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City officials to create Measure X oversight committee

 OCEANSIDE — City Council approved several items on its agenda Nov. 28, including plans for a new city swimming pool and the creation of a Measure X citizen oversight committee.

Council unanimously approved plans for the El Corazon Aquatic Center project, which will include building a competition pool, spectator seating, family changing rooms, a therapy pool, a splash pad, a concession area, a shade structure, a multi-purpose classroom and offices. It will be the city’s first new pool in more than 50 years.

City Council stalled the aquatic center’s construction last year after it voted to not issue bonds to fund the pool’s construction. At the time, council members had requested more information about how the city would pay for the aquatic center’s estimated annual $1 million operating costs.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said the pool is “a need” for the community’s health, safety and economic development.

“It is a positive, and I think the longer we wait the more the cost will go up,” she said.

Earlier this month, Oceanside residents approved Measure X, which increases the local sales tax rate by 0.5 percent to 8.25 percent. The measure requires City Council to create a Citizens’ Oversight Committee to review and comment on Measure X’s finance report as well as its annual spending plan, audit and compliance report. The committee will also work with city staff to identify and apply best practices for tracking and reporting of Measure X.

Council members approved an ordinance establishing the committee and its bylaws. The committee will be subject to the Brown Act, which guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in the committee’s meetings.

The committee will consist of seven members who will be appointed by the mayor with City Council’s approval to serve four-year terms. The city manager will determine how qualified applicants to the committee are.

Members of the committee must be city residents and cannot be current city employees and elected or appointed officials.

One member must be either recommended by Oceanside Chamber of Commerce or active in the city’s business community; another member must be recommended by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association; two members must be recommended by Oceanside’s public safety associations; two more members must be qualified professionals in accounting, finance, engineering, construction or municipal government; and one member must be active in the community at large.

Council also approved the Responsible Spending Pledge, which state’s council’s intent that Measure X revenues will be used to improve and maintain infrastructure and public safety services. It also lists the programs and projects that are eligible for funding under Measure X, which goes into effect April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2026.

The application period for the committee opened Nov. 29 and will close Jan. 9, 2019. The mayor will present recommended candidates to City Council for confirmation on Feb. 6, 2019.

City Council also unanimously approved an incentive agreement with CarMax Superstore California LLC to provide for a sales tax rebate that won’t exceed $5 million over a 10-year term.

Council approved in a 4-1 vote, opposed by Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery, an ordinance amending several articles of the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The amendments revise discretionary application review procedures for development projects involving the city’s General Plan and zoning, and update references to decision-making bodies, city departments and staff titles.

Several citizens voiced their concern that this ordinance would take power away from the city’s Planning Commission.

Council also adopted a resolution approving the Local Coastal Program Amendment and requesting the California Coastal Commission to certify articles in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance that were previously amended to allow establishment and operation of medical cannabis land uses within specific inland zoning districts. The Local Coastal Program would include the amended text. The resolution’s adoption passed by 4-1, opposed by Councilman Jack Feller.