Oxnard Council OK’s Deal to Help Keep Ormond Beach Plant Open in Return for Later Demolition

By George Miller

At the 1-21-20 meeting, the Oxnard City Council considered and approved a proposal that would keep the Ormond Beach power plant open for at least another two more years, in return for the operating company, Gen-On, to fund then demolish and remediate the soil it when  it finally closes (details in linked article below and agenda materials). Under this proposal the city would drop its opposition to the plant staying open and actively work to make the plan possible.

The city reported on great success of its “311” problem reporting system, which has resulted in better communications and faster action, but has exposed weaknesses in some services. It needs to be even better marketed to the public.

They also voted to adopt Aaron Starr’s term limits ballot initiative as law, but that may not be what it seems. See our separate story on that.

Meeting AGENDA MATERIALS, VIDEO

 

E- Public comments on Items Not on the Agenda

Adrian- Re: 5G cell phone transmission. He believes it’s harmful. Solicits help from people in fighting it.

Ray Blutel- Disappointed with Mayor Flynn for his ugly attack on a member of the audience and community- Arron Starr). Unprofessionally done. 

Chris Frost- Promoted his newspaper, Tri- County Sentry. Mentioned his coverage including The Mayor at Hanukkah festival and Mayor Pro-Tem eating ice cream. Says they cover all sides.

Greg Runyon- Mentioned Oxnard together event for homeless last week, noted MLK celebration on 1-20-20. 

Pat Brown- A friend says there was no notice for last Thursday’s planning commission. Objects to too many gas stations, car washes, liquor stores, fast food, etc., on Saviers Road.

Aaron Starr- Disappointed that Council refused to follow the law to adopt or put his initiative on the ballot. Message was  VC Superior Court Judge Rocky Baiao ruled on his Measure M – people’s power to propose and do initiatives is at LEAST as broad as the legislatures. He cited rulings to support his statement. You are in violation of Elections code 9215.

Larry Barberine- appreciated excellent homeless event and nice turnout. Please pass out VC Rescue Mission and Lighthouse business cards. Homeless need their services. Wants an update on the opportunity zone (tax breaks available for creating jobs). Fear municipal computer system hacking by Iran or whomever. As Sen. Rubio and others try to stop fed pensions from investing in businesses that do business w/ the Chinese regime, does our city invested in any? He says that Treasurer Molina told me later we do not, by the way.

Agenda item F- City Manager Report

City Mgr. Nguyen stressed getting a complete and accurate census. He introduced Dr Gambino- regional Census coordinator. 70 days before April 1 census day. Now doing awareness campaign, followed by motivation phase, followed by counting on April 12. Likened it to a political campaign. Funding efforts for “hard to count” communities, including Oxnard- $500,000. Need it to get population-based federal funding and federal legislative seat apportionment. Offered materials. He is based at VCCF in Camarillo. venturacountycount.org.

Next Wednesday (Jan. 29) is the annual homeless census (a local project which is part of a national effort) Need volunteers- register at ventura.ointintime.info.

 

F-1. Agreement for Demolition and Remediation of the Ormond Beach Generating Station.
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council approve and authorize the Mayor to execute
Agreement No. A-8207 with GenOn California South, GP (GenOn) setting forth a timeline for,
and GenOn’s funding of, demolition and remediation of the Ormond Beach Generating Station
(OBGS), and regulatory objectives to support extending operation of OBGS through 2023 to fund
demolition and remediation to be completed by 2027.
Legislative Body: City Council
Contact: Alexander Nguyen, (805) 385-7430

Details (and some commentary) in linked article at end of this item and agenda materials

City Mgr. Nguyen presented…. There is no requirement to dismantle closed power plants.  The Ormond Beach plant was slated to close 12-31-20. Since there are grid reliability issues, the state will consider keeping plants to be shuttered open for at least another year. This could be extended.

Oxnard will intervene with state to allow plant to stay open. In return, Gen-On would contribute (starting in 2021) up to $25 million for them to dismantle and remediate the plant, if orders are received to fund them.

The objective is to “reclaim the beach.” Oxnard may vote to accept or not accept he agreement, but decision is up to the state water board  (their rule for stopping “once through cooling plants) on whether operations can continue.  Currently, there is no plan in place to fund/dismantle the plant, so this contract is very important to support the objective.

This does not include environmental restoration, which is a whole different matter.

City Attorney was involved in negotiations.

Public Comments

Pat Brown- Wishes that plant will come down. Doesn’t trust oil companies and such. They don’t keep their promises. Excuses. Need to put someone on this to make sure that it happens. Use Homeless and others to tear the plant apart.

Lauraine Effress- Stunned to see it on Agenda. Compliments to the staff. Identified issue to staff- City Mgr and Atty responded. Claims that CA has excess energy, yet plants are being extended.

Alicia Percell- There was criticism of city officials failure to work with the plant owners. Uncomfortable with the details. Seabridge developer provided funds for things. So why are these Gen-On funds going to VCCF, where Mayor Pro Tem is on the board? .  Should be publicly held with public oversight. Speakers cited environmental racism for running the plant before, Why are they NOT here tonight? Don’t support deposit arrangement. Ramirez says she’s not on the board but VCCF web site says she is. (She also mentioned in campaign literature that she’s on the board.)

Council Comments/Action

Mayor Flynn read the motion.

MacDonald- Huge opportunity. Thinks city would be on hook for demolition if they are holding the money. Future ownership and disposition TBD. Don’t want to be stuck with such old, abandoned facilities, like Petrochem in Ojai.

Ramirez- Agrees with MacDonald. Thanks to all who worked to preserve Ormond Beach. Thinks Morro Bay plant is terrible, although there is a movement to make it a monument- ghastly.

Perello- More comfortable with money being held outside the city- too tempting to spend. Appreciate the forward thinking of the staff- BIG sea change. Long process.

Basua- Reiterate colleagues words, thanks staff. A step in the right direction but not everything we expect (what DID we expect?)

Lopez- Ditto and this is an opportunity we wouldn’t otherwise have. Much better than the alternative.

Flynn- City manager also working on removing Mandalay plant.

Vote- Approved unanimously  7-0.

 

Previous article on this subject:

Oxnard Deal to Keep Ormond Beach Power Plant Open in Return for Future Demolition/Remediation

Oxnard Deal to Keep Ormond Beach Power Plant Open in Return for Future Demolition/Remediation

By George Miller A while back, we reported that Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen said they might negotiate a deal for Gen-On to demolish and remediate the Ormond Beach plant (formerly of NRG), in return for keeping it operational for a few more years. Well, it seems that the nanny state’s ambition to […]

 

 

Council General Comments

Ramirez- Thanks to staff for putting on homeless event.

Madrigal (now here)- Invoked MLK’s comments on judging people on content of character, not color. How to help the less fortunate? Went to a homeless meeting in East County. Oxnard was dissed at the meeting about something that happened in Ventura. Tired of Oxnard always getting “a bad rep”. Need more intervention programs.  Dropout rate a problem. Blighted areas make people think city doesn’t care about them. Congrats to his sister- new school board president.

MacDonald- Biggest crowd he has seen for such things at homeless event., There were elected officials there from other cities at MLK event. Going to Irwindale for SoCal Edison advisory group, to discuss their policies/procedures.

Lopez- Training for census 9-11 am at Oxnard Library. More training after that- will advise. Going to neighborhood council meetings.

Ramirez- Conceded that her web site (VCCF) still incorrectly says she is a board member. Lauded the PACC “Frozen” play production. Jackson Wheeler poetry series was last week.

Perello- MLK march was very good. Went to River Ridge neighborhood council meetings. 1-30 at Hollywood beach school cafeteria. Ventura Regional Sanitation district held meeting to talk about Simi landfill remediation. We should have underground electrical lines. Oxnard Shores Neighborhood Council meeting 1-3-20. Public walkways maintenance is an issue.

Basua- Have been working at Ormond Beach cleanups. Still lots of trash there (from homeless occupation). Thanks school districts including Oxnard School dist.

 

Items pulled for discussion

J-2 Perello- a mold issue in fire station? A: remediated, but didn’t close walls after this.  So roof project will also handle walls. Perello- only one bid? A: Pueblo Construction has done great work.

J-3 conflict on J-3 by MacDonald.

J-4- Perello- lots of email on withdrawal of bid. P 84 explains that there was a withdrawal of bid. A : Awarding to Brightview, which withdrew bid to their unrelated problems. West Coast Arborists  Inc was next bidder, who will now receive the award. Flynn also had questions on this- what is current tree trimming cycle. a: Some is covered by special districts, City has $250K for a 35 year tree cycle., 10 years would be ideal, but it would cost $1MM per year.

Public Comments

Ray Blutel- This was sold to public as roof repair, but it is much more (read  a list).

Pat Brown- Wants trees kept in good shape- affects city image.

Vote-  Unanimous for main motion. Item 3 vote 6-0, MacDonald abstaining.

 

K-3- Demolition of Colonia Village public housing

Housing Commission Director Emilio Ramirez… 2650 unit complex now vacant. Replacement project is well underway. Need permission from HUD to demolish. Estimated 2- 2.5MM to do this. Need promissory notes for this. Housing Authority funding will be used.How to remediate the site as an attractive nuisance.

Madrigal recused himself since he lives so close by.

MacDonald- problems with fires, assaults on site. Do it- the faster the better. Supports.

Basua- Who is developer?> A- Urban Housing Communities.

Perello- It’s a blight on the neighborhood.

Vote- 7-0, Includes one housing commissioner and madrigal recused.

Public Comments

Thanks, from unidentified member of the public

 

K-1- Approval of issuance of 2020 Gas Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds 

CFO Ken Riper, Craig Hill of NHA advisors will present, with Mike Myers. Underwriter Carmen Varta will also present. This affects ONLY the gas tax fund (not general fund).

Wells Fargo will be the trustee.

Had $28MM in bonds at 4,66%. Will refinance at better terms. $20.7 outstanding principal. Expect 2.7-2.8% refi. interest rate. Would save $350,000/yr. Total cumulative savings would be $6.3MM.

Could higher gas tax passed last year be used to pay this down faster? It didn’t sound like that was the sentiment.

Ramirez- what’s our general credit rate? It varies by bond and agency. Now A and A+ rated.

MacDonald- Looks good. Must we refinance even if rates go way up?  A: No.

Flynn- Asked Asst Public Works Mgr, how can we tackle major thoroughfares, such as Oxnard Blvd.? Pay down debt or do more work? Very limited resources. Nguyen- we will bring options from Public Works.

Vote- Unanimously approved 7-0.

 

K-2- Oxnard 311 – Performance Update Report

Oxnard’s 311 system allows people to use a mobile app to request city services, point out problems (such as graffiti) and allow city to respond. Have had 7,000 downloads and over 50,000 work orders. System utilization and requests have increased dramatically.  The system provides organization, high visibility and analysis to the public and staff.

They have established service level targeted response times, which have improved significantly. There are 19 complaint types. Illegal dumping generates the most complaints. Graffiti for  had 11,110 complaints with a 1.6 day average response times. Also received 5312 abandoned vehicle reports.

Workflows have been changed to automatically transfer requests to the responsible department or even outside organizations, such a SC Edison for street lights. Some items simply lack resources to respond adequately– landscaping, etc.

 

Public Comments

Rat Blutel- Software is a good idea. Only 17 thousand responses is not a lot for population. Pothole response was 150 days. Not in favor of loosening standards if they are not being met. Only half of performance metrics are being met. Wrong to decrease standards.,

Aaron Starr- Excited that this is one of the best presentation,s results. Likes metrics. Wants to see standards, efficiency improved. Likes the statistics. The more visible, the better. At his company, improving is like a contest.

Council Comments

Ramirez- Appreciate work. Where are people using it? Some gaps. Available in Spanish. Assessing the degree of the problem is needed. A: There is some of that- for example, pothole dimensions. (Discarded) mattresses are a big problem and seasonal.

Perello- Agree with Starr- terrific presentation. Can’t improve what you can’t measure. Re: mattresses- bedbug infestation a problem. Any liability to the city if info is on record? City Atty- Puts city on record, city may not have resources for timely addressing everything. Most of public not aware of this system.

MacDomald- Forwarded things to outside jurisdictions automatically. Great system, nee to market it better since many don’t know about it.

Basua- All can see service status. Re: abandoned vehicles., Do owners get a fine, have any involvement? A: Depends if on private property (code enforcement notices- warning, abatement, removal, bill owner), public property, by police dept, have 3 day notices, then towed, will be sold after a certain time if not recovered.  Basua: Thanks for everyone’s work.

Flynn- One of the greatest technological improvements in the history of the city. City decisions are based on priorities. Re: Blutel complain about loosening goals: sometimes resource s are not adequate to get it done, so we may be forced to change them. Gave example of saving a fire station by changing priorities. This is one of the first, most visual metrics we have. Illegal dumping is an epidemic. Provide dumping areas- containers, etc. Toughen up on apprehensions and fines. How many are actually fined?

Asst City Mgr Klima- 311 is on the main page of the city website.

Perello- Does response time vary by district-is it related to demand. A, Klima: No priority by district.

Flynn- some problems more prevalent in certain areas, such a mattress dumping.

 

 

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


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