OCEANSIDE — The city is investing more Measure X funds into gang diversion, homelessness resources, El Corazon Park development and other public safety projects this year with the help of a federal grant, higher-than-estimated tax revenue, and lower project costs.
The City Council unanimously approved on Sept. 13 a revised fifth-year spending plan for Measure X, a 2018 voter-approved ballot initiative increasing the city’s sales tax by a half-cent to 8.25% for seven years. The extra money collected would enhance public safety services within Oceanside.
The council previously approved Year 5’s spending plan in June, which detailed a $18.15 million spending plan that would carry over another $1.83 million to next year. Under this plan, approximately $1 million would go into public safety infrastructure, $3.8 million into street and road repairs, and $5.5 million into beachfront, pier and park improvements.
Since then, city staff has determined that more money is available than expected. The city’s sales tax consultant, HdL Companies, estimated revenue of $18.45 million compared to the originally projected $11.66 million for Year 5.
Assistant City Manager Michael Gossman said the “most important change” in available funding includes the $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to reconstruct Fire Station 1. Project costs also came in lower than initially anticipated.
“That allows us to stretch our Measure X dollars further,” Gossman said.
Altogether, Year 5 had $2.9 million more in available funding.
Changes to the revised Year 5 spending plan include the addition of $200,000 to expand gang diversion and youth programming, $120,000 for more staff to help coordinate homelessness services, $5,000 to pay firefighters and paramedics acting as mentors in the EMT internship program, $200,000 to enhance the city’s traffic calming program by focusing on areas around schools and parks, and an additional $1 million for the development of El Corazon Park Site 1.
Altogether, the city invested $1.525 million into Year 5’s spending plan, and the remaining balance will be carried over to 2024. Originally projected at $1.834 million, the revised spending plan will carry over $3.41 million into next year.
With the additional money, Park Site 1 now has $7 million of its estimated $8 million cost – just another $1 million to go before it starts.
City Manager Jonathan Borrego said Park Site 1 is one of the city’s “top priority projects.”
“We’re doing everything we can to move on it as quickly as possible,” Borrego said.