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    Santa Paula: New Employees, Wastewater Blues, Homeless Shelter Payment

    by Sheryl Hamlin

    The Santa Paula City Council Meeting of November 18, 2020 included a dense calendar of reports and action items. This article will summarize highlights.

    New Employees and Promotions

    Jonathan Royas is a new management analyst; Julie Latshaw is the new Deputy City Clerk; and Cindy Madrigal from the Public Works Department will become the permanent executive assistant. And due to unexpected revenue, the Finance Director is recommending “cancellation of the furlough hours for the second half of the year during the mid-year report”.

    Police Limited Towing

    This item was pulled from consent calendar due to a lengthy report submitted by former Mayor Mary Ann Krause about the towing of patrons of the Santa Paula Theatre Center from the Union Bank parking lot which cost the patrons about $300 each to retrieve their cars.

    Acting Chief Cordero stated several times that this item was for police towing only and that public towing was regulated by state laws. Vice Mayor Juarez pointed out that language in the resolution could lead one to believe that this resolution covered private towing issues. City Attorney stated that both were correct and there were fine lines of distinction legally but that evidence is needed to remove towing companies from the list.

    Wastewater Issues

    The city’s wastewater plant which commenced operations in 2010 is starting to show signs of age. The Item for a new odor control system in the amount of $1,389,498 was approved in the Consent Calendar. There were two bids to the project. Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) has authorized a variance to operate through summer 2021. Monies will be taken from the Sewer Enterprise Fund 610 of which $150,000 came from the membrane replacement budget and the balance from the odor control account. Note that the plant came with an odor control system but even with $100,000 in maintenance it has not be able to pass the VCAPCD standards.

    A potential new operator of the wastewater plant and strategies for cutover were discussed at length. Veolia has indicated that it will not sign even a short-term contract using the existing American Water Agreement, so a new contract would be needed to utilize Veolia on a short-term basis. Other options include issuing an RFP and/or contracting with Ventura County Regional Sanitation District (VCRSD), a county agency that runs the city’s waste collection system. The VCRSD option was preferred but staff will work on all possibilities.

    In the City Manager Report, City Manager Singer noted that the recent refinancing netted $1 million in savings (no period given).

    Spirit of Santa Paula Granted Housing In-Lieu Funds

    Because the housing of homeless is considered a housing issue, the council voted to grant $50,000 to the Spirit of Santa Paula which will be used toward its upcoming municipal permit fees to upgrade the shelter.

    In Kay Wilson-Bolton’s presentation she noted that the city’s shelter has been acknowledged by the county as an extremely successful project.

    Financial Reports

    Finance Director Ramirez gave a complex report from two quarters: FY 19/20 Q4 and FY 20/21 Q1. The FY (fiscal year) 19/20 Q4 ended June 30, 2020 and FY 20/21 Q1 ended September 30, 2020.

    While the budget had predicted loss of revenue due to the virus, the opposite occurred: sales, property tax and other taxes were above budget in the amount of $143,857

    Finance Director Ramirez’ summary may be viewed on-line or the staff report here: watch and read

    To read about the author, click sherylhamlin dot com’

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