Oxnard City Council Passes Controversial Budget; 6 Month Reprieve for PACC; Gets New Golf Course Operator; Approves Assessment District Fees

City Manager Alex Nguyen had a major impact on helping to force priority decisions on the budget

By George Miller

After much debate spanning multiple past meetings, The Oxnard Council at its six hour June 18 meeting finally approved a budget (item J-1) with major cuts to address what has become a structural deficit. Reductions in staff occurred in multiple areas. The general fund will be $141,567,529 + $23,782,900 for the Measure O half-cent sales tax. The Housing Authority budget is $29 million, mostly state/federal grants. The grand total budget is $490,871,955, which includes $192,354,010 for the Enterprise funds.

With the efforts of City Manager Alex Nguyen, staff and Council follow through, there was less kicking the can down the road than in past years. The golf course will have a new operator with a new contract approach with improved incentives to perform.  The Council gave the Performing Arts Center a six month reprieve to find a way to stay open with new funding and ideas.  They pulled the plug on the Carnegie Art Museum, but saved the Colonia Library with significant cuts and outside funding.

If anything was done to stem lawsuits/legal costs, we weren’t made aware of it.

New maintenance district assessments were approved for Mandalay Beach and the Waterways, which are hugely underfunded due to mind-boggling deferred maintenance on 45+ year-old seawalls in Mandalay Bay. Long time Neighborhood Council leader Mike Gleason, who has spoken out on maintenance district mismanagement and helped force an audit and reforms, said his neighborhood was never contacted about proposed expenditures, so please remove from agenda and address later. Staff disagreed.

The City gave exclusive negotiating rights for redevelopment to Madison Park Financial Corporation regarding the (city owned, former) Social Security Building (425 South B Street), the 538 South B Street parking lot, and associated parcels in downtown. The reason given was that two previous RFP’s have fizzled. It’s a major City priority to get downtown redeveloped and little progress has been made.

The Council also approved a proposal for Clear Channel and Outfront Foster Interstate to do billboards on city property, with a few reservations.

Meeting AGENDA ,VIDEO

 

Meeting details below ….

 

C- Public Comments I(items not on the agenda)

Keith Allen Valdez- Claims air pollution chemicals from cell phones have harmed his hands. Wants restrictions on public cell phone use.

Larry Barbieri-  Commended city clerk and congratulated on her son graduating HS (Barbieri was one of his teachers). Last budget meeting was edgy- 1st Amendment full bore. Noted Tienanmen, D-Day anniversary, but did not specifically link it to the budget negotiations. Wondered whether development money was also supposed to go to the flood control levies.

 

H- Information Consent Agenda

Approved (see agenda materials)

 

I- City Manager Report (None- it has been all about the budget recently)

Council comments

Perello- Thanks for Vineyard Ave paving contract. Lamented passing of Dr Charles Baehr-= St John’s and hospice work. Budget cuts are serious work, but must now be done.

Ramirez- Went to Carnegie meeting- thanks for those who helped Carnegie and thank for efforts to keep it open.

 

I-1- Public Works Department
SUBJECT: Adoption of Resolution to Levy the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Assessments in Mandalay
Beach Maintenance District (MAD 4). (5/5/5)

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council acting as the legislative body for the Mandalay
Beach Maintenance District (MAD 4):
1. Hold a public hearing to receive public testimony regarding the proposed Fiscal Year 2019-2020
assessments for the Mandalay Beach Maintenance District; and
2. Adopt a resolution fixing the special assessments in the Mandalay Beach Maintenance District
for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

Approved

I-2- SUBJECT: Adoption of Resolution Approving Engineer’s Report and Ordering the Levy and
Collection of Assessments for the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Within the City’s Landscape Maintenance
Districts. (5/5/5)

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council acting as the legislative body for the City’s
Landscape Maintenance Districts;
1. Hold a public hearing to receive public testimony regarding the proposed Fiscal Year 2019-2020
assessments in the City’s Landscape Maintenance Districts, and
2. Adopt a resolution approving the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Consolidated Engineer’s Report and
ordering the levy and collection of assessments (Attachment 1) for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 within
the City’s Landscape Maintenance Districts pursuant to the Landscaping and Lighting Act of 1972.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

Public Comments

Mike Gleason- Says neighborhood was never contacted about proposed expenditures. Please remove from agenda. Address later.

City rep disagreed and said they were informed and that expenditures are vital, especially for lighting. No reserves available.

Council Comments

Basua- is it true an audit was done and note released? Atty Fischer- Council has not authorized disclosure.

Vote-  (Perello wants audit released, Flynn said that  this closed session would not be released, per Council majority vote. Council members may view but not disclose publicly.). Fisher- a potential litigation issue. ( There have been numerous complaints in the past about refusal to make the audit public).

Vote- Passed 7-0

 

I-3-Public Works Department
SUBJECT: Adoption of Resolution to Levy Waterways Maintenance District Assessments for
Fiscal Year 2019-20. (5/5/5)

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council, acting as the legislative body for the Waterways
Maintenance Assessment District:
1. Hold a public hearing regarding proposed assessments for the Waterways Maintenance District
for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, and
2. Adopt a resolution (Attachment 1) for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 fixing assessments for the
Waterways Maintenance District.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

Comes to $491,000

Public Comments

Debbie Mitchell (Mandalay Bay resident and civic activist)- Completely ridiculous budget- hope this is the last time.  This is NOT enough to take care of our area. It will cost millions more long term not to protect our assets (she is speaking of the deteriorating seawalls, which have estimates of $55-150 million in deferred maintenance. The City owns the seawalls and has dragged out negotiations/actions for at least 14 years, seemingly having no incentive to resolve the situation. In the meantime, the risk of catastrophic failure and major liabilities grows and grows. We didn’t see anything about it in the budget or reserved liabilities).

Council Comments-

Flynn- Happy that community members were able to meet with MDS (consultant)- much work done by city and community. Did not say what happened.

Vote- approved 7-0

 

J-1- SUBJECT: Adoption of Fiscal Year 2019-20 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget. (15/20/20)

This was the big item of the evening.

RECOMMENDATION: 1. That the City Council adopt the following resolutions:
a. A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Oxnard Approving the City Operating and
Capital Improvement Budget for the Fiscal Year 2019-20;
b. A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Oxnard Amending Resolution Nos. 15205 and
15207, Authorizing Full-Time Equivalent Positions in the City Service Effective July 1, 2019 in
Accordance with the Operating and Capital Budget for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year;
c. A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Oxnard Amending Resolution Nos. 15,204 and
15,206 and Approving the Attached Classification and Salary Schedule Pursuant to Chapter 4 of the
City Personnel Rules and Regulations;
d. A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Oxnard Establishing Financial Management
Policies; and
e. A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Oxnard Establishing an Appropriation Limit for
the Fiscal Year 2019-2020; and
2. That the Housing Board of Commissioners adopt a Resolution of the Housing Authority of the
City of Oxnard Approving the Housing Authority’s Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.
Legislative Body: City Council, Housing Authority Board
Contact: Alexander Nguyen, (805) 385-7430

General Fund:

Revenue- $136.1 million

Expenses- -$145.3 million

Deficit-  $-9.2 million, if nothing was done

Per City Manager Alex Nguyen: We have a structural deficit problem. A revenue problem, not a spending problem. Not a lot of  frivolous spending, he said. We have to figure out how to increase revenues going forward. Must continue efficiency, restructuring, reductions.

Some changes (from agenda)

Keep the Colonia Boxing Gym and Colonia Library open for the same number of hours as they are currently open.
 Work with the Oxnard Performing Arts Center Corporation (OPACC), the nonprofit board of the Performing Arts and Convention Center (PACC), and use funding from the Half-Cent Sales Tax (Measure O) Fund, to allow for already-scheduled events at the PACC to take place through December 31, 2019. Additionally, prepare a request for proposals for a facility operator.
 Utilize $1,000,000 from the Measure O Fund to restore Fire Department overtime costs to keep Fire Station No. 2 fully operational.
 Confer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to solicit budget ideas for efficiencies, eliminations and reductions to operations.

 

The total recommended FY 2019-20 budget is $490,871,955, of which the General Fund is $141,567,529; Measure O
(Half-Cent Sales Tax) is $23,782,900; the Enterprise Funds in total are $192,354,010; Special Revenue/Other Funds
(including internal service funds, grants, landscape management districts, community facilities districts, and other funds)
are $104,164,660; and the Housing Authority is $29,002,856.

Major account budgets start on page 311 in the agenda materials.  Incredibly, it does not show last year vs this years and changes, making it difficult to readily do a comparison.

Looking at the personnel headcount tallies, a total of 32.5 reductions are to be made. Heaviest loads fell upon maintenance (-15), Community Services (-13.5)- includes Library, PACC (to be shut down), Recreation, Other City Services). Smaller reductions are in the police dept (-2), HR (-2), IT (-3), City Manager (-1),. Increases are slated for Community Development (+3), Public Works (+8). A total city workforce reduction from 1349 to 1312 is planned (-32.5).  This starts on page 317 of the agenda materials.

Source 6-18-18=9 Oxnard Council agenda. P. 369 in agenda. Details follow those pages.

The $29,000 from dropping the harbor fireworks show is being picked up by the new event sponsor- the local Port Hueneme pot shops.

It appears that priorities were on public safety and infrastructure first (although police took nearly a $1 million hit), with some other items being hit hard, some with long-term implications. Cultural and Community services took a $2.4+ million hit. Stuff supported by grants did better, such as Housing. Increases in the homeless  spending last year were continued and widely supported.  The entire Public Information Dept. was wiped out- not sure who will do their work or even what will still be done.

Measure O was tapped for another $1.4 million for $1MM in fire dept. overtime and $400,000 to keep the PACC going for another 6 months. Just today, the Treasurer had to get special permission to make the PACC payroll until that appropriation comes through.

Keep in mind that the $2.2MM Public Works savings is actually Enterprise Fund money which does not impact the General Fund.

General funds reserve policy is dropped from 18% to 12%, cutting it much closer and maybe causing problems with bond ratings.

Source Oxnard Council 6-18-19 agenda

We know that it took a huge amount of work/time to put this budget together and make the painful priority choices and cuts, including much cherished and beloved programs.

What we didn’t see enough of is revenue enhancement programs, hopefully without tax increases. Best sources of revenue are sales taxes, property taxes, hotel bed taxes, grants and business licenses. Due to pressure to make Oxnard MUCH more business friendly, the latter item becomes more difficult. We know that the city is working with industry to increase tourism. Making Oxnard more desirable to live in could result in higher home sales prices and more tax revenue and more shopping here. Bring in new industry and even more tourism is highly desirable. The effort underway to revamp development Dept. is key to more economic activity.

Public Comments

Larry Barberini- Need growth, reduce regulations, get businesses in and get that sales tax base for more revenue, cannabis, Pensions are biggest drain on budget- over promised, employees should pay more. There was a proposed hike in sales tax. Wean us off taxpayers paying for PACC, golf course, Tell state to stop taking our local money. Go after state, federal grants.

Lisa Cody- Structural deficit. Two of laid off workers are actually in Enterprise fund, not general funds. Asked to see city contracts to look for potential renegotiation. Contracts were not provided when they asked. Employees had good suggestions. Should have been asked for before layoff notices went out. Sales tax/Measure O revenues might have been underestimated.

Dan Carrillo- SEIU LOCAL 721 Director- He says there is no structural deficit. Seeks alternatives to layoffs. Sought employee ideas. No collaboration. Making decisions in guise of structural deficit. Violation of trust, Workers helped when Council was under attack. Don’t just save money- expand revenues.  Go back to the drawing table.

Juan Martinez- Assoc. Planner for City of Oxnard and on SEIU Local 721- Slash and burn approach will have devastating effect on the city. Stop the cuts to our community, We have submitted ideas for cost cutting and revenue enhancement. Protect front line services, city employees.

Dan Pinedo- You have a difficult decision- will make some people unhappy. Hope kicking the can down the road ends.  City is giving golf course operator $400,000 up front incentive, yet people are being let go. We keep borrowing from Measure O. Are these really “one-time” operations are will we do the same thing next year?

Luis Goreca- From City Public Information Office- His job was cut, life changing for him. 5 excellent, talented employees being laid off. Angry. Making one recommendation- treat your employees like family.  Have been bullied, mistreated, fed false information. Complained to HR, union. Rejected offer for transfer to another dept.

(inaudible)-  Lamented budget cuts of hardworking city workers and public who will be affected.

M Hinton- Mr. Blum stated that gift donations go to General Fund. Unacceptable- want to be able to designate them. Is the non-profit operating according to the law?

Lauraine Effress- Very emotional about budget cuts. Upset about putting money into this wretched golf course- led to DA investigation/grand jury said that spending was hidden from the public.  Threat of golf course being taken over by the homeless if closed was disingenuous. Cannot fund any longer. Want to keep the egalitarian PACC. County is only govt. operating golf courses properly. Don’t even need golf course

Peggy Rivera- Hope we never have to go through this again. Thanks for Mr., Nguyen for taking this over and to Councilwomen Basua.

Lucy Cartagena- We were fighting after Limon shooting and raising issues, just like now. Drastic cuts being made,. Alex (Nguyen)has no connection here. Only Basua stood up and spoke up. Every time something comes up, you use the City attorney to force going ahead. No accountability, no transparency, won’t release info to the public.  All these people are being laid off and for what?

Maricela Hancock- How is this city going to revitalize fdowntown like they said they would? It’s hard with an exploding homeless population destroying downtown with crime, trash, defecation, urination, What is the city thinking? Taken over Plaza Park. City efforts will bring more problems to the City, Should have better location for homeless shelter-NOT in a residential area. Specifically aggressive druggies are a major problem.

Adam Vega- Community Organizer- Cuts to Parks and Recreation- Cutting jobs increases reliance on toxic pesticides/herbicides. Brandon Anderson Packed House  described as a carpetbagger using the city.

Diane  – Community Organizer- Disappointed with disrespect to her community. People  are losing their jobs. Oxnard already has a reputation for being dirty. Now people who keep it clean are being eliminated. Doesn’t want the PACC shut down. “You guys” (Council) dropped the ball. We will remember.

Larry Stein- Have been hearing for years we have no money. Seem to have no problem for large overtime expenditures. Many are making $100,000+ in overtime alone. How many being eliminated from CityCorp, how many of those will end up in criminal justice system? City Attorney helps keep the public from seeing information. City failed to to pay Social Security for 700 employees for 15 years. You say you have no money, but are sending $700K to golf course and other questionable expenditures.

Ray Blutel- This like Theater of the Walking Dead. Re: Fire Station 2 cuts: Basua pleaded for Measure O Money. What’s this about overtime proposed appropriation? Over $5MM for overtime for public safety alone,

Angel Garcia- Vice Chair of Valley Council- Seeking job- City offered him a job- but City only has a two star rating to work there.  Reviews pan management, direction. Dependency on Measure O is alarming.  What about all the workers being laid off and public information dept being eliminated?

Pat Brown- Advised people on how to look for new careers. (Angel, meet Pat)

 

City answers to questions raised: City officials assured people that the City was attempting to help laid off employees find jobs and that Well Fargo accounts were not experiencing “leakage” from unauthorized withdraws. Perello asked the question again “in light of Wells Fargo’s recent history”. Questioned about Golf course- We are trying to make revenue from it in the future. This is an enterprise fund, not general fund. Re: overtime vs Fire Station 2 “brownout.” Nguyen- asked all depts to find savings and revenue enhancement. Public safety eats up lion’s share of general fund, for good reasons. Overtime is best opportunity for reduction, Overtime is a tool.  Must cover vacation and injury leave with overtime. We could have more than enough professional if we had the money. Overtime is actually cheaper in our case.  It is not being abused.  Homeless population has been exploding. Seeking permanent shelter elsewhere. Re: reliance on Measure O- it is a voter approved general tax.- has been a godsend.

Council Comments

Madrigal- Haven’t been able to work with the management team and get something done for the neighborhood- Library and boxing gym cuts affect the most disadvantaged segment of the public. Unfair to the community and downright disgusting.  City will look like trash, like S—. Every time I’ve reached out for donations, people say “as long a sit doesn’t go  to the city.” Leaves him with no other choice but to vote no on the budget. Heart of the city is its employees.

Basua- How much money put aside and where for golf course? A- $1.7MM Q: Where? Where is it coming from? Fund 651- General fund development funds. Agrees with Carrillo that city just goes out and did budget cuts.  Outraged by the treatment of the public information guy who spoke earlier

Ramirez- Some employees treated  poorly. Poor communications. Asked for budget 101 training. Some staff recommendations wonderful, but some impossible. Don’t think we can get around cuts.  Fire station 2 brownout a big concern, but will be covered by Measure O. PAC has not received needed attention, reserves. There is a seismic safety issue. Re: homeless- upset about landlords who don’t want them. N. Oxnard homeowners paying a lot for services. Received many complaints about Carnegie Museum shutdown. Please donate. PAC being extended for 6 months before shutdown. Seek new operator for it.  Being a City Manager is very political. Mr. Nguyen committed to Oxnard, bought a home here. Must make difficult budget decisions now. (At this point, Mayor Flynn called Larry Stein out of order for interruptions)

MacDonald- Spent 30 days going through budget. 20.000 account fund line items. Bond money goes to a third party (Wells Fargo) as trustee. Must request /justify fund reimbursement. satisfied that this is working based on his understanding and examples he investigated. Saving Library, Colonia Boxing gym at a lower level. Wish we could delay the budget for six months, but doesn’t see how it can be done. Not fond of this budget, but will likely support it. What makes this city great are its employees.

Perello- Comment about the holocaust was out of line (compared it to budget cuts). Staff questions: re: Lucy Cartegena about having the wrong people up there. Well, these are the people you’ve got. Difficult decisions. Some comments just wrong., Some people misinformed. Treasurer has made some strong statements about money valuable- will he speak on it? Apparently yes:

… Treasurer Moliina- Measure O is squarely in the  general Fund. $40MM balance (some is borrowed against). In 2014, Council authorized moving Golf Course into General Fund. So general Fund money IS being used for Golf Course. There WERE 70 Wells Fargo  accts. May be fewer. Meeting on this now. Some money SHOULD have been drawn down but was not.  Maybe hold up on layoffs until you look at fund balances. Disturbed about consultant reports which are only delivered in closed sessions. It IS public info and needs to be provided to the public.

(I later talked to Molina and then ran into Councilman Perello at Costco on Thursday. He said he gave Molina no notice before calling on him at the meeting, was pleased (looked VERY pleased) at what Molina said and info he later sent to him).

Info follows:

—–Original Message—–
From: Molina, Phillip <phillip.molina@oxnard.org>
Sent: Wed, Jun 19, 2019 11:03 am
Subject: Fwd:

Councilman Perello:

I wish you had informed me you would ask the question about how much of the $17 million budget that was presented to the Measure O Committee is discretionary and how much is mandatory expenditures, because I would have brought this with me to read to you (see my email to the ACM below).

What is a question to me now is, why does the current budget show $23,782,900 of Measure O revenue and Budgeted Expenditures for the next fiscal year, but the budget presented to the Measure O committee only identified $17,940,000  of budgeted expenditures?

Now look at the budget presentation made to Council last night. $17.94 + $3.63 = $21.57 million. So what is the $2,210,000. difference for?

Respectfully,

Phillip S. Molina

Oxnard City Treasurer

This message, and any of its attachments, is intended for you, and it may contain information that is special which should be made available to the public. As a recipient of this email under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution aka Freedom of speech amendment, please feel free to read this message. Money was one of the major causes of the American Revolution. The colonists did not approve being taxed and not having input on how their taxes were used. They immediately began a boycott of British goods aka the tea party. It is your right to know how your tax dollars are being spent.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Molina, Phillip <phillip.molina@oxnard.org>
Date: Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 5:24 PM
Subject: Re:
To: Klima, Shiri <shiri.klima@oxnard.org>
Cc: Donna Ventura <Donna.ventura@oxnard.org>, Kevin Riper <kevin.riper@oxnard.org>, Alexander Nguyen <alexander.nguyen@oxnard.org>

 

Shiri, ACM

Wow, you ask tough questions that should be asked verbally to give an elected official time to cogitate.

Ok so if we look at the Measure O Committee budget, there are specific line items that refer to ‘debt service payments’. It seems to me that if the city truly has a legal commitment to make bond, payments for principal and interest for those items that specific amount could be defined as ‘committed’ and the specific indenture documents would be referred included in the CAFR notes for each bond issue sold. However, when I looked at the Measure O Committee budget I believe I counted about $4 million of the total proposed 19-20 budget of $17,744,926. Now assuming these items shown in the box below really represent ‘annual debt service payments’ against bonds sold on the market that amount should be identified as restricted or committed.

purpose  listed annual debt
fire st 8  $ 1,389,869.00
fire truck 1  $    169,182.00
handheld radios  $      54,968.00
dispatch consoles  $    319,677.00
fire truck 2  $    229,932.00
street 2014 rev bonds  $ 1,666,425.00
Total annual debt pmt  $ 3,830,053.00

The balance of the budget is not ‘committed’ or ‘restricted’ but available for council to spend as they want, of course unless you have specific council approved bond debt indenture agreements that control other items listed.  For example I do not recall selling bonds to purchase Fire Truck 1 or 2 so that isn’t an annual debt service payment, but it is a decision of the Council whether to approve the acquisition of truck 1 and or 1 and 2. Likewise I don’t recall a bond issue sold to acquire dispatch consoles, or handheld radios. If I am correct those items should not be listed as debt and would reduce the amount in the ‘committed’ and ‘restricted’ fund balance.

Respectfully,

Phillip S. Molina

Oxnard City Treasurer

 

 

(meeting continued) …

Flynn called protesting Lucy Cartegena  out of order and threatened to eject her.

Perello- Treasurer Molina, how would YOU do it? You are making the priority decisions., Maybe instead of a police academy this year, spend on employees. Postpone some expenditures, look for other sources.

Lopez- Long, emotional budget review. Really hard decisions.  These are steps we need to take to protect employees. Asked if there is  a special recall list for laid off employees. Nguyen- yes within 2 years. Lopez- What about application of donations? Nguyen- the 501C3 nonprofit addresses that. Lopez- Lessons to be learned. May or may not have to look at a sales tax or expanding local cannabis industry.

Flynn- Council determines priorities, not the management. Need to start budget process earlier. Have waited for this day since he was first elected. Employees not raised in past because of what you heard today. This has been a 5 years process and we are turning the corner, but it may get worse yet first. still some very difficult decisions, Thanked Nguyen for helping him prepare  for tough decisions., His conscience is clear, will support this budget. Still wants to start priority=based budgeting (which he has promoted for 5+ years)/.

MacDonald- If we don’t move forward, this budget is adopted by default. we need to correct issues.

Basua- Mr Nguyen, re: SEIU suggestions- do you feel that with a few more months you could save 1-3 jobs?: Nguyen: no.

Vote- 6-1 to approve, with Madrigal dissenting. (Housing items- 7-1)

 

J-2- SUBJECT: Exclusive Negotiation Agreements between the City of Oxnard and Clear Channel
Outdoor, LLC and between the City of Oxnard and Outfront Foster Interstate, LLC, both regarding
potential digital billboard sites on City-owned property and rights-of-way along U.S. Highway 101.
(5/10/5)

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council authorize the Mayor to:
1. Execute the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement between the City of Oxnard and Clear Channel
Outdoor, LLC regarding potential digital billboard sites on City-owned property and rights-of-way
on the north side of U.S. Highway 101 between Rose Avenue and Del Norte Boulevard and the
south side of U.S. Highway 101 between Vineyard Avenue and Rice Avenue; and
2. Execute the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement between the City of Oxnard and Outfront Foster
Interstate, LLC regarding potential digital billboard sites adjacent to RiverPark Boulevard near
Vineyard Avenue (APNs 132-003-301; 132-031-106; and 132-031-107) and City-owned property
and right-of-way on the north side of U.S. Highway 101 the Santa Clara River and Rose Avenue.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Ashley Golden, (805) 385-7478

Everyone seemed to welcome the revenue, but some were concerned about billboard unsightliness, content, even objecting to gun show advertising. Clear Channel rep said they would be willing to talk about tyhese concerns.

Mayor Flynn Flynn- engage in responsible advertising, re gun show ads.

Asst. City Mgr. Ashley Golden- Will be speaking to all issues raised by the Council/

Public Comments

(unidentified)- What kind of messages are we putting out there. Do we have control over that? What image will we portray? Light pollution?

Bagel Teran- Keep in mind that we are one of the last cities in SoCal with billboards. Especially those near low income billboards. Don’t want to step on commercial interests but want a say in billboard content. This will be drivers’ first impression of the city. Says billboards are not an effective means of advertising.

Pat Brown- Were trying to eliminate billboards 10 years ago. Spoke of a neglected billboard at 5 Points area. Have too many billboards. Lower ones attract graffiti.

Stacey Miller (Clear Channel Rep)- Look forward to working with city to modernize, monitor. Flynn- Your client doesn’t accept some advertising?  Miller- Do not accept “Adult” content, can negotiate content.

Vote- 7-0 unanimous approval.

 

J-3- SUBJECT: Performing Arts Center Agreement Extension. (10/10/15)

RECOMMENDATION: That City Council:
Approves and authorizes the Mayor to execute a fourth amendment of the Agreement (A-5904)
between the City and the non-profit Oxnard Performing Arts Center Corporation in an amount not
to exceed $410,000 for the operation, maintenance, and management of the Performing Arts and
Convention Center, which includes deposits received for events scheduled through December 31,
2019.
Legislative Body: City Council

Contact: Ashley Golden, (805) 385-7478

The PACC is actually run as a 501C nonprofit, but is heavily subsidized at $761K- $2.7MM annually , a significant drain on the city’s resources.  The City Manager proposed closing it down, but reached a proposed compromise to fund it with $410K to keep it open until year end. The PACC board is seeking out additional funding to continue to operate. The City is seeking a new operator for the PACC to run it without subsidies.

Public Comment

Pat Brown- Lamented PACC situation. Talked about new jobs for people

Zachary Collins- Recent HS grad. Had graduation at the PACC. Needs updating. All of his friends go to events there. Doesn’t want it closed.

Larry Stein- Re: $40MM Measure O balance per Phil Molina. Mayor Flynn called this out as off subject, Stein argued, to no avail.

Gary Blum (PACC Bd Chair)- On board 18 years, he said. Board was primarily driven by City Council. Very short meetings, The six month extension is the right thing. It’s unique in meeting needs. Did increase programming and obtained more grants. Applauded the city for its direction.

Council Comments

Ramirez- Has been on the boards- a bit of a conflict of interest. Thinks future board should not have council members,. Said Chelsea Reynolds has done excellent job.

Flynn- Six month extension does give PACC new life. Certain realities to this business. praised Mgr, Chelsea Reynolds. Collectively find away outside of government to run a self-sustainable PACC.

Vote- Passed 7-0 unanimously

 

J-4-SUBJECT: Exclusive Negotiation Agreement between the City of Oxnard, the Parking Authority of
the City of Oxnard and Madison Park Financial Corporation regarding the Social Security Building
(425 South B Street), the 538 South B Street parking lot, and associated parcels in downtown
Oxnard. (5/10/5)

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council and the Board of the Parking Authority of the City
of Oxnard authorize the Mayor and Chair, respectively, to execute the Exclusive Negotiation
Agreement with Madison Park Financial Corporation regarding the Social Security Building (425
South B Street), the 538 South B Street parking lot; and associated parcels in downtown Oxnard
(202-010-121, 202-010-122, 202-010-125, 202-010-127, 202-010-129, 202-010-131, 202-010-133,
202-010-135, 202-010-141, 202-010-143, 201-010-510, 201-010-512, 201-010-517, 201-010-519,
201-010-520, 201-010-521, 201-010-522, 201-010-523, 201-010-524 and 201-010-526).
Legislative Body: City Council, Parking Authority
Contact: Jeffrey Lambert, (805) 385-7882

The city has been trying  to dispose of the old Social Security building for years. Multiple NGO’s have asked to use it. It is currently under the Redevelopment  Agency. Have been unable to locate qualified RFP’s. So, hence this approach.

Madison Park has a proven record of mixed use infill redevelopment. city says. Development would be under city rules, with purchase terms to be negotiated.

Public Comments

Pat Brown- Want to see downtown completely redone, with lots of entertainment, stores tat stay open, stores for shoppers, people on vacation, far more dressed up, without metal garage doors , etc.  Want Social Security building for the arts. Don’t want high rises around art gallery.

Larry Stein- Part of Social Security building was paid for by the Housing Fund- should be paid back.

Council Comment

Flynn- even though this is an exclusive negotiation, thee have been two previous RFP calls.

Ramirez- concerned about another recession.

Vote- 7-0 passed unanimously

 

J-5- SUBJECT: Award Agreement with American Golf Corporation to Operate the River Ridge Golf
Course. (10/5/5)

This has been dragging out for years, with finally at least some resolution here.

RECOMMENDATION: That City Council:
1. Approve the fee-for-service management agreement between American Golf Corporation (AGC)
and the City of Oxnard (City) for the management, operation and maintenance of River Ridge Golf
Club (RRGC) with no General Fund subsidy for a three-year term with options to renew for two
additional one-year terms, exercised at the sole discretion of the City, and
2. Exempt the golf course from the City’s Living Wage Policy.
(Note: This staff report has been revised from the June 11th Committee staff report to address
concerns raised by the public and the Committee.)
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Rosemarie Gaglione, (805) 385-8055

ABC spokesman

There was much protest earlier in the evening  about the $400,000 bonus to be paid to the operator. City has a large capital infrastructure in the golf course. City would pay for capital improvements. May suspend living wage provisions (this was later nixed). Current operator agreement terminates next month. Objective is to stem deficits/subsidies while keeping the golf course operating.

Gross revenues are around $4MM. Banquets kept subsidies from being worse. Deficits have dropped to $922K. Operator will purchase one of he city water wells and pay for it via development fees. We didn’t hear any guarantees of elimination of subsidies, but operator would forfeit incentive fees in deficit years.

Seven qualified proposals were received. Selected operator ABC is largest golf course operator in CA. Could save $103-188K/annually. (that would leave a large deficit).  Subscription membership-players club for a monthly fee, increases average members rounds by 5X..

City Attorney Fischer- changes were made in agreement (may not be shown in linked agenda), re: practice field vs main golf facility.  City leases part of the golf course. Review procedure was modified to a monthly review. Best efforts bases, with notice of cost overruns. Standard prevailing wage provisions. Operates Saticoy course with 950 members and one in Valencia with 2000. Being cooler here in the summer is an advantage and will attract members from surrounding hotter locations. Will work with Visit Oxnard. New general manager would be a local.

Public Comments

Ray Blutel- General Fund 651 seems to have golf course funds, but we were told there was no money. $1.565 mm left in Wagon Wheel Development fund. What will it do when that is gone? Why not just rent then the course and let them run it and pay everything?  No limits on deficits?What about full public financial disclosure?

Teresa S- Live near gold course- avid golfer.  Glad it can be kept open, appreciate efforts.

Linda Calderone- Trying to save money for the city. It’s so cold in back of room. What if new operator doesn’t perform? Why pay base and incentive fee? No one knows what revenues will be.

Anita Smith- Thanks for biting the bullet, making the hard decisions. Golf Course contract not perfect- happy that it is short term. People living on golf course are happy, have ideas for the course.

Larry Stein- Re: living wage policy- costs $130K/yr. Rent should cover capital expense and debt service.  Bonus should be paid only after these. Golf course is part of general fund.

Dan Pinedo- Says committee did not vote to send this to council to vet? (confirmed)

Angel Garcia- Commend dept/council for involving private sector. Council should be vigilant in monitoring contract.

Susan Sykes- With River Ridge/High Tide and Green Grass (current operator). Excited by American Golf taking over and providing business support- has great resources.

Lucy Cartegena- Do we own or lease the golf course (city leases part of it).  Arrangement doesn’t fit community. Wants living wage. Taking away soccer/football fields. They (operator) get free water, free stuff.

Alicia Percell- This contract does have subsidies, without limitations. Initial subsidy is $500K. Why is this needed? Will sell water well for $135K- worth much more. How was value of well determined?  Water rate payers will subsidize general fund.\

Aaron Starr -Tx to Rosemary Gaglione for writing letter  that we must keep all water revenues in water fund. Taking the well value from  water fund to the general fund.  What about value of water rights of 250 acre feet per year? Transferred this value at zero. Makes water ratepayers pay for more expensive imported water. I don’t think you can legally do this.

Tom Garcia- What’s the next thing golf course could be transformed to- urban forest, park, green space?

Council Comments

Flynn- Chair recommended that this go without vetting. Why are we saying this isn’t being subsidized? CFO- it’s in general fund group, but not account 101, but 651. Golf course development fees not an inexhaustible source of funds.  Flynn- why an incentive fee? Asst. City Mgr. Klimer- Industry standard, incentivize them to bring in more revenue. Flynn- we lease some land on landfill.  Why not sell? Would sell very low.  Klima- want to make more profitable first. Well is not potable water- more like agricultural water.

Lopez- Want living wage policy.

Perello- Many shenanigans in golf course history. He likened management of the golf course to a baby sitter wanting money to take kids to a movie. Supports living wage.

MacDonald- Supports living wage. Contract came without recommendation because we are on a very short timeline. agrees with incentive.

Ramirez-  We have to look out for the entire city. Important to people who bought a home on a golf course. It can potentially do better. We need better understanding of city finance/budget. I support this , but with living wage.

Basua- who decided development fees would be used for golf course? Fisher- Wagon Wheel development  agreement includes several types of dev fees. Basua- Will it last three years (duration of contract)? Klima- no, but revenue should. We could look for another operator or operate it ourselves. I recommend going with a reputable operator.

Madrigal- would vote no.

Flynn- had only one issue with golf course, Operator ran since 1994. How would city know its financial position without bidding it out? Now we know better. Wanted this three years  ago. Now, it’s a last minute deal.  This is the best chance for it to be financially successful. Neighbors were buying homes on a golf course.  Supports contract.

Vote- 6-1 to approve, with Madrigal dissenting  (Not exempt this agreement from living wage)

Meeting adjourned.

See details: https://www.oxnard.org/city-council-meetings/

 


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

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2 Responses to Oxnard City Council Passes Controversial Budget; 6 Month Reprieve for PACC; Gets New Golf Course Operator; Approves Assessment District Fees

  1. Tom June 23, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    The city council is always stressing how important transparency is. Prior to the council meeting on May 21, 2019 the meeting videos had an index that allowed the viewer to go immediately to the subject of interest. Since then, although the index icon is still present, it is inoperative, forcing the user to manually search for the subject.

    What is the pay of a city council member? According to the CITY OF OXNARD CLASSIFICATION AND SALARY LISTING EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2019, the biweekly pay of a council member is $1,701.01 and the annual pay is $20,412.08. If the biweekly amount is correct, the annual pay is $44,226.26. If the annual pay amount is correct, the biweekly pay is $785.08.

    Reply
    • Citizen Reporter June 23, 2019 at 11:23 pm

      I complained to the City Clerk about that over a month ago. She told me that was a short term situation until the new agenda system is in place. But it persists. They could at least put the page numbers in the agenda. I have to go through agendi up to 800+ pages to find info to do our city council articles.

      Reply

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