Oxnard city budget, meeting July 9, 2013

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By George Miller

July 8, 2013

– Major Budget hearing July 9, 6 P.M., at City Hall, followed by City Council meeting

– $567mm in proposed, approved capital spending -10 years (will be higher)

– $346MM 2014, $426MM 2015 budget (vs. $349mm 2012-13)

The Oxnard City Council has gone through a series of long, often tedious, detailed budget discussion meetings, in preparation for a July 9 budget hearing (read AGENDA), when they may attempt to vote on and adopt a budget.  The proposed budget is in the order of $364MM in 2013-14 and $426MM in 2014-15, a huge increase.  Most of that increase is for badly need capital projects, which had been deferred.

OxnardBudgetStudy

Every department has prepared and delivered presentations, outlining proposed priorities, challenges, description of plans and budget numbers. Most have covered staffing issues.  There is a great deal of deferred maintenance and also an accumulating shortfall of water supplies which has resulted in a lower and lower water table. One thing which really stood out is the number of vacant positions, in some cases up to 20% of some departments.  We will publish a separate article on that. There are great variances in the quality and depth of the departments’ presentations, which has been sometimes been noted by councilmen and meeting attendees.

Proposed budget 2013-14, 2014-15

Budget Page (web site)

Last year’s budget recommendations, for comparison purposes:

The FY 2012-13 budget is recommended at $348.9 million, a decrease of $19.4 million from the
prior fiscal year. The recommended budget consists of:
General Funds                                      $108,737,658
Measure O                                                    6 ,823,460
Special Revenue Funds                          27,742,011
Other Governmental Funds                 13,472,565
Enterprise Funds                                    97,936,440
Housing Authority                                 24,657,974
Internal Service Funds                         26,599,256
Capital Improvements                             8,616,781
Debt Service                                             34,328,781
Total Recommended Budget      $348,914,926

One thing that has been a problem is that some departments did not make their presentations available in advance, as needed. Most are in PowerPoint format, distilled into “PDF” formats, readable by most Citizens’ computer systems. You can find some of these in past meeting agendas.  Hopefully department heads will get them all on line shortly. Otherwise, try the City Clerk or department heads.

Overview

  • Sessions are rather detailed and a pretty good attempt to show Citizens what is going on.
  • An overall capital spending plan was approved unanimously last week, covering about $567 million dollars over multiple years.In the sessions attended by Citizens Journal reporters, expenses were discussed, but there was no comprehensive presentation of revenue amounts and sources.  Multiple speakers pointed this out.  Finance Director Cameron got up and said it would be addressed.
    • Biggest portions are for water, wastewater processing and streets. Those are high priority with an evident high degree of consensus, but not necessarily on approach and implementation. 37% is unfunded, per discussions at 7/2/13 meeting.
    • It was evident that not everything was in there. For instance, Mr. Cameron, Finance Director, stated that a new overall IT system is needed. Because of major spending constraints in recent years, it wasn’t even considered. But, now, the city is saddled with a “twenty year old system,” based upon “Windows 95,” an obsolete system.  Departments and third party inter-operability, information accessibility, Internet access, data analysis and automation are all constrained by its limitations. This is affecting customer service, city efficiency and effectiveness, according to Mr. Cameron and multiple others on the City Council and staff who have addressed this in the past. For example, the Developmental Services Department would like to automate certain permitting and other operations, but would find that quite expensive and difficult to accomplish with current tools Levee and J Street canal not included in budget.
    • Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez sought assurances that the capital appropriations budget “isn’t cast in stone.” The City Attorney assured her it was not.
  • Although there was some discussion of indebtedness, particularly new obligations required to fund major projects, City staff made no comprehensive presentation on overall bond/notes debt, time frames/maturities, conditions, nor a matching to revenue sources to fund debt service and principal retirement.  Councilman McDonald requested a report on all outstanding bonds. Note that there is no projected increase in debt service 2014-15, suggesting no new debt and no increase in effective rates.
  • We’re also not clear on the grand totals of federal, state and other grants. It would be helpful to provide a schedule of those, what budget line items they fund, and what conditions apply.
  • No budget financial analysis would be complete without the CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report). Read  Previous Oxnard CAFR‘s.
  • Based on the above and disagreements on priorities, it is questionable whether the budget is ready for approval this week.

 

Pre-June 25 Meeting Video by Oxnard Major Tim Flynn:

2013 Meeting Schedule  PDF file – 111 KB

Meeting Agendas, Archives and Minutes

 

“GREAT” Program- Major Water Treatment Project- 10 years- $220 Million Groundwater,  a major budget item

Oxnard CC 076

 

2013 Meeting Schedule  PDF file – 111 KB

Meeting Agendas, Archives and Minutes

 

“GREAT” Program- Major Water Treatment Project- 10 years- $220 Million Groundwater,  a major budget item

Oxnard CC 076

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