Oxnard Budgeting process grinds closer to approval

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New Oxnard City Manager Greg Nyhoff participates in his first City Council meeting here. He may already be influencing the budgeting process.

By George Miller

The City Council further sharpened budget spending priorities at the June 3 meeting (Agenda item K-1). The $358 million total was pared down from initial projections and is now actually 2% lower than last year’s.  Mayor Tim Flynn outlined 10 priorities in a letter he presented, which he said incorporated thoughts of others.  While the approach falls considerably short of the formal “Priority-Based Budgeting” previously described, it is a big picture, macro approach. The Mayor told us that new City Manager Gregg Nyhoff is already having a positive influence on the process.

Mayor Flynn’s 2014-2015 Budget Priorities

  1. PERFORMANCE/PRIORITY BASED BUDGETING FY 2015-2017 Direct the City Manager to begin process in the early FALL, 2014
  2. 3-YEAR STREET REPAVING PLAN Embrace a plan to pave all residential neighborhood streets in three years.
  3. 5-YEAR SAVINGS PLAN Establish a 5 year plan to restore the council established 18% general fund reserve.
  4. RESTORE NEEDED STAFF POSITIONS Prioritize and determine which staff positions should be restored the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
  5. COST SAVINGS Direct the budget team to devise 5% cost savings in every department without lowering service levels.
  6. GOLF CONTRACT Conduct a competitive bidding process for the golf course, restructure current golf contract and approve a debt restructuring plan.
  7. REVITALIZE PAC Hire a PAC director and approve a debt restructuring plan for the Performing Arts Center.
  8. REVITALIZE EDCO Require a swift transition and new funding plan for EDCO.  Prioritize the recruitment of new higher paying jobs as the top priority for EDCO.
  9. CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT Invite citizen advisory groups, Neighborhood Councils, members of the public and all city staff to come up with ideas on how to grow city revenues without raising taxes.
  10. CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS Restore funding for the most vital capital improvement projects in the city.

To read a previous letter from Mayor Flynn stating some goals and intentions HERE

When asked on Friday why his priorities letter didn’t highlight any public safety spending priorities, The Mayor told us that Oxnard PD is already fully funded and staffed, but he hoped to see certain programs implemented with that funding, such as reinstatement of gang injunctions.

Finance Director James Cameron’s presentation focused on perceived issues in “Cameron’s budget issues” figure below. Here’s his presentation:

Document: Fiscal Year 2014-15 Recommended Budget (pdf 113KB)

Finance Director James Cameron presents budget

Finance Director James Cameron presents budget

CameronBudgetDelta

Cameron’s budget issues

He stated that it’s too late in the budget cycle to master and implement Priority-Based Budgeting, but most players seem to be committed to starting it in September through March for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Cameron discussed plans for addressing the golf course and Performing Arts Center debts/deficits, as well as rebuilding the deficient city reserve fund. He didn’t tackle the public works side in his presentation.

Mayor ProTem Ramirez mostly agrees with Mayor Flynn’s letter, was concerned about Golf Course debt payoff and subsequent prospects, wants Nyhoff to do a staffing review, reinforced that Performing Arts Center is a great asset here to stay, keep utilizing and turn around golf course. She is concerned about infrastructure needs. Cameron responded that debt service is the biggest enterprise financial problem. The landfill obligations, overhead, low revenues are all concerns.  Padilla agreed about addressing enterprise deficits. Skeptical about the 5% cost savings, was not clear where city stands fiscally. Perello was concerned about capital improvements- infrastructure is vital to the city. Needed to know where we stand financially and what we need. Infrastructure repairs and improvements were not brought out on a timely basis. He wants to use retired resident advisers. We are in danger of program cuts if there are funding shortfalls.

2015 Budget Pie

 

Name Date Duration Agenda Minutes Video
City Council Meeting June 3, 2014 06h 09m Agenda Minutes Video

 

See our last article on Oxnard budget.

There will be another budget hearing on June 10.

Upcoming Events
Name Date Agenda
City Council Meeting June 10, 2014 – 6:00 PM
4:30 PM Public Hearing
View Agenda

 

The City’s goal is to approve the budget at the June 17 meeting.

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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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