OCEANSIDE — Mayor Peter Weiss appointed seven members to the committee that will oversee how tax dollars from Measure X will be spent during the Feb. 6 City Council meeting.
Weiss appointed Joshua Van Orden to represent the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Robert Gleisberg for the San Diego Taxpayers Association, Stephan Leonesio for the Oceanside Police Officers’ Association and Matt Mathis for the Oceanside Firefighters Association.
Additionally, Weiss appointed Rob Howard to represent the community at large, and former council members Colleen O’Harra and Jerome “Jerry” Kern as two qualified professionals in accounting, finance, engineering, construction or municipal government.
In November 2018, voters in Oceanside approved “Measure X,” which proposed a 0.5 percent sales tax for seven years to provide an estimated $11 million annually for general city services such as crime, fire, paramedic and 911 response, street maintenance, addressing homelessness and other improvements to city infrastructure and safety.
The current sales tax in Oceanside is 7.75 percent, but on April 1 it will rise to 8.25 percent.
Measure X also required the creation of a Citizens’ Oversight Committee to be responsible for making annual recommendations to City Council on a spending plan for Measure X’s revenues, and for reviewing the annual independent audit revenues and expenditures of those funds.
Later that same month, City Council 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 first Citizens’ Oversight Committee meeting will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 28 in council’s chambers.
Members of the committee must be city residents and cannot be current city employees or appointed officials. Terms are four years with a maximum tenure of two four-year terms.
City Council approved the appointments unanimously with the exception of Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who specified her vote supported all of the appointees except Kern.
Sanchez noted that four of the seven spots are essentially decided by the four organizations previously listed, so only three are left up to the city — the two qualified professionals and the community at large representative.
“The recommendation only has one woman out of seven,” Sanchez said, explaining she would like to see more women on the city’s commissions and committees like the Citizens’ Oversight Committee.
“I think we should have worked harder on getting better representation on this (committee),” she said.
Sanchez said she was “very impressed” with Cynthia “Cindy” Rocco’s finance background and would have recommended her to the role in place of Kern.
At the meeting, Rocco asked council if there were any alternative positions for the committee’ and could she be considered as one.
Weiss said there weren’t any alternative positions included in the measure’s language but added that residents could reapply if an opening becomes available.