Council: Last session before summer hiatus to finalize PD/Fire/roads tax

June 13, 2014
Santa Paula News

It looks like it will be a long meeting for the City Council Monday as they review the proposed ballot measure to raise the local sales tax by 1 percent to benefit police, fire and roads and again tackle parking issues around Santa Paula High School.

The council will also have to take care of other business - including reservation fees for recreational areas of parks and adopting the annual budget - before their two-month summer hiatus.
The June 16 meeting will start with a lawsuit dominated closed session at 5 p.m. in the Administration Conference Room at City Hall where the council will hear updates on two separate federal suits related to officer involved shooting incidents. One occurred in October 2010 where a man with mental problems who advanced on an officer with shears was shot and left paralyzed and the second incident, the July 2012 fatal shooting of Edgar Garcia, 25, who shot and wounded one officer before he was killed.
Also listed under existing litigation on the closed session agenda is the ongoing arbitration with Santa Paula Water LLC, owners and operators of the wastewater treatment plant and the lawsuit filed by former Police Chief Stephen MacKinnon against the city, City Manager Jaime Fontes and Councilman Bob Gonzales. MacKinnon was first placed on leave in April and then fired in June 2012 after allegations that he misused a city car and gasoline credit card; he later sued for unlawful termination. Although the lawsuit was dismissed by the count on legal technicalities, MacKinnon appealed.
Anticipated litigation is also listed on the agenda with three separate claims against the city.
The meeting will be continued to City Hall Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m. and broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 and replayed according to schedule. The meeting will also be live-streamed via the city’s website and archived for viewing on demand.
Ventura County Fairgrounds is listed as the sole presenter.  
The council will have a continued hearing on the Geological Hazard Abatement District, the annual $1,414 special property tax for parcels above the hospital and also consider the separate benefit assessment program for storm water. The latter tags an additional $6.65 annually to each parcel owner’s property tax bill.
The council will also examine proposed fees for the use of area parks for private special events, a subject that has been under study since last year.
Discussion of permitted parking in neighborhoods impacted by Santa Paula High School, adopting the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year Budget, a discussion of the “purpose and role” of the city Traffic Safety Committee and whether or not to allow the Santa Paula Housing Authority to partner with the city to administer the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
For developments of multi-units the fund receives a per unit in-lieu fee for low cost and affordable housing; with an agreed to $4,643 per unit rate  with about $7 million will go to the fund from the Limoneira East Area 1 project of 1,500 homes.
Presently the fund has about $21,000.
The big issue on the agenda is the proposed 1 percent specific sales tax that will require a 2/3-majority vote to pass. Voters will be asked to decide on the tax, which would be expected to generate a minimum of $1.6 million annually to start, to benefit police, fire and roads through a 50 percent, 25 percent, 25 percent respective split.
The meeting will be the last one and Council Chambers will be dark in July and August, unless pressing business creates the need for a special council session.

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