A message from our Chair - Stacy Miller
In an effort to ensure that current and future Oxnard-based businesses have the high-speed Internet services and connectivity they need, the City of Oxnard has released a Broadband Internet business survey and embarked on the development of a new Fiber Master Plan.
The survey includes questions related to current connections, current Internet speed, costs for services and how well current broadband meets the business consumers’ needs at this time. The deadline for completing the survey is November 16, 2018. All businesses that complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The Broadband Internet survey is available online via the City’s website at: https://www.oxnard.org/fiber.
In this day and age, access to reliable Broadband Internet services is a vital part of a city’s infrastructure—equally as important as streets, water, parks and sewers. Furthermore, Broadband connectivity enhances a City’s economic development potential by helping attract new, advanced businesses, as well as providing necessary Internet connectivity and services for existing businesses.
While other Broadband technologies exist using copper and wireless, the use of fiber is much more future-proof. Internet speed demand is estimated to reach gigabit speeds by 2020. The next wave of technologies, especially artificial intelligence, demands increasingly robust connections from both home and office. Fiber technology is critical to the future of the smart home and the Smart City, since many of today’s most connected cities determined that laying fiber is the foundation upon which many of tomorrow’s most connected services will be built.
Currently in the City of Oxnard, there is an existing network backbone that spans 38.45 miles of underground conduit with fiber running through about 31.81 miles of that conduit. Additionally, the City maintains 38 fixed wireless links between traffic signal locations. There is an additional 6.64 miles of conduit and fiber optic cable designed and planned for the expansion of the traffic signal network and other systems.
We applaud the City of Oxnard for capitalizing on this unique opportunity to leverage its existing fiber network by expanding from a closed, private network supporting limited City buildings and systems, to a more open network platform that can be utilized for public, economic and social benefit.
“Becoming a ‘Fiber City’ will help attract investment and support new business growth by providing access to robust, high-speed Internet and data networks,” said Kevin Pisacich, Oxnard’s IT Manager of Communications and Security Systems. “Gigabit fiber becomes almost like a renewable natural resource that benefits everyone for years to come. My vision for this network is that it will be the foundational infrastructure investment for the City that will provide high speed Internet services for businesses and residents as well as countless modern Smart City initiatives” said Keith Brooks, Information Technology Director for the City of Oxnard. We couldn’t agree more!
The City has selected Magellan Advisors as its partner in developing its new Fiber Master Plan. The new master plan will pave the way to guide the design, construction, implementation, maintenance, management, regulation, operation and funding of the City’s fiber-optic assets and related technologies.
To learn more about the project and complete the survey, visit the City’s website at https://www.oxnard.org/fiber. Remember, the City needs Oxnard-based businesses immediate input in completing the Internet survey by November 16th.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019.
The IRS issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2018-83.
Highlights of Changes for 2019
The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.
The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), which last increased in 2013, is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.
The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional IRAs, to contribute to Roth IRAs and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2019.
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or his/her spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor his/her spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) Here are the phase-out ranges for 2019:
The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $122,000 to $137,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $120,000 to $135,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $193,000 to $203,000, up from $189,000 to $199,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
The income limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $64,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $63,000; $48,000 for heads of household, up from $47,250; and $32,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $31,500.
Highlights of Limitations that Remain Unchanged from 2018
The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,000.
For more information, visit the IRS website.
The Oxnard Chamber Political Action Committee has endorsed three candidates for city council in the new district elections.
Of the four candidates seeking election to Oxnard city council in District 1, Ken Oplinger's qualifications and positions on issues certainly rose to the top of the list.
Ken has a long list of public service on planning commissions and served on the city council in Blaine, Washington. He currently chairs the Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board and serves on the City of Santa Barbara Living Wage Advisory Board. He was recently appointed to the City of Santa Barbara Sales Tax Oversight Committee.
Ken Oplinger currently serves as the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region, where he has been since May 2013. He has been leading Chambers of Commerce in the Western US for over 25 years.
Ken and his family live near the beach in Oxnard. Voters in District 1 can learn more about Ken Oplinger from his website, www.ken4oxnard.com.
Gabriela Basua and Vianey Lopez are running in Districts 5 and 6, respectively. The Chamber PAC scrutinized their written questionnaire responses and interviewed both as well.
"We believe Basua and Lopez will be excellent additions to the Oxnard city council," noted Steve Buenger, Chair of the PAC. "They both understand how local government operates and how important it is to have a healthy business community."
Gabriela Basua lives in the College Estates neighborhood of Oxnard. She is the housing manager for the city of Port Hueneme. When asked what is the greatest challenge facing Oxnard, she replied that Oxnard's economic sustainability could affect public safety and infrastructure needs. She also noted that the city needs to maximize its revenue by partnering with businesses to ensure they are successful in order to maximize tax revenues. Ms. Basua is passionate about providing options for the homeless population in Oxnard.
Vianey Lopez currently serves on the Hueneme Elementary School District Board of Trustees and works for Assemblymember Monique Limon. She lives in the Redwood neighborhood of south Oxnard. Public safety is one of her priorities. She is also very concerned about the city's infrastructure needs – such as the wastewater treatment plant – and the city's bond rating. Vianey believes there are grant opportunities that should be explored to help with capital projects.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) has been working on amendments to the state Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to address two laws that went into effect on January 1, 2018 — the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) and the statewide ban-the-box law.
The FEHC held a meeting on October 19, 2018, during which it discussed further amendments to the regulations.
Answering Questions About NPLA
Small businesses in California had to begin providing baby-bonding leave this year, as the NPLA requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child. Yet employers were left with some questions about how to comply with the NPLA, such as whether employees could use NPLA leave intermittently and if a workplace notice would be required.
Those questions and others will be answered in the regulations proposed by the FEHC. The proposed regulations will amend the existing regulations for the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to integrate the NPLA (the CFRA also provides for baby-bonding leave, but applies to employers with 50 or more employees). Under these proposed regulations, the two laws will largely track each other, although there are still differences between the two, such as how employers can require employees to use vacation or paid time off during leave.
Once adopted, the proposed NPLA regulations will provide more clarity to California employers on how to comply with the NPLA as well as require an update to the current required CFRA poster.
Clarity on Use of Criminal Convictions in Hiring, Employment Decisions
Another significant law that went into effect this year was California’s ban-the-box law, which prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking job candidates about any criminal background before making a conditional job offer. This law came on the heels of criminal history regulations promulgated in 2017, which apply to all employment decisions, and not just hiring.
The proposed regulations merge the new law with the pre-existing regulations. The proposed regulations state when an employer can receive criminal history information about a job applicant and how that information can be used in hiring decisions. These regulations also address the use of conviction history in employment decisions.
The FEHC made additional revisions to the proposed NPLA and criminal history regulations at the October 19 meeting, and will publish the revised regulations on the FEHC website for a 15-day public comment period. Once the time for public comments and hearings on the proposed amendments is over, the amended regulations will go to the state Office of Administrative Law for approval.
But Wait, There’s More!
The FEHC is also working on amendments to the regulations that govern required sexual harassment training in California, as well as introducing religious accommodation and age discrimination regulations. More information about those proposed regulations can be found on the FEHC website.
CalChamber members can view more information on the New Parent Leave Act and Criminal Background Checks in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.
Changes to employment law require new posters at each place of business STATEWIDE - order your posters today to avoid fines
The Oxnard Chamber is making it easy for businesses to comply with California’s labor laws. No matter how many employees you have in California, your business is required by law to post a current California and Federal Employment Poster centrally in every place of business. Severe fines and penalties will be assessed if a business doesn’t display a current poster.
In partnership with the CalChamber, the Oxnard Chamber is currently taking pre-orders for the updated 2019 California and Federal Employment Poster. CalChamber is a trusted source for California and federal compliance products, with more than 125 years of experience helping California business do business.
The 2019 all-in-one poster includes mandatory updates to the Cal/OSHA notice for January 1, 2019, plus recommended updates to the USERRA notice and the CFRA notice. Reminder: On January 1, 2019 the minimum wage increases to $11.00/hour for employers with 25 or less employees and $12.00/hour for employers with 26 or more employees.
The all-in-one posting is available laminated or non-laminated and in your choice of English or Spanish. Posters must be displayed in a conspicuous place accessible to all employees. Employers must also display posters in each company location.
Orders placed by December 14 will be available for pick up at the Chamber around January 1. Orders placed after mid-December may take two weeks to process depending on current inventory. Please call the Oxnard Chamber at 805-983-6118 or download the order form via our website www.oxnardchamber.org .
Other labor law compliance resource materials are available as well. Need a supply of the required pamphlets and notices for new hires? We can provide those. A list of all products and pricing (discounts for members) is listed on the order form available on the Chamber's website.