Santa Paula Council: From Toilets to Trash

By Sheryl Hamlin

Veterans Park Restroom Renovation Completed

Prior to the regularly scheduled meeting on July 17, 2017, the city hosted a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the remodeled Public Restroom Facilities at Veterans Park. Note that a review of the financial situation for this renovation was reported here. While the new restrooms met with praise, Pam Marshall, chair of Project Hope, expressed concerns that the restrooms are closed at night, thus causing health hazards. She will be suggesting 24 hour availability at key locations.

Waste Water Treatment Facility – $204,057 Approved in Consulting Fees

The council approved $204,057 in consulting fees for the Waste Water Treatment Facility (aka: Water Recycling Facility). These fees included a regulatory compliance specialist, a turnover manager for the new Operations and Maintenance contract and a conversion to the new SCADA project.

In Public Comments, Sheryl Hamlin noted that no approved budget for the Enterprise Funds had been presented, so the approval of such expenses at this point in time is an unacceptable management practice.

East Area 1 Tract Maps

These new tract maps for East Area 1 were discussed in more detail at the planning commission. The council had no questions or discussion.

Still outstanding on this 20 year old project is approval of a permit from the Los Angeles Waterboard (reported here) and an update on the timing of anything significant in the project.

GHAD Standing Committee

The council had decided at a previous meeting to add a new Standing Committee to report on the various Geological Hazard Abatement Districts (GHAD) in Santa Paula. The two members chosen were Vice Mayor Ginger Gherardi and Council Member John Procter.

Ad Hoc Committee to Recommend Regulations on the Consumption, Sales, Transportation, Cultivation, Manufacturing, Testing, Distribution and Dispensing of Cannabis

At a 2016 meeting reported here, the council took a defensive step in prohibiting all marijuana activity in anticipation of Proposition 64’s passage.

According to City Manager Rock, Proposition 64 passed with “no regulations”, so it is up to cities and counties to be proactive in establishing local rules. Coupled with Proposition 98 (medical marijuana), the field is wide open and there are variations on these ordinances in place across the county, which of course will make enforcement a challenge.

Hugo Goerner, former member of the Ventura County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board from 2009 to 2013, spoke saying there was nothing in place within the framework of Proposition 64. He offered his experience to the council. He cited details such as THC concentration (strong versus weak) which needs to be addressed.

Annette Sula of Safeguard Fillmore spoke also offering the experience of their group which has become a county wide voice for these laws. She pointed out that although cities and counties can make laws, marijuana is still a federally illegal drug. She said that the Ventura County District Attorney opposed all legalization.

City Manager Rock said that there would eventually need to be a study session with the full council to hear all of the complex information. Council Member Procter noted that he attended an informative study session in Fillmore.

Mayor Crosswhite and Council Member Garman were appointed to this ad hoc committee. Note that this committee is not a Brown Act committee.

Bye Bye Recology

Recology’s pickup services have been less than stellar in Santa Paula, as evidenced by the phone calls received by council members. The existing franchise fee expires in May 31, 2018, but a new operator has stepped up to ask for the business.

Athens Services is a family owned business with positive cash flow, its own recycling, composite and robotic driven material and recycling facility, a large fleet of trucks, good workers’ compensation statistics (no accidents) and is prepared to transfer existing employees, according to the consultant who reviewed the transfer.

The transfer will involved a $50,000 administrative fee and a $152,292 transfer fee to the General Fund. Athens is pleased to pay these amounts in hopes of winning a future, longer contract. The representative said: “they don’t go home until the trash is picked up.”

The transfer was approved and Athens plans to start in August, so look for new trucks.

Closing in Memory of Fallen Local Hero

A memorial for Staff Sergeant Robert Cox, who was killed in the KC 132 accidental crash will be held on July 29, 2017 at the Community Center. The meeting was closed in his honor.

To watch the full meeting, click here


For more information about the author visit Sheryl Hamlin dot com.

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