City Council: Preview of Operating
Capital budgets on Monday’s agenda

May 30, 2014
Santa Paula News

The 2014-2015 operating and capital budgets will be reviewed at the June 2 meeting of the City Council, the only item of public business on the agenda.

There is a lengthy list of Consent Calendar items - those matters considered routine and not warranting discussion - as well as several presentations agenized. The long discussed contract of City Manager Jaime Fontes is also on the Consent Calendar with a three-year contract extension.

Notably missing from the agenda is the proposed language for the initiative for a special 1 percent tax to be placed on the November ballot for voter approval. If approved by a two-thirds majority of voters, the approximately $1.6 million annual revenue generated by the proposed tax would be split 50 percent for police, and 25 percent each for fire and roads. The deadline for ballot placement is June 30, which won’t give the council or the public much time for final input when the matter is brought to the council at the June 16 meeting. 

On Monday, June 2, the council will go behind closed doors at 6 p.m. for a session in the Administration Conference Room for an update on the arbitration with Santa Paula Water, LLC, the owner of the wastewater plant. In a separate but likely related matter, the city’s 2007 stipulated consent judgment with the state Regional Water Quality Control Board over polluting discharges and water quality issues tied to the city’s former sewer plant and contemporary compliance issues will also be addressed. 

At the May 19 meeting City Attorney John Cotti announced that Councilman Bob Gonzales recused himself from that meeting’s  closed session discussion on the ongoing arbitration with Santa Paula Water, LLC.

At 6:30 p.m. Monday following the closed session the meeting will be continued in Council Chambers and broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Channel 10, which will rerun the session according to schedule; the meeting will also be live-streamed on the city website and archived for viewing on demand. 

There are two presentations: Commander Ish Cordero will be the focus of a badge pinning presentation by Police Chief Steve McLean; Dianne Davis will update the council on the judges visit for the national America in Bloom competition.

The proposed budget to be presented to the council has some good news - namely revenues from property and sales taxes increasing - and some bumps in the road including future projected funding gaps due to the future East Area 1 and 2 Limoneira Co. developments that put several years of strain on city coffers. In addition overtime costs for “staff shortages” notably police, were about $300,000. 

The projected budget is up from the previous fiscal year’s $12.2 million to $12.59. 

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