At last Friday's State of the City address, Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn provided attendees with a list of recent accomplishments. They included improvements in the city's financial reporting, hiring a new city manager, adding a concierge for the planning department, downtown revitalization, crime reduction, and paving more than 100 miles of streets and roads.
Mayor Flynn also reminded the audience about Oxnard's competitive advantage when you consider our coastal setting, weather, proximity to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, CSU Channel Islands, deep-water port, recycled water, and fertile soil.
Of course, we certainly have our challenges as well. Regarding pension costs, Flynn said, "If you don't get this problem under control, it'll eat you alive." Oxnard's pension liability is expected to grow substantially until PEPRA kicks in. The California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) affects new public employees and establishes a cap on the amount of compensation that can be used to calculate a retirement benefit.
Mayor Flynn conceded that economic development efforts by the city have been low on the priority list when they should be near the top. He said he would be exclusively focused on economic development issues for the next two years. Exactly what that translates to is not certain. However, the Oxnard Chamber offered its commitment to partner in those efforts.
The State of the City included a project update from Ashley Golden, Development Services Director and Interim Assistant City Manager. Chief Scott Whitney, who has bee serving as Interim City Manager for six months, also rendered comment on effective leadership, creating a positive culture, and focusing on fundamentals.
The Chamber sincerely thanks the presenters and all of the city staff who helped with the State of the City address. A video of the presentation is expected to be posted at www.oxnard.org.