By Mayor Nasarenko
The 150th birthday of Ventura marks a crossroads for our city.
It is a time when we both look back to 1866, the date we became a city, and look ahead to the 150 years ahead us. As we do so, we have to acknowledge that Ventura is a little worn for wear and showing its age.
Still, it has a great future ahead, one that we need to begin preparing and planning for. What’s our responsibility to future generations, such as our children and their children?
What investments do we want to make now that will pay dividends in the future?
Ventura must chart a course of stable, local revenue for its future
We raise a lot of sales tax money in Ventura, but most of it doesn’t stay here in the city. Of the $176 million raised in fiscal year 2014-15, only about $24.4 went to Ventura.
About six and a half of the seven and a half cents we pay in sales taxes goes to the county and the state. Consequently, the vast majority of sales tax revenue we raise in Ventura doesn’t stay in Ventura. And, for every dollar in property taxes we pay, only 16 cents stays in Ventura
That is why I will ask my colleagues to place a sales tax revenue measure on the November 2016 to guarantee a local funding stream. The sales tax money we raise in Ventura, needs to stay in Ventura.
In other words, Ventura money for Venturans.
Local money for fire stations, police officers and paramedics.
Local money for drinking water, clean beaches and waterways.
Local money to prevent youths from entering gangs and getting addicted to drugs.
Local money to serve our elderly, bringing them opportunity and well-being.
Local money to address homelessness.
And local money to build our reserve fund, the rainy-day bank of the city.
Our reserve fund is at the bare minimum of $12 million for unforeseen needs and emergency expenses for about 45 days of operations.
But the industry standard is having funds available for 90 days of expenses, which would require $24 million.
But, in order to receive more local funding, you have to demonstrate that you are capable of managing what you have wisely and prudently.
Under the leadership of this council, city manager and staff, we are living within our means, balancing our budgets, and no longer borrowing from internals funds to cover shortfalls.
In fact, bond rating houses Moody’s and S&P rate our bonds Double A plus, among the highest of ratings, which allows us to achieve lower interest rates when we float bonds.
That means more money for the City, and less to big financial institutions.
The next 150 years in Ventura are bound to be great ones.
Let’s invest in that wonderful future to make it possible.
This is a portion of his address as our new Mayor made at the City Council meeting.