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Three Takeaways from City Council Meeting

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by: Ruarri Serpa

Oceanside CA- Three takeaways from Wednesday night’s City Council meeting:

1- “Double Dipping” is back

Retired City Manager Peter Weiss will be hired on as a part-time consultant in the City Manager’s Office for $72,000 per year. Weiss announced his retirement last year, which took effect in December.

“The community will be well served by him,” said current City Manager Peter Jepsen. He brings a lot of experience, and familiarity with the issues that would be difficult to find, Jepsen continued.

Weiss’s tenure as a city employee was generally well-received, and did not contain any of the strife that surrounded Oceanside’s other major retiree who returned to the payroll, Chief of Police Frank McCoy.

It was reported last year that McCoy receives $93 per hour in addition to his pension, which comes in at $193,000 a year.

2 -The Oceanside General Fund is being hammered by CalPERS

The City will have to increase contributions to the The California Public Employees’ Retirement System by 78 percent over eight years, according to Oceanside Financial Services Director James Riley. CalPERS has asked for increased contributions by employers, which will reduce the city’s projected budget surplus in that time to $4 million, from $11.45 million without such contributions.

The increased rates come from longer projected life expediencies.

Cities across California are having to weather the hits to their budgets, which come during already projected deficits. Oceanside has seen budget surpluses over the past few years, and although $4 million seems like a lot of money, according to Councilor Gary Felien, “it basically amounts to a rounding error.”

3 -Goodbye to “trashy rot” on The Strand

council_meeting02_osidenewsDeveloper McKellar McGowan, LLC got the green light from the city to build a 17-unit condominium complex on The Strand just north of Wisconsin Avenue. The plan decreased the number of units from 24 condos, in order to reduce construction that would have required underground parking on-site.

The condos, priced around $1.5 million, will be two, and three bedroom luxury units. The design calls for a continuous two story building on 267 feet of street frontage. Height restrictions prevent structures that are higher than Pacific Street, which runs along the adjacent bluff.

In 2008, the city demolished apartments that were causing public safety concerns, which were attracting graffiti, break-ins, and indoor campfires by homeless people, according to comments made by City Councilors.

“I’ll be glad to see something other than trashy rot, and chain-link fence,” said Mayor Jim Wood.
Councilwomen Sanchez had concerns about the long, and unbroken appearance of the building. “It feels like a wall.”

The development would also sit just outside the limits of the Coast Highway Vision and Strategic Plan, which calls for one, and two bedroom “high quality units.” The nearby “Arts, Technology, and Environment District”, and possibility for transformation on Cleveland Street would mean significant changes for the neighborhood around Wisconsin Avenue.


ruarri_surpa_125Ruarri Serpa is a freelance reporter from Oceanside, CA.
You can contact him directly at RuarriS@gmail.com
and follow him on Twitter: @Ruarris