Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the facts. When we dug into a two-word phrase in the city’s cost-of-service study, we were surprised to learn what kind of digging Oxnard’s ratepayers might soon be paying for.
You may have already read about our efforts to stop Oxnard’s plan to raise your utility rates 60% for water, sewer and garbage services at the upcoming Tuesday, January 19 city council meeting. If these rate increases are approved, the typical family will pay an extra $750 per year.
We have documented on our blog some of the wasteful projects in the city’s cost-of-service report and their admittedly false statement on their website to sell us on their rate increases.
Another thing we noticed on page 70 on the city’s cost-of-services report, in the Environmental Resources (i.e. garbage collection) section, there is a table that includes a single line entry stating a plan to spend $15 million for buildings associated with “fleet maintenance, storage, sorting, welding, thrift store and City Corps.” That’s pretty vague…not many details.
We don’t yet know why City Corps is part of a garbage collection plan, but we were able to get the “thrift store” part of this sorted out by speaking with a very helpful member of city staff. The idea here is that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If someone were to throw away a set of golf clubs among some soiled diapers, the city wants to pull out the golf clubs, clean them up, and operate a thrift store to sell our trash back to us.
The city would be running an enterprise in direct competition with non-profits such as Goodwill, ARC and the Salvation Army, which provide job opportunities for disabled, low-skill or low-experience workers. Rather than just donating these items to charity, the city imagines that they can make a profit after constructing a building, cleaning the items that were in the trash, paying employees with government pensions to operate the store, etc. We doubt that experts in garbage collection have the skills needed to successfully operate a retail store.
Given the many millions of dollars that the City of Oxnard has lost mismanaging a golf course and a performing arts center, we’re skeptical about the city’s ability to execute its latest plan to go into business. This will just be another money-losing venture, this time in dumpster diving.
In other words, this is a crappy deal for ratepayers.
If you want to help us oppose the proposed rate increases:
1) Share this post with your Oxnard friends and neighbors.
2) Sign up at our website at www.movingoxnardforward.org/join to stay informed.
3) Attend the January 19, 2016 public hearing at 6:00 pm in Oxnard City Hall (305 West Third Street). One evening out of your life could save your family and each of your neighbors $750 per year in unjustified utility rate increases.