Oxnard “MAD’s” to be tamed? City management of landscaping/maintenance districts in question

By Dan Pinedo & George Miller

The following affects Oxnard, but the concepts apply to any municipality that uses this approach ….

Do you have a special assessment for a maintenance district on your Oxnard property tax bill?  Chances are pretty good that you do. Chances are also pretty good that your district has been mismanaged, if you live in Oxnard. Over $3,000,000.00  in negative balances in the funds were written off last year. These were a combination of  overcharges, inadequate assessments and mismanagement We haven’t heard any allegations of fraud, however, we heard and council meetings and through a Neighborhood Council that vendors were sometimes paid via estimates, prorating total contract amounts without verifying that work was actually performed satisfactorily.  What went wrong there was a point of much controversy, finally ending up in hiring specialty consultant Pablo Perez.

This article is primarily to give you a brief orientation and direct you to the audit findings presentation video, below. Also check out some past articles linked below.

OxnardMADs

Oxnard MAD web page

PerezPablo

Consultant Pablo Perez. Screenshot: Dan Pinedo

Consultant Pablo Perez has provided extensive assistance to the City to straighten out the districts, including a budget audit, boundaries, and more. Not only did he do the audit, but he will be staying on to help manage the districts, until City staff can learn to do it right.

By the way, these negative balances were carried for years. We heard self-appointed “watchdogs” like Larry Stein complain about them at City Council meetings. But nothing really happened until City Manager Greg Nyhoff initiated a citywide operational audit. It highlighted this and about 127 other things, which were made into a “deficiencies list” and used to target improvement projects, such as this one.

But what really got this going was the activism of the West Village Neighborhood Council, which was being faced by huge assessment increases. A few dedicated group members, headed by Mike Gleason, dived in to find out what was going on. What they learned was troubling. They took their findings and many additional good questions to the City Manager and Council, which acted to get what you see here today.

Boundaries, statements of work, budgets, contracts, billing, indirect cost allocations, payment, charges to districts and more are being addressed.

Watch meeting video produced by Dan Pinedo:

Keep in mind that there are other inequities, too. For example, older parts of the city lack assessment districts and have their work paid directly from the general fund. Some Neighborhoods feel that they are charged outrageous management fee allocations.

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Example of part of district requirements analysis performed. Source: Dan Pinedo 1-20-16 MAD Audit Meeting video

Some relevant CJ articles:

3 Oxnard Council meetings this week- Utility rate increases, budget, maintenance assessment and community facilities districts

3 Oxnard Council meetings this week- Utility rate increases, budget, maintenance asssessment and community facilities districts

By George Miller- Due to the year end crunch of business, major financial crisis and utility rate increase proposal, there will be three council meetings this week- tuesday, wednesday and Thursday.   Name Date Agenda City Council Meeting December 8, 2015 – 05:00 PM View Agenda City Council – SPECIAL MEETING December 9, 2015 – […]

Oxnard proposing engaging NBS to administer its “Landscape Maintenance Districts”

By George Miller- Dozens of newer Oxnard developments have “Landscape Maintenance Districts” operated by the city to handle the billing, contracting, accounting and delivery of service to those neighborhoods. These are financed by assessments on property owners’ tax bills.  Neighborhoods have been complaining about the services and the bills, A financial audit revealed millions of […]

Do Oxnard residents want to get our trees trimmed, sidewalks fixed, water basin fences repaired, OR pay for more consultant reports?

Do Oxnard residents want to get our trees trimmed, sidewalks fixed, water basin fences repaired, OR pay for more consultant reports?By Phil Molina-  Mr. Mayor, Council Persons and City Manager Nyhoff:   ​Almost 50% of Oxnard residents pay extra taxes to have our trees trimmed, sidewalks fixed, water-basin fences maintained, parks maintained, and mail boxes repaired. ​ OK, last Tuesday we heard from the consultants, NBS, concerning these issues, so ​ what further is required from the consultants? Where […]

Remember: Oxnard assessment districts TONIGHT- why is this important?

Remember: Oxnard assessment districts TONIGHT- why is this important?By George Miller- After seemingly endless delays and cancellations of discussions of this important issue, residents are finally getting their night on the City Council meeting agenda, tonight, Tuesday, October 27.  The meeting starts at 530 pm and we are assured  it will be the first item on the agenda after opening ceremonies and general public comment. […]

Former Oxnard Finance Director cites $400,000+ in assessment district overcharges

  By Phil Molina- We have already identified that 2 districts within West Village have huge math errors to the point that over 200 homes are due refunds exceeding $2,000 from the City for the overcharges. Now we also found that an entire assessment district was not formed in a correct/legal manner as required by […]


Dan Pinedo  is a Citizen-journalist, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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

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One Response to Oxnard “MAD’s” to be tamed? City management of landscaping/maintenance districts in question

  1. Dale Dean February 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    As Cabrillo Neighborhood Chair, this subject is weighing heavy on our next meeting with many questions coming from our neighbors. We have gotten a positive response from the City Manager and will have better facts in March.

    Reply

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