City puts off funding decision

OCEANSIDE — City Council postponed giving an OK to a five-year Capital Improvement Project Budget, or CIP, on May 26 that would earmark city funds to fix up streets, parks, municipal buildings, water, sewage and the harbor.
The proposed budget allocates between $26 million and $41 million a year on total project expenditures.
Council suspended the vote to allocate funds to fix roads, install traffic lights, repair storm drains, improve parks and build bridges until additional community input is gathered at a workshop on June 1. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said she feels it’s important for residents to have a say in deciding what are “necessary” city improvements.
“It’s especially important in Jefferies Ranch where we dropped the ball,” Sanchez said. “It needs to be a very clear five-year plan. I don’t want to submit this to SANDAG incomplete.”
Several Jefferies Ranch residents said that they want roadway access to SR 76 to be added to the CIP. Suggestions are to put in a stoplight at Jefferies Ranch Road and SR 76 and reopen the recently closed intersection, or have a new road built to connect the community with SR 76.
Currently the community of approximately 8,000 residents and workers is limited to one road in and out to SR 76, via Melrose Drive. Area safety concerns have been expressed and 500 signatures were collected to oppose the closure of Jefferies Ranch Road to SR 76.
Jefferies Ranch residents are still concerned. “I could have packed the house, all I needed was two days,” Jefferies Ranch resident Margaret Mallett said.
It is unlikely a traffic light will be installed, because a light is being put in down the road from the Jefferies Ranch Road and SR 76 intersection at the SR 76 cross street to a produce packing house.
Council has already approved $75,000 to look into where to build a road to connect the Jefferies Ranch community to SR 76, but funds have not been set aside to construct a road. There is concern that if the road is not put on the CIP list there will not be funds to build it.
Adding the road to the CIP may be a challenge. There is debate as to whether a new project can be added to the proposed CIP list. City staff said that due to the timing of procedures that require the city to submit its funding requests to SANDAG by June 30, the CIP list will not change after community input is gathered June 1.
Sanchez said there is still time for the Jefferies Ranch road project and other ideas to be added to the CIP. “We had a lot of input that will probably change the text in our CIP budget,” Sanchez said. “It’s much more difficult to change it later.”

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