Oxnard Council: Homeless Shelter Tentatively Approved; Ormond Beach Power Plant May Stay Open

By George Miller

At the 11-19-19 Oxnard Council meeting, The council approved a lease for a permanent homeless shelter on 1258 Saviers Road, subject to a very short 90 day contingency and public outreach period.

City Manager Nguyen announced his intention to negotiate an extension in operations of the  Ormond Beach power plant in exchange for dismantling and mitigating the site upon final shutdown. It seems that the state has finally realized that they have maneuvered themselves into a projected shortage of reliable power in the future. Public/private pressure shut down the Mandalay plant early and blocked  a new high efficiency clean gas power plant replacement at the Mandalay site.

Casa Pacifica was lauded for its 25th anniversary of serving the community. They help at-risk youth, troubled families and even build houses for the poor.

 

Meeting VIDEO, AGENDA

Proposed site for Oxnard permanent homeless shelter, marked at 1258 Saviers Road, a former retail store,

Agenda Item F- Public comments on items not on the agenda
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Ray Blutel- Community service committee is reviewing PACC (Performing Arts and Convention Center) operations. One party wants $400,000 another wants a management fee. No subsidies wanted here, but isn’t the golf course subsidized at about $800,000 a year? Are you (city) using Wagon Wheel money for this? Please find a way to keep PACC open.
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Luis Garcia- Speed of Amtrak train is dangerous. Gonzales, Vineyard and Rice are all hazardous locations for likely accidents. 104 train accident deaths last year. City hasn’t responded to his concerns.

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Lang Martinez.

Lang Martinez- Former homeless guy, made commitment to change, advocates accountability. Challenged the city assessment of homeless in Plaza Park, shelter budget of $900,000. Goal to clean up Plaza Park by Labor Day hasn’t happened.  Joked that shelter even has a dog track, many residents there have income, but aren’t paying. Shelter has a cleaning service, but residents don’t clean it themselves. Referred to his multiple articles written for CitizensJournal.us
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Rev. Greg Runyon- Met with Mayor on Saturday. Flynn says we need to have some “nice,” get along with people we don’t agree with. We’re different. Used his fanship of Oakland Raiders to illustrate this. Deep down we’re all the same.
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Pat Brown- Need to get on with Oxnard downtown redevelopment. Start with now vacant auto wrecking yard. All kinds of plans for redevelopment, so why not just get on with it?
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Larry Stein- GREAT water recycling program became operational in 2012. At 7,000 acre-feet annually, it lacks economies of scale. Only has three customers. New homes need infrastructure impact fees, which are now too low. Still more housing being built without additional water capacity.
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Tom Garcia- President of Oxnard Downtown Lions Club- Wednesday 5:30 meeting at Oxnard Boys and Girls Club- pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Benefit Dinner Saturday at Tomas Cafe. Father has been unjustly accused, wants to speak with Council about it.
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Roberto Garcia- Wants meeting with City officials, to impart some very important info, which he did not specify. Wants City Attorney and Development Director there as well.
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G- City Manager Report
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Asst City Manger Ashley Golden- City mural project funding approved- $45,000 from downtown fund, another $45,000 from Arts in Public Places fund, approved by Arts Commission.
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Housing Director Emilio Ramirez says that Resident Service Program is doing very well and the mural will be submitted for a national merit award. It’s at Multi-Services Center. Center allows public housing residents to receive services for development and education. It features the new mural, still under production. It is the entire block wall and is being painted by kids- about 150 feet long. Several funding sources.
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City Mgr. Nguyen commented on the professionalism of the mural artists. Regarding Ormond Beach power plant: there is a statewide power reliability issue which may keep plants open. Possible operating extensions 1+1 year. Maybe more. There are many abandoned power plants in California. Alex wants to make an agreement in exchange to establish a trust fund for future dismantling/remediation for longer period. May require running the plant longer.
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Council Comments
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Vianey- Bryce Canyon area parking problems. Went to autonomous vehicles session. Met w/3 large commercial property owners about opportunities for creating a public square, like in Mexico.
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Perello- Happy Thanksgiving. Getting sarcastic emails about the arts funding. Toured Ventura County water agencies. The Calleguas facility was especially interesting- main pipe to Oxnard needs work. Made VC Star retract inaccurate article about PACC shutting down before. Lots of comments about police dept using drones for law enforcement- positive. Library board positions going begging- only one filled.
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Ramirez- Attended Ocean Protection Council, which granted $1MM to Nature Conservancy for a planning grant for Ormond Beach disposition. Employee Heather Danner honored for lifesaving. Concerned about poor pedestrian safety. Thanks to George Sandoval for Oxnard Film Society activity (we sometimes announce in our EVENTS section). Wants Medicare for all- wants resolution on the Council agenda.
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Basua- Attended early childhood lecture at Oxnard College. Attended investment policy meeting.
Madrigal- Spoke of Perello’s comments on medical services event, done by an Indian firm- 600+ people attended. Re: Murals- last 3 years project. Went to well-attended Friends of Library book sale.  Congratulated Oxnard High football coach Moreno.
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Flynn- Homeless challenge- new downtown restrictions went into effect.  Does not ban homeless, bans camping. Earmarked  more sources to downtown for police Dept. Progress on homeless shelter.
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K- Information Consent Agenda
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Items pulled for discussion:
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#8- FLSA- Fair Labor Standards act and other acronyms should be explained. Asst. City Mgr. Shari Klima says didn’t go committee due to urgency. Wastewater/Water Dept. positions pay VERY well- city will help you qualify- training available.
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#9- Staff verify license position. Who are the staff verified this. A: Procurement Project Coordinator. Also p 175- fiscal impact on unassigned pollution funds?
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#11- Mandalay seawall retrofit – what are we applying for this and other items ($7 million +). A: PW Director Galione asks for Council approval to seek grants, which require a 25% funding match.
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Public Comments
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Alicia Percell- Re: K-2 new policy/procedures manual. Not clear to average reader which rules can be amended by city council, which are state law? Changes are mandated from Roberts Rules of Order to Rosenberg’s rules (6 pages). Roberts Rules are far more comprehensive, well developed, widely used.  This constitutes va power grab by the Mayor. Rosenberg’s tends to cede to the meeting chair. Cedes rights.  I have offered free training to the Council numerous times.
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Flynn mocked power grab comments, saying that the committee system will help avoid this. Yet, Council often bypassed the committees. Claims state has touted Rosenberg. Called her comments “fallacious.”  City Atty  Fischer says page 7 provided for an appeal. Interesting, since Percell said it was  a 6 page document.  There would be a lot fewer rules to appeal. He also said Rosenberg is 6 pages vs 650 for Robert’s Rules.  
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Pat Brown- Re: Harbor & Wooley condo complex on K-4: This was a toxic dump before. – Ramirez – have cleared up site toxicity problems. Item K-6 Hwy 101/Rice Phase II project- what is it?
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Vote- Unanimously approved 7-0
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L-1- Oxnard Navigation Center Lease (In plain English- homeless shelter)
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Council to vote on approving lease, subject to 90 day contingency/public outreach period first.
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Per Housing Director Emilio Ramirez – after multiple attempts over multiple years, the site committee has finally found a recommended shelter site.  New site at 1258 Saviers Road, south of 5 Points, would have a 5 year lease $1,517,017. 110 bed low barrier (means few rules or requirements imposed on residents) shelter. $1.25 sq/ft- $21,875/month 3N (triple net lease) with 3% escalator, plus taxes, utilities and insurance; First right of refusal to buy is included. Exact improvement costs yet undetermined. $2mm/yr to operate. Estimated $1MM in improvements needed. 3 month cancellation terms in contingency period while approvals are pending. County will contribute- about half for improvements and operating costs.  The county has been very helpful.
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This is in the Cal Gisler neighborhood. They and nearby neighborhoods will be engaged, we were assured. Town hall meetings will occur in December and one in January.
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Ramirez went over the selection methodology/logic for nearby services/amenities, zoning, fundability, etc. 21 sites were considered. Many property owners did not want a homeless shelter. The city also competed with other businesses. 12 met the first cut list. The selected site could also be a permanent residence in the future. It is a 17,500 square ft open plan building which was formerly a retail store. He downplayed the nearby residential areas, but mentioned 2 nearby liquor stores.  There is a nearby pharmacy, groceries, bus stop.
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Mercy House is the future operator and is comfortable with the site, which is zoned C-2, needs special use permit, which development says likely no problem on.
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Current site at 351 K Street is 10,000 square feet, old, lacks improvements, has exterior shower/bath facilities (trainers). It has been 15 years in partial year operation. Site is located in the airport runway protection zone. County wants it shut down. This also inhibits funding.  This is why little money has been invested there. He thinks Saviers site is much better.
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A high percentage of residents are employed but homeless.
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The shelter (“Navigation Centre”) will provide meals, case mgmt, housing navigation, shower and laundry, year round.
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Homeless Commission voted 6-1 against a motion to not support site. They did not specifically vote to support it, either.
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Public Comments
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Alle Gonzales- Works next door to site. It’s an “iffy” area, lots of drug activity.  Not a good place. CVS is robbed daily. Storage units have a lot of valuable stuff, users wouldn’t feel safe. Liquor stores nearby.  Really opposed.
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Richard Tucker- Secretary-Treasurer of Cal Gisler neighborhood. Hadn’t heard a word about this, nor had anyone in neighborhood, or local businesses. Residential neighborhoods are as close as 100 feet. Harrington, and other schools close by. Housing Dept was just looking for a default site, We are really concerned about impact on the neighborhood. It’s down an alley, with poor emergency services access. Only 28 parking spaces. You won’t be able to go around there without being accosted by homeless, who have high percentage of addicts,
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Tom Cady- Chair of Business advocacy committee of Chamber of Commerce, which has no position on this yet. Need to face homeless challenge. Need permanent site.  Want to be part of the conversation. Need services, not just a heads and beds place. Boise court decision means we have to have a homeless shelter.
Meredith Hart- Ventura Safe and Clean Mgr- includes homeless shelter- Will reduce number of homeless on the street. New Ventura Shelter opens in January. Successfully working with Mercy House, which she says has a good record. Did MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with county in January.  Will partner with Oxnard (not sure what that means). 398 unsheltered of 555 homeless in Ventura. 55 beds in shelter.
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Christie Madden- With VC executive, agrees with Meredith.
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Paul Riley- Have a unit next store in Oxnard Business Park. We have been ripped off so many times. They cut 8′ chain link fence with barbed wire. Having more delinquents moving in will make it worse.
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Lucy Cartegena- City owns the armory and would not lose the county money, since they are only the funds administrator. We must pay 3 years in advance- with what money? City should not be intimidated to sign lease/move until consequences are determined. (Armory) land is not under airport jurisdiction. We have the Kingdom Center too. We do have sites.  This will take money from other important programs. (Ms. Cartegena promised us written comments to publish later).
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Amy Santiago- Opposed
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Francisco Y-   Commend staff work, know how hard it is to find a site. 7 years too long for a temporary site.
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Oquio O’Connell- Vice Chair of Homeless Commission- advocating for approval of site lease. No site is perfect, but this is close to amenities, large enough. Terms allow time for due diligence. A well-run shelter will not create problems for community. He cited K street (armory) facility and VC Rescue Mission as examples. Let’s fully evaluate this opportunity.
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Gabriel Teran- Fremont South Council Chair. Will submit letter. Some improvements over Armory site, but logistical problems exist. No deadline for pulling county funds from armory site. What about traffic, environmental considerations? Risk to pedestrians, cyclists. Parking and transportation- 45 minute bus ride to medical sites on Gonzales Road. How will this shelter site serve clients? Not well. Only gaining 10 beds. Need bigger.
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Pat Brown- Lives close by in 5 Points Neighborhood- residents there don’t want it. We’re already up to here (gestures) homeless problems- beggars, thieves, vandals. Need to move away further at least a couple of blocks. 28 parking spaces insufficient.
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Sal Gonzales- We are sponsoring student speakers contest on Homelessness in CA. for HS students. Only allowed to use armory site because it was part time temporary.  Search going on since 2006. Emilio’s selection well thought out.
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Darlene Miller- Supports site. Ashamed of former homeless commission- 13 years looking for a site, Now that we have someone who stepped up to it, he’s now being told off.
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City Officials
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Oxnard Homelessness Coordinator Mark Alvarado.

City Mgr. Nguyen- These are concerns we have been hearing day in and day aout about what SOME homeless people have been doing, when they live OUTDOORS. He says won’t be as bad with permanent residents living INSIDE. 1000% better. Shelter is a key component of what we have to do to address homelessness- a public health crisis. Any site has drawbacks. We have to site a shelter.  This is the easy part. Next comes Housing First program.
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Mark Alvarado- now issuing Section 8 housing vouchers. Some landlords are very resistant to accept homeless – he gave an example.
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Mayor Flynn- key challenge is outreach and challenges to shelter sites. There is a several month outreach period to councils/public. Mr Ramirez, please address concerns…..
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Emilio Ramirez- Have not yet launched community engagement process. 90 day contingency period.
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Basua- Nobody wants a homeless shelter in their back yard. Concerned about amount of money to rehab a building that doesn’t belong to the city. Is that fiscally responsible? Will owner pay for improvements? Director Ramirez- no unless they are to fix unsound defects. Basua- why are we paying taxes? Never saw before. Ramirez- standard triple net lease. We are not exempt, because it is a privately owned property.
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MacDonald- Some shelter residents are problematical. Gave examples, How can we address impact on surrounding area? I’m really nervous about that. How to deal with those who won’t  go in there?  There are other transportation approaches besides fixed route buses- more flexible- “micro transit routes.” He is less “anti” after hearing presentation. Parking a problem.  Not enthusiastic about cancellation terms. Maybe continue looking for site to buy as well as this rental.
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Lopez- Concerned about neighborhood impact. Want to see due diligence/outreach. How busy is that area- fast traffic. What public safety presence can we ensure will be there? Concerned about illegal activity in the area. Will this come back to council again for final review- Tuesday Feb 25 is deadline. Ramirez- we could have security company or police dept patrol the area. Nguyen- approval tonight is making it a 90% done deal. Backing out is unlikely. (So bottom line, this is being done without adequate public engagement and due diligence.)
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(Mayor Pro Tem) Ramirez- Supports.Problem is getting worse – here and elsewhere. Pets will be permitted. We need housing, jobs for residents. Mother and child cannot get housing even with funding. Homeless aren’t all mentally ill or thieves. Want to buy building. Saviers Road will be revitalized, but not with people living on the street.
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Madrigal- What was site that  fell though?-  Ramirez- 2 sites- one was a new office building/warehouse- 30,000 sq ft.  They withdrew- was on Pacific. Another one on (inaudible).  Gold Coast transit is opening up new routes/bus stops. Madrigal-  If flight zone prohibits armory occupancy, then what happens with PAL (Police Athletic League). What is asking rice of new bldg? Ramirez- $3.5 million. Madrigal- who could pull the plug on this deal? Ramirez- Me or City Mgr. Madrigal-  sees drug deals at abandoned Cortes project houses. He sees why people near the Saviers location are concerned.
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Perello-reviewed several issues previously discussed-  thefts, drug abuse, need to move out of armory, dearth of good sites, 90 day contingency period, possible problems with building.property. Doesn’t currently see an alternative. Can we stay in the armory?
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Flynn- No questions. This has been a very challenging job for Housing Dept/Commission. A very contentious issue.
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Emilio Ramirez- owners have negotiated in good faith, as has staff. Elsa could work on a Plan B. Will look into acquisition of site also. We will appraise to find market value.
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Vote- 5-2 to approve. Madrigal and Basua voted no. 
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L-2- Investment Summary
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Treasurer Phil Molina attempted to do a tutorial on investment strategy and underlying drivers while explaining investment status. Bottom line is that he assured us that the city’s $211 million in investments was in good hands and being managed per state rules and good financial practices, which are often compatible. He pointed out that falling interest rates have hurt returns.
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Perello expressed satisfaction with the presentation and results.
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L-3- Salary and benefits to executives and unrepresented employees
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HR Mgr. Mike Moore presented- He said that it constitutes a 7,54% increase over 3 years, for an estimated total increase in costs of $511 thousand. . Made agreement expiration June 30, 2022, same as other labor agreements. Nguyen said the total amount, which was not mentioned at the meeting, is already in the budget, nothing being hidden. Asst City Mgr,. Klima- we looked at what other cities do and did that. She said this was the fiscal impact of the change, not the whole cost. Perello- likes the idea of including total cost. Also said there were additional benefits added not in the original budget. Klima fought it. Said too much work. Flynn seemed to like the idea of including the total figure but not all the detail. MacDonald- Why move Confidential employees to SEIU but not represent them? To get same benefits. Wants to pull that paragraph (#4) until further study is done- Ramirez & Basua supported. Basua wants to know which job titles are being moved out. Wants to see compensation study results first also. Perello- would they be paying dues? Pull this item until this is cleared up. Klima- will roll out a partial class and comp study in January. Basua- who made and how was decision made.? Nguyen- Council decided under previous City Mgr. Agrees that there is insufficient information here. Basua would like to see affected employees meet with SEIU first. Nguyen- they wouldn’t actually be forced into union or paying dues. MacDonald moves pulling confidential portion out of this resolution. Klima- will come back to Council in December.  The paragraph was added by her, she said. Perello- there are matters we are out of compliance for, per past audits. 
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Public Comment
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Ray Blutel-  Labor costing and budget methodology does not represent base or core costs. Does not increase constant costs. I request TOTAL cost.
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Vote- Passed unanimously 7-0, deleting the diuputed section, to be taken up again next month.
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L-4- “Crucial” Water and wastewater Chemical purchases.
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These are chemicals the city must have to run water.wastewater utilities. Utilities Mgr said this contract is actually cheaper than the old one. 
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Award Purchase Orders to the following vendors for three (3) year totals:
a) JCI Jones Chemicals, Inc. ($398,686.02)
b) Kemira Water Solutions, Inc. ($1,449,834.75)
c) Olin Corporation ($794,890.77)
d) Univar USA, Inc. ($431,734.88); and
3. Allow the Purchasing Manager to approve annual unit cost adjustments that remain within the
Not To Exceed Limit of all Purchase Orders combined.
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Vote 6-0 to approve (MacDonald went home sick.).
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George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.


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3 Responses to Oxnard Council: Homeless Shelter Tentatively Approved; Ormond Beach Power Plant May Stay Open

  1. Jose November 20, 2019 at 10:25 am

    And they spend 90k on murals that will end up with graffiti thanks to our wonderful citizens.

    Reply
  2. Patrick Rawl November 20, 2019 at 6:06 am

    What does a broke city in debt do? They vote to increase pay, and vote to spend lots of money. Good Job.

    Reply
    • William Hicks November 24, 2019 at 11:44 am

      They’re never broke until there are no more taxpayers. Like most governmental agencies, it’s not your money until they say it’s your money.

      Reply

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