By Doug Partello
At last night’s Oxnard City Council Meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 6, in a 6-1 vote, Bert Perello the dissenting vote, they approved a pool in South Oxnard for $53.8 million. $40 million will be bonded out in a 30 year loan, with a total interest of $28 million, at 4%. $8.8 million unfunded at this time.
This pool started out as a $14 million project, then grew to $30M, then $40M, and now a total of $82M. They received $5M in state grant money, which is now being used in the initial plans for the pool. There is a $8.8M gap in funding, that Alex Nguyen, City Manager, says they will seek from the Federal government. $40 million will be a bond measure.
There were about 12 folks that spoke up in favor of the pool, and two against; Larry Stein, and Doug Partello. When asked about the operating costs, which will be significant, the Public Works Director, Michael Wolfe, and the contractor had no answer. Very, very expensive.
River Park residents were asking the assessment district manager, who works for the City, about putting in a pool in their neighborhood at a RP Neighborhood Council meeting. He told them to not do it, too expensive to maintain.
A huge aquatic center to be built in the midst of a twenty-year drought, does that make sense to anyone? The evaporative loss of water will be significant during extreme restrictions. We have $323 million in unfunded pension debt to the state, crumbling infrastructure, including sea walls, sewer system, and poor roads and alleys, unkept medians, and public space landscaping and parks that are not safe.
The bond for the pool will likely take away possible bond funding for those seawalls, the flood levy at RiverPark, fire station, and other needed infrastructure items, that provide for the health and safety of the community. This was Bert Perello’s main concern in voting no.
Then there is the Monarch butterfly nesting trees being only 50 yards from the pool location. The Monarch just made the endangered species list. It is unknown the effect of the chlorine, and other chemical vapors coming off the pool how that will affect the butterflies. Will they even keep the trees, or cut them down?
A pool we cannot afford, and maintain, with so much debt already, and basic needs for infrastructure not met, how does this make sense? If the roof of your house is leaking, the plumbing is bad, the yard is a mess, credit card maxed out, would you put a very expensive pool in the backyard?