeting last week- only a few showed up. Info on “sea level rise” presented. Lots of beach housing threatened. People have no clue what is going on, don’t listen, don’t watch meetings, believe hearsay, don’t get it. How do we get residents to wake up and smell the roses? Have problems with water and sewage too.

 

Sandra Burkhart

F-1-  Landscape Maintenance District Contracts for FY 17-18, 18-19 and 19-20 (5/15/20) . $1.5MM for 19 landscape districts, Another for $108K for 3 districts. 10% contingency fees.

Sandra Burkhart presented.  Councilman MacDonald abstaining due to conflict of interest on some items F-1 items 2 &4. Perello has conflict District #13, so he can’t vote on item one or related contingency or even get involved in related discussion, per advice from City Attorney. Finally they/City Attorney decided they should abstain altogether from this agenda item.

Kaneko and Garcia won the bulk of the contracts, based on low bid and being qualified contractors. Service levels vary (see agenda matls.). Some districts have not picked a desired level of service and want to see what performance will be first. Some districts have capped levies, which force lower levels of services. Districts could opt for higher service levels but residents would need to organize and get 2/3 vote- difficult to accomplish. She received no feedback from districts desiring lower level of service. Examples- level A is weekly lawn mowing- B is every other week.

Public discussion

Steve Huber- Lives in district #12 Standard Pacific- he is representing Neighborhood Council chair on this. Realized they had irregularities in District. Thanks staff and consultant for great results- Burkhart and Perez (outside consultant who reorganized LMD system in the city). Actually  have 6 cul de sacs and one median. Level B is OK for now. Have 3 questions from Strawberry Fields- Is City taking over Summerfield district? Agenda calls for dissolution of this district. What happens to excessive funds left over? His district will have $6000 left over for future improvements

Michael Gleason- Glad this is report item and not consent agenda. Thanks to Burkhart for closing info gap. Questions/clarifications needed. Report leaves some things out. Annual tree trimming left out. Will it cost more> No fence maintenance? New contract is enforced, but has same scope of work. Objects to awarding/rewarding Kaneco for substandard service. City has not compelled performance., but is just lowering service level down to actual performance.

Larry Stein- His previous questions on maintenance not addressed. “Living wage” level is $15/hr. Non-LMD areas are paid via general fund. LMD residents must pay for. Why are they NOT being reimbursed?  Adjudication needed.

Jackie Tedeschi- Thanks to Pablo Perez and Sandra Burkhart. Pleased with he California Cove arrangement.

Al Velasquez- LMD’s have been total failure/disgrace. Biggest problem- generate so much revenue, which should be used to service districts. Why is so much used for administrative costs- 75%? Top-heavy. No company could stay in business that way.  Look at DellaRosa- used to be a beautiful; project- not now.

 

Flynn questioned 75% number. Nyhoff- that’s absurd. Burkhart- don’t know where that number came from, more like 10%. Will attempt to be transparent, track time to see where it is being spent. Perez- says it has been as high a 25% in some places, never higher. Flynn- things are changing (improving). Nyhoff thanked Pablo, Sherry (Attorney who worked on contracts). It was unmanaged before, not even mismanaged. Had to start all over again. Some medians still a mess- especially in general public areas Rose and Wooley). Some inequities due to non-LMD areas and LMD areas with some common usage.

 

Staff:

Sandra Burkhart- Standard Pacific- Engineers report wrong- need to add missing cul de sacs. Would have to be added to contract and  cost increased. Summerfield being dissolved- city will maintain. Excess funds go to District contingency funds/improvements or subsequent years, especially if “capped” districts. Re: Tree trimming- Annual tree trimming is a more involved process- pruning/thinning, which will make regular routine maintenance easier. Not considered routine maintenance. There is routine fence maintenance, but not repair/replace which, would be a separate bid with a fence company. Re: Stein question on non-LMD areas, referred to Pablo Perez. He says LMD’s were not required, now are/ But he did not address the adjudication question.

Council

Ramirez- Long road, not quite finished yet. Question for Burkhart- The tree issue for a specific resident are aphid infestation. Burkhardt- not routine- need pest control contract- need annual preventive maintenance- can be controlled, not eliminated.  Every Feb. or March. Ramirez- wrong kind of tree- Tipuama tree, also damages sidewalks.  Public Works drafting a tree policy- longer term issue. Ramirez- dissolution of some districts. Burkhart- it is a special assessment. Ramirez- dissolution of districts places costs on general fund. Nyhoff- it is an issue of general city vs. neighborhood benefit. Will be built into annual budget process. some will be outside  contracted vs, city employees. It is a legal matter which made them do this.

Madrigal- re: “F” level district. Does not get graffiti removed- is cost on city? Yes.

Flynn_ Landscape maintenance districts started (by state) in 1972 to enhance property values.  Mello Roos taxes are even higher, to maintain public facilities. There are complaints that it is overly burdensome, but people knowingly buy these properties.  Thanks to Gleason, Burkhart, Perez for their work on the LMD situation.

(Perello and MacDonald recused)

City attorney staffer- re: living wage policy must be posted prominently by employer. Contractors’ employees may complain  to city, which must investigate and can terminate contract. Contractor must pay treble damages and fines if found in the wrong

Vote on 1, 2, 3,4  Unanimous 3-0 (Perello/MacDonald Abstained)

 

City Manager Report- Budget hearings Monday and Wed. Another budget hearing June 13.

Civic alliance award- students work in city hall.

Ventura County longing association- tourism has positive impact on Oxnard. Continue to grow our brand.

Stronger sales tax revenue growth in Oxnard vs County.

 

Council comments

Madrigal- Attended downtown meeting 2 weesk ago. They are very anxious want council action to get Downtown things done. Want  a public rest room and homeless issues resolution, lights, tree trimming. Colonia neighborhood council- 28 crimes in 30 days- residents outraged, especially crimes near two elementary schools. Future road projects a concern, need.  Some Rose Park people there. Lack of action on Camino del Sole (to start later in June). Issues with trees. Want La Colonia LMD. Alleys cleaning.  Sidewalk ADA accessibility issues.

Ramirez- Need to find another venue for FEMA discussion. Congratulate former Mayor Manuel Lopez- now 90 years old. Re recall per Perello- Wastewater facility 70 years old,  5,.25% annual  increases needed to maintain facility. Madrigal- no on recall. Flynn- treated recall author with great respect, involved him, but super-majority of URAP voted increases. Noted D-day anniversary 6-6-1944.

MacDonalkd- Engaged with Epath Homeless solutions- trying to arrange a conference withe them- wholistic approach. Will talk Thursday.

 

Perello- Santa Clara sr-3 meeting. Environmental issue surfaced. Expanding landfill to add ten years to life-pass on cost to customers. FEMA meeting- so few people showed up considering impact. Short term rentals will become a big issue.

Flynn- getting into priority-based budgeting. Learned from Boulder CO. It is about choosing priorities, then making tough budgetary decisions to support them.  City has made progress in last 2 years. People wanted someone to hold accountable. This was taken care of through the election process (no one was removed). We can withstand any challenge if we’re “grounded.”

 

K. Information consent agenda

A large number of items (13) and contracts were approved with only minimal debate on the grounds that they weren’t controversial. Council must have agreed, as there was only minimal discussion and unanimous approval.

Discussion items 13 Madrigal. Good to have resource officers in schools., What about Ocean View School District? Declined, per Police Dept. Flynn in favor of officers in schools,-extremely successful, officers carefully selected to have maximum influence. Perello- reach out to Ocean View

Public speakers

Mike Gleason- K-4: Documentation for LMD’s. How numbers arrived at for city direct indirect costs/headcount? Some large capital improvement items with no explanation/backup. Some are large increases. What are they? should be supported by clearly defined documentation. No reason for reserves sitting there

K-9- 18 districts to dissolve- where will $1.1 million- where will it go, what will it be used for?  Burkhart- outside form did analysis. Costs include indirect cost allocation based on estimates. at year end will true up based upon time reports. Capital improvement and surplus analyses were done,  many set aside, + contingency (but Gleason said she didn’t specify in report where it would be spent). Re: district dissolution, after the end of year and transactions all clear within 6 months, they will determine fund distribution. Perello- who will decide? Atty.  Fischer- law says goes to general fund. Then Council decides how to spend.

Ramirez- Item 12- contribution $200K  to housing trust to support affordable housing in county,

Vote on items- Unanimous Council 5-0 + 2 housing commissioners- 7-0

 

L-1- Banking agreement with Bank of America for $360,000

Treasurer Phil Molina presented- B of A, Bank of the West and Wells Fargo were finalists. Analyzed costs per item, , volumes, monthly items. VC Tax Collector Steve Hintz looked over, approved.  Quotes were close. Merchant fees and loyalty credits swung it to B of A.

Treasury has increased amount of investment from $111 million to $186 million and reduced short term daily bank balances from $40 million to only $2mm, a 95% reduction, which reduced short term interest, but greatly increased longer term returns at higher rates.

They would like to pass interchange credit card fees on to users of cards. Molina put that question to the council .These interchange fees are about $236,000 annually. Credit card revenue is about 10%.

Public Speaker
Al Velasquez- re $40,000,00 reduced to $2mm- question- where is $38MM invested and what is return on it?  What about credit cards- $254,000/annually? City is paying via general fund (NOT enterprise funds). Molina response- now invested at .oo89 return vs idle money in bank acct.  Enterprise funds are 47% of budget. Nyhoff-credit card issue is not agendized. Cover at later date- needs further analysis. Who is using credit cards and for what? It would save ratepayers money to charge back these card service fees to card users.

Council:

MacDonald- we have only been taking credit cards a year or so.

Ramirez- credit cards save staff time? Helpful to customers. Is debit card same fee? If you pay property tax to county via credit card, you are charged a convenience fee. Molina- Much more cash transactions than credit cards.

Perello- Numbers are confusing. Question- City of Oxnard absorbing credit card costs- what is cost? Re slide 6 interchange fee- $254,000 from city’s pocket. $698/day.  Paid on the backs of other residents of city. We should pass it along like the county does.

Flynn- decision to how to bill interchange fees does not affect this agenda item. Let’s vote. Credit card issue should be addressed separately.

Public speaker

Jackie Tedeshi- Wants credit card issue on future agenda.

 

Vote- 4-1. Perello wants credit card issue addressed. Should have waited for resolution.

 

Flynn- Credit card fee issue will be referred to Finance committee

 

L-2 Blanket PO 6260- Shell Fleet card services 7-1-17-n7-1-18 $2,500,000, gas and car washes. 6th year extension on existing contract.

Perello- how are gas prices and escalation agreed upon? How is price determined? Answer:  6 cents per gallon price pump discount on diesel, 2 cents on gas.  (Shell has one of highest pump prices around vs Arco, etc?)

Resident Al Velasquez- Fuel is hard to save money on unless you have storage facility. No distributor can guarantee price due to price volatility. Only minor pump price discount.

They weren’t the lowest bidder.  There was a dispute with lowest bidder. Need multiple sites to minimize driving, which Shell offers.

Vote 5-0 for.

 

L-3- 15 CNG refuse collection trucks for $4,851,760 10 residential loaders, 2 front end loaders and 3 haulers

Existing vehicles average 12 years- maintenance costs rising, need alternative fuel vehicles.  Would enhance collection efficiency.  MacDonald says CNG not subject to gas taxes. Ramirez- healthier, better for air quality. We are in a dirty air area, 50% of pollution comes from vehicles.

 

Public speaker

Al Velasquez- Re natural gas. what type of engines? Did you get competitive bids natgas vs diesel vs. other dealers??  Life expectancy comparison? He has experience with million mile trucks. What is warrantee/guarantee? Council should be able to see other bids.

The staff guy couldn’t tell us mileage. Thinks it is 300,000-400,000 to 1 million miles. Fleet bidding handles negotiations. Piggybacking on City of LA bids. Working since 2015.  we were told that these trucks will soon no longer be available and new ones cost $30,000 more..

 

MacDonald- past experience with CNG didn’t work well. New ones do, designed to run only on CNG.

City Clerk Michelle Ascencion– vote on approval for purchase of vehicles. Next week vote on master agreement with Bank of America (left out this week by oversight)

Vote- Unanimous 5-0

 

L-4- Supplemental waste transfer hauling service from Del Norte solid waste facility via Ecology Auto Parts from $2,100,000 to $2,900,000 ($800,000 increase).

Used to fill in when City trucks are down or employees short, also fluctuation of volume and permit problems (must transfer within 48 hrs.)

Daily average- hauler handles 37% of total volume.

Will issue new RFP late Summer/early fall. Anticipate contracts to  multiple haulers.

Public speakers:

Al Velasquez- 35-40% increase. has there been an increase in volume? How many additional trips to justify. How justify $800,000 increase.

Pat Brown- These trucks are unusual. Sides are bowed out.

Staff/Council:

Dan Rydberg- Public Works Director- Those are our trucks breaking down, not theirs. Also some peak load situations. Also, an alternate hauler backed out.  Not many haulers available- makes sense to do most of our own. City is recycling more, filling trucks better, increased green recycling. Have cut down 1o-15%.

Flynn- This is the most cost-effective option. As we recycle more, then less trash to be hauled off to landfill. Probably getting real good deal. Want to increase trash that we recycle- improving, encourage that. Get better trucks/trailers.

Ramirez- some questions strain credibility. Waiting for master plan for Environmental Resources. Continue investing for city’s health.

Perello- Agreement is reasonable. They must haul trash to earn this amount. Our trucks are loaded to limit. Want to maximize our truck use, use vendor for the rest.

Env. Resources staff guy- trailers are loaded very carefully, weighed out- 80,000 lb gross eight maximum. 21-22 ton average load.

Vote- Unanimous 5-0

 

L-5 Heritage Square Agreement for City use of common areas through FY 2019-20 at $25,000 per year.

Presented by Kymberly Horner who heralded 25th year of Summer Concert series. Development of Heritage Square started 1991, with Redevelopment authority and private investors,. Historical buildings were moved on site Heritage Square is a business park , originally composed of 154 structures. City and Successor agency own 4 buildings, the are private.

Horner said this is a $34,000/yr reduction

 

Public speaker

Steve Nash- Conflict of interest laws have grown too complex, limits participation of people closet/most knpowledegable to the situation.

Council:

Perello-why rent reduced so much?  Horner: $59,000/yr was very generous. We decided on 3 years contract, revisit in 3 years. Will beef up program. Will keep two properties, use some of savings to promote the Square.

Vote- Unanimous 5-0

 

 

Meeting info:

City Council Meeting June  6, 2017 – 05:00 PM Agenda

Video will follow HERE

Oxnard to consider 2017/18 budget, many contracts

Oxnard to consider 2017/18 budget, many contracts

By George Miller- On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 5 PM, the Oxnard City Council will consider approval of many contracts for landscape maintenance and other neighborhood level services, as well as Landscaping Maintenance Districts assessments and special tax levies for Community Facilities Districts and more.  They will also consider: nuisance abatement fees, Recovery of Civil Citation […]

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


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