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— City Council approved the city’s five-year financial forecast at its Feb. 5 meeting, which projects a general fund surplus of $1.31 million next year. Photo by Samantha Nelson
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City budget earmarked for additional firefighters, police and water pipeline


OCEANSIDE — Last week, the city’s no frills general fund, capital improvement project, utilities and harbor budgets were unanimously approved by the City Council to move forward for a final vote June 1.

Approved budgets will fund current operations and services, as well as add six firefighter rehires, four additional police officers, one police sergeant, and water, sewer and recycled water pipelines.

The $137 million general fund budget will see a $1.76 million surplus in fiscal year 2016-2017, and $1.44 surplus in 2017-2018.

Revenue increases were seen in property tax, transit occupancy tax, and a small increase in sales tax.

Mayor Jim Wood said the city is seeing an upswing, but is “not quite there” in its budget recovery.

General fund rollover items include $60,000 to open Marshall Street pool for summer, $25,000 for July fireworks, $100,000 for sand replenishment, $500,000 towards a General Plan update, $100,000 for agritourism efforts, and $730,000 towards the aquatic center design.

A $1.2 million limit was put on increment fund spending. From that amount fire will see $211,200 towards a fifth life support ambulance, and $87,200 for a lifeguard sergeant.

Police will add four new officers at $416,000, and a sergeant at $174,500.

City Manager Michelle Skaggs Lawrence said additional officers will allow police to maintain focus on downtown, without service impacts to other areas in the city.

OK’d increment funds will also put $27,700 towards Adelante bookmobile replacement, and $40,200 to a full time community resource assistant at Chavez Resource Center and John Landes Resource Center.

A total of $750,000 in one time funds allocations includes a continued year of subsidizing youth programs, and the municipal golf course.

One time funding for Project REACH Libby Lake is $75,000, North County Lifeline Crown Heights is $60,000, Project REACH Eastside is $65,000 and North County Lifeline Casita is $33,000.

The city golf course will see $97,000.

Neighborhood Services Director Margery Pierce said some previous grants for youth programs are no longer offered. She added with fewer funds, events that bring services to families “have taken a downturn.”

Funding for youth programs and the golf course will be reevaluated next year to determine if subsidies need to be ongoing.

One time funds will also be used to pay $130,000 in two months salary for six of 10 firefighter, who were laid off when SAFER Grants funds terminated in April.The six firefighters will be rehired to operate the additional ambulance, which was funded. One time only funds will cover salary costs between now and next year’s budget, and allow additional ambulance service to begin sooner. Revenues from operating the added ambulance are expected to lower the amount.

In all 17 new full city time positions will be added. Thirteen will be paid for through the general fund.

“I feel confident we can afford these, and maintain these (personnel expenditures),” Lawrence said.

Capital improvement projects costs, funded by development fees, total $102 million. Costs include $8.6 million for the Lot 23 parking structure, $6 million for downtown water pipeline replacement, $3.6 million for downtown sewer pipe replacement, $5.5 million for street overlays, and $1.2 million for a fire truck replacement.

A list of awarded and pending grants was shared, and news that the Mission Avenue Railroad Crossing Safety Improvements Grant for $999,000 was awarded.

Unfunded projects on the city’s wish list include the $17 million El Corazon aquatic center, and $19 million Fire Station 8 construction.

1 comment

SeniorRights May 7, 2016 at 2:56 pm

What’s missing from the budget plans . . . ? HOUSING for Oceanside’s low-middle-income families, disabled, seniors (over 51% of the City’s population is over the age of 50, many on fixed incomes), retired veterans and the 7,000+ people already on the waiting list for affordable housing. The jobs-to-housing ratio is already upside-down 7-1. Why are we building more and more luxury condos and homes when working families and retirees can no longer afford to live and work here?

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