Oxnard Budget meeting 6-7-17

By George Miller

There was a another budget hearing on Wednesday, 6-7-17., following the previous Monday session. Covered were: Public Works, City Clerk, City Manager, Public Works- Water, Wastewater/Stormwater, maintenance, Environmental Services, Finance, Cultural Services, Measure O

There was a budget hearing on 6-13-17 and  a vote on the budget is planned for the 6-20-17 meeting.

We were told that this would be a priority-based budgeting process this year. However, we didn’t see  a debate on priorities, or at least a public airing of these, prior to this presentation.

There is a 9% increase in the proposed budget along with another $5 million in “budget augmentations.”  The meeting attendance was very light- almost all city employees.

 

NAME DATE DURATION AGENDA     VIDEO
City Council Meeting – SPECIAL Jun 7, 2017 05h 31m Agenda   Video
Document: C1 Presentation (PDF 4Mb)
Document: C-1 Budget Augmentation Request (PDF 454kb)

Housing- Arturo Casillas, Director

 

Housing authority- 61 people, Housing Dept.-9 people

Quality of Life • Address homelessness through the development and implementation of a multi-tiered strategy • Strengthen neighborhood development, and connect City, community and culture. • Create a renewed focus on establishing a positive outlook and orientation of our City, neighborhoods and overall community. • Also Infrastructure & Organizational Effectiveness

Non-Housing authority portion

Estimated
FY 2016-2017 FY         2017-2018
City Grants
CDBG $2,346,349        $2,031,034
HOME $ 695,832          $ 636,249
HESG $ 191,905          $ 216,508
Total Grants: $3,234,086 $2,883,791
General Fund $ 505,821 $ 250,000
NSP $ 120,000          $ 120,000

Public speaker:

Steve Nash- Sorry to see that budget is down. Federal grants may cease altogether. Criticized uninformed speakers.

Council:

Madrigal- Re: Las Cortes, what is ultimate 260 unit completion date?  Casillas- 8/2018

Ramirez- Thanks to Housing staff. Want more discussion on the homeless, for shelter, services. County tends to provide services. Warming shelter necessary- lots of money for little- people need more. What  about monitoring of first time buyer loans? Casillas- annual monitoring of everyone, paid for in General Fund.  Per Ruth Osuna- monitoring actually funded by CDBG.

MacDonald- $600,000 shortfall in 2018- how woill this impact the program. Casillas- Not a big impact- much done with previous allocations. Must assess, address shortfall, needs.

Nyhoff- all have 10-15% allowances for administration. Must appropriately designate cost allocations of people. He will recommend an additional $250,000. Have funded up to $360,000 in past. Will keep everything funded- the same for manpower. General fund pays for monitoring. Won’t be cutting positions.

Perello- Helping people in need- food, shelter roof over your head is a big deal. Re: winter warming shelter. Homeless keep increasing. Why not have one agency to distribute everything for efficiency? Oxnard, especially downtown, impacted heavily by homeless. Rents continually rising. Wants serious rent control discussion. Casillas responded that there is a variety of agencies for a variety of needs- cited some.

Flynn- Residents need safe, decent, affordable housing. Have about 5500 affordable housing units of 55,000 total. Need 45-50%.. Need programs to have people become self-sufficient.  Increase income, self-sufficiency, move out of public housing to free it up for others in need. Casillas- have 3 coordinators to do just that and bring other resources to bear, including down payments.  Flynn- need housing committee. Need to set goals- how many people can we help make self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency should be a top priority. Casillas- we have a 20 year tradition of doing that. Flynn- don’t know what will happen on the federal level re: eliminating block grants. Thinks it is a negotiating strategy and will just reduce it. Senate won’t allow elimination. 50% plausible. General fund can’t absorb that. Casillas expects 10% reduction, but 2018-19 may be significant reduction. What does city do vs. nonprofits? What can nonprofits provide? Casillas says it is much more expensive for nonprofits to do that in -house.  Good work getting federal funding.

Perello- If major federal cuts, what are your priorities for saving programs- “Plan B?”  Casillas- would prorate for “fairness.”

Nyhoff- This was not the whole housing authority (next Tuesday), not just General Fund portion. What would decisions be if they cut 10-20% from federal funding?

Housing Commissioner- how many 1st time home buyers? Casillas- 26 and then said something in Spanish.

 

Public works- utilities, non-utilities- streets, parks

Public Works Director Rydberg-

Daniel Rydberg, Interim Water Dept. Director

Converting 72 LBE positions to F/T and 29 new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget presentation did not compare with prior years.

Drought reduced water, wastewater revenue

Much deferred maintenance, capital projects

MRF transition worked well, some regulatory compliance work needed.

New wastewater standards

More water provided to Ag users.

Integrated master plan in work.

Next year focus more on parks, streets

Replace systems, automate more- software

Pursuing grants.

Comprehensive CIP plan, sustainability plan.

New budget structure, time splits

3 key management positions open of 9

Many vacant positions overall.

Rydberg feels salaries aren’t competitive. May have to focus more on junior hires, developing people in-house.  It is a nationwide shortage. Internship programs will help. Focus on training for certifications. Unions shave programs too.  Hard to get people interested in public works careers, especially water, wastewater. Need to get people exposed to the field.

Nyhoff- Capital improvement package won’t be done for 6 months.

Maintenance Art Gutierrez

Art Gutierrez, Interim Maintenance Director

Facility & Plant, Park, Street, and Fleet Maintenance

103 employees- 15 vacancies + 43 LBE’s= 146 total

500,000 sq ft maintenance facilities space

432 miles of streets, 6 miles alleyways, signs, street markings. Aging facilities and infrastructure, much deferred maintenance and capital projects.

Over 36,000 graffiti vandalisms

Council/City Manager:

Madrigal- Tree trimming budget? $91/tree? Gutierrez- need funding first

Ramirez-  Sidewalks., streets, trees most complaints.  Glad to see LBE- Limited Benefit Employees- conversions. What will be impact of LMD dissolution which will increase city workload? Are we understaffed for this?  Especially trees.

Gutierrez- 33 employees to be moved from LBE to regular.  Currently short-staffed. To move more lighting to LED.

Nyhoff we are way behind in tree trimming and general labor.Was much unspent money in labor- not moved around to get work done.  Do we need 3-4 tree trimmers?  Need plan for contract vs employees.

Flynn- road medians look terrible- gone from C to F.

 

Environmental Services- James Torrez, Interim Division Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consists of collections, MRF, Transfer & Operations

Goals- Replace refuse trucks, sorting equipment, aging infrastructure, achieve regulatory compliance and conversion of LBE employees, increase diversion rate, 311 work orders- propose 3700, 200,000 tons a year transferred to landfills.

 

Council:

MacDonald- Recycled material customers more discriminating in what material they will take and what they will pay for it. Is trash volume reduced? Gutierrez- Oxnard material preferred. 1200 tons/day- about the same. Can new automated sorting equipment be used for all incoming material?  Gutierrez- yes.

Ramirez- need better public education, especially to reduce packaging, improve handling of green waste, reduce illegal dumping, encourage people to bring things to recycling center or have crew pick up things in bulk. Gutierrez- green waste less than 1%. Work with apartment complex management. Don’t know who is doing illegal dumping.

Madrigal- How many new employees would be used for 311 app- cleanup, etc/ Gutierrez- approx 16 in 4 teams.  Get word out about recycling “how to” via City channel ads. Reaching out to grade schools, providing facility tours and education. They go home and teach their parents.

Flynn- Individuals rummaging through recycle cans (unauthorized stealing). Lack of manpower to deal with this. MRF undergoing an amazing transformation. Env Resources turned around, money saved- $2mm annually over private operator charges.

 

Water, Dan Rydberg

$20 MM to replace meters, corrosion protection, computer system Key vacancies

56 employees

Rate increase will prevent fund depletion.

 

Council:

Madrigal- do failing meters adversely increase bills?  Rydberg- no, usually under read if defective.

Ramirez- Conserve, keep up water quality- ours is good. Bottled water expensive, not better. any danger from Pipes?

Rydberg we don’t use hazardous materials in our pipes. Residents, buildings another issue.

Perello- Re: Flint,. MI. Water changes leached out lead. New meters will be polymer or stainless- no lead. New testing requirements.

Flynn- Concerned about water costs. Purchased water is 28% of budget. SoCal is semi-arid climate. How did recent rainfall affect underground aquifers? Rydberg- Did not have a huge impact. Flynn- what about adding water to aquifer?  Rydberg- First step is to recycle 100% of wastewater which requires doubling of capacity. Then find other water source-  storm water, then ocean desalination.  Flynn- re: capital outlay. Complained about “people (Aaron Starr?) scrutinizing every line item of wastewater budget.” Adding more desalination capacity- 30,000 acre feet. Rydberg- still updating business plan to do so, Also regulatory, technical changes affect this.  (in other words, cost is not yet known.) Groundwater drawing will have to be reduced 25-30%. 60-70% of our water will significantly increase in price.  try to hold down amount/cost of imported water.  Flynn- GREAT program (desalination)    6 MM gallons/day/7000 acre feet. Would need to increase wastewater capacity. Or get ocean or brackish ground water,

 

Wastewater – Thien Ng, Manager

 

Consists of wastewater and stormwater

Maintenance, collection, stormwater, source control, operations

Shortage of trained, experience employees

Collection system.

We are under state average for spills.

Focus change from emergency repairs to capital improvement’

New maintenance management system. Improve SCADA system

Projected revenue $36 MM vs $34 MM expenses ($30.9 w/o emergency repairs).

Wastewater permit expires next year. Renewal process ongoing,

Stormwater $1.3 MM, via  General fund.

Wastewater 78 people

438 miles of sewer lines

2.5 years to clean all lines vs 5 years regulatory requirement. Avoids line decay and odor,

Council:

Ramirez- Deferred maintenance, precarious situation. We have gone over this many times in past,. thanks for keeping it going. We hope to improve things.

Perello- Re: Levies- need repair, 6000 homes at potential risk. SCR-3 first phase under construction- habitat issues in staging areas. Nesting birds.  Has seen drying of biosolids. Must be covered. Adds to water  in landfill- technical issues.   Best is to spread on landfill.

Public speaker:

Daniel Chavez, Jr,- Glad to see improvements will be done. How compatible is new equipment with older equipment. Much dates back to 1950’s extremely old technology. Cost of waste transport to landfill. Why not dry out solid waste before transport like Thousand Oaks does? Ng. Replace all like equipment to ensure compatibility. Waste hauling annual budget about $1.4MM.

 

Jim Throop- Finance Director- 

Announced Dan Purcell- new Assistant CFO

 

 

General Accounting, Budgets, Purchasing, Utilities finance

Goals- Clean CAFR by November, adders all 111 audit findings, fixed assets, 5 year CIP, new finance system, new cart of accounts, balanced budget, grant reimbursements completed sooner, monthly posting to financial reports online, be more transparent, strengthen support functions, centralize purchasing, expand buyers (only have 2) , upgrade purchasing management, update purchasing policy.

Plan to use Dave Millican (Finance Director who retired for health reasons) to work on resolving audit findings.

Currently in process on Impact Fees, Cost of Service Study, Fixed Asset Valuation.

Says HTE (Oxnard’s software system for Finance and other applications) is dying software. Hasn’t been sold in many years. Sungard (original vendor) no longer exists. Software may no longer be supported. Should be replaced.

Said Oxnard has gone from 111 (unfavorable) audit findings to only 4 now.  Huge improvement.

 

Cultural and Community Services, Ingrid Hardy, Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PACC (Performing arts Center) revenue projected at $792K up 56%

Use of Cultural Resources is discretionary, as opposed to most other city services.

Carnegie Museum revenue up

Free PACC events?

Budget augmentation:

Eliminate library passport services

55 employees and 300 extra help employees

Total PACC budget about $2mm.  revenue target $792,00, leaving a$1.2 mm subsidy required.

Council:

Flynn Lauded Citicorp, lamented dropping passport services, but sees why

MacDonald- regrets dropping Library services

Several Council members noted improvements in PACC and its importance, deplored how rundown it became, complimented CityCorp.

Now implementing Jr. City Corps at Haycox Elementary School/

Nyhoff- Lauded City Corp and Hardy’s, Chelsea’s  efforts. Sees improvement in PACC.

 

 

While the $5.3 million budget is a substantial decrease from last year’s $6 MM adjusted  amount, it is still a significant increase over last yea’s $4.5 MM estimated number. IT is looking for additions in the form of a Financial Services Manager ($140,000/yr)., Geographic Information System Technician ($80,000), Security Systems Analysis III ($115,000/yr) and a Programmer Analyst- Web Designer ($105,000)- $440000 total.

Council:

MacDonald- appreciates importance,

Ramirez, Madrigal- Thanks for great work

Perello- 311 fantastic. re: Financial Services Mgr.- when do we have too many people with too many fingers in the pot- why done in non-financial areas. Answer-  Not in budget.

Flynn- IT neglected for along time. Likes augmentation, seeing all systems in city integrated (even if it seems “Orwellian”). Makes things run smoother.

Nyhoff- Finances need to be centralized.

 

Human Resources, Steve Navreau, Director

Budget is flat, no major increase.

 

Council:

Ramirez- Employee evaluation proper now? Going to cyclical annual evaluation system., with competency model.

Perello-  Workers comp savings good. How do you  compare competency model compared to what we were doing?  Navreau- what is actually requited to do job vs competencies. What kind of training needed?

Flynn- 200 vacancies?  Navreau- yes. Flynn- Light at end of tunnel?  197 hired or promoted- 50 were external hires, Must replace promoted people,. takes time. recruiting now fully staffed. use temp agency to augment- feeder to f/t hire.

 

 

City Manger, Greg Nyhoff

 

Presented by Jesús Nava, Assistant City Manager

 

Major priorities cited were to implement organizational assessment recommendations, support the Inter-Neighborhood Council, implement priority-based budgeting , update the legislative program, establish internal audit program (and whistleblower hotline), provide “dashboard” type reporting.  and provide timely info and communications to the community and business.

Council:

Madrigal

Flynn- Need fiber optic technology to get sharper images to households- need upgrading. Slides hard to read.  Have RCA monitors for council members- antiquated.  Would like to know what meeting viewership is. Nava- Do poweroints via computer vs camera.

 

Cit Clerk, Michelle Ascension

 

3 employees (a vacancy now for Asst.)

Coordinated election, transitioned to new City Clerk, processed resolutions, ordinances, statements, agendas, minutes, etc.

 

Goals: Utilize information technology- Records management system, search capability, records retention schedule, agenda subscription service, website transparency, agenda mgmt software, form 700 filing software.

Update policies and procedures- Citizen Advisory Groups, administrative policies. Some are 40+ years old. Some not formally defined. Get agendas published more on time- 76% next year. Fulfill PRA’s to 75% within 10 days.

 

 

Council:

Madrigal- Thanks for 100% effort

Ramirez- ditto

MacDonald- Glad you’re looking at new software. I have shown you agenda hotlinks from other boards I sit on. Glad you’re here.

Perello- thanks. Why agendas late?Ascension- Presentation matls most often late. Re: Public requests for info- software available to help? How do you expedite?  Ascension- depends on complexity of request- usually go directly to staff member. Hope you can get policies/procedures done more quickly than policy/procedures committee. Should be one central place for agendas/docs posting.  Good job on last election.

Flynn- Work you have done has made significant difference.  You have brought more transparency. What further measures can we take to do that- finance via Measure O? Ideas from previous place you’ve worked. How get info to public, including committee meetings.

 

Measure O- City Manager Greg Nyhoff

Held off non-urgent items when credit rating was downgraded, but kept park items in Measure O. Project that there will be $5MM left at end of FY + another $3 MM next year for a total  of $8MM. Plans to continue with ongoing cost and look at news ones in July, for  a more extensive conversation.  This hasn’t gone through Measure O oversight committee. Why was not explained/

Council:

Ramirez- I have a better idea today than in  a long time on budget

Perello- Measure O is part of general fund, may need due to lawsuits. Should address in July.

Looked at past expenses. This is a bare bones. $12MM

 

Budget augmentations

$3.9MM  for Measure O

Perello- Measure O was sold for a purpose, but it is really General Fund. Maybe we should revisit with voters and see if they want it more defined via an initiative. Measure O has a deadline.

Flynn- we have exceeded the categories that were originally established. Changing needs and circumstances.  Like Perello’s suggestion.

 

Nyhoff- we need another 2 hr meeting before presenting to the public.

Flynn- would like to do it all at once. maybe start earlier on the day of the public hearing to sort out open issues.

Madrigal- Has conflict on Monday- cultural arts committee

Nyhoff- how about starting  on 4:30 on Tuesday instead.

Perello- prefers meeting a day before to digest.maybe even postpone council meeting. Avoid doing at the last minute.

Flynn-likes Tuesday 4:30 start idea.  Will do that.  Public please note!

 

Past article:

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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