Ventura City Council approves portion of Measure O revenue

On June 12, the Ventura City Council voted unanimously to approve $1.64M of
Measure O revenue annually to keep all fire stations in Ventura open. Consistent with the
Measure O ordinance, the ongoing funding will maintain nine rotating full-time firefighters who
staff Fire Station 4 (three firefighters daily), located at Telephone Road and Montgomery
Avenue, and ensure the fire station remains open for the next 25 years. The Measure O
funding was approved with the adoption of the City’s fiscal year 2017-2018 Operating Budget
of $278M; Ventura’s General Fund budget is $110.6M.

“The City Council is upholding the promise we made to Ventura voters,” said Mayor
Nasarenko. “All revenue from Measure O stays right here in Ventura and this initial allocation
will help to maintain fire and paramedic response times for the 15,000 calls for service
received each year from citizens who need emergency care.”

The FY 2017-2018 balanced budget reflects the City Council goals to steward Measure O
dollars responsibly, create and maintain economic development and vitality, and enhance the
response to homelessness. General Fund budget highlights include: increasing the City’s
operating reserves by $1.5M to prepare for the future, funding for public safety to improve
emergency communications center response, and one-time funding for the parks
ambassador program. The City held four public workshops and two public hearings regarding
the proposed operating budget for FY 2017-2018.

In November 2016, Ventura voters approved Measure O, a half-cent transaction and use tax
for 25 years that will generate $10.8M annually to maintain vital services. In accordance with
the San Buenaventura Municipal Code Section 4.129.160, the Measure O Citizens Oversight
Committee reviewed and unanimously recommended that the City Council approve ongoing
funding to staff Fire Station 4.

The City established a separate Measure O Fund to review expenditures and ensure that
they are appropriate under the Measure O ordinance. An annual, independent financial audit
of the funding is required.

Fire Station 4 was closed in 2010 as a result of budget cuts. To maintain area coverage and
keep the fire engine in service the City applied for and received two, 2-year Staffing for
Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants consecutively from Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2010 and 2013 totaling nearly $5M, to provide
previous staffing levels for four years during the economic recovery. The total cost to
maintain a fire station is approximately $2.23M annually; Measure O dollars will fund the
staffing for Fire Station 4 and the City’s General Fund will cover the operating expenses.

 

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