City Council Meeting report

Does the location of the Hillmont Psychiatric Hospital bring some homeless into Ventura?

by Richard Lieberman

The City Council voted on July 9 to approve moving ahead with plans to open a year-round homeless shelter. The council voted 7-0 in favor of moving ahead with city and county officials in drafting terms of the proposal. The shelter will be located at 2323 Knoll Drive, a 4-story property owned by the county. The county would lease the space to the city for a possible $1.00 per year.

Ventura Count, City of Ventura, and Oxnard released a request for proposal looking for an operator to run shelters in both cities.

Plans for Ventura call for a 55-bed facility and flexibility to offer more in an emergency. The county has offered $600,000 toward the property and has agreed to offer more in operating costs. Amounts to be determined later depending on the cost to run it.

Members Christy Weir and Mike Tracy raised the question of the possibility of the county providing a larger share. “The county has a bigger budget and gets state funding for mental health and related services,” said Weir.

Tracy added “much of the county’s homeless population gets sent to Ventura because the jail, psychiatric facility and county medical center are all located in the city. This is a regional problem. They’re not Ventura’s homeless, added Tracy. Many council members said they want Ventura residents to get priority and had some doubts about how much the facility would cost the city. “ The city doesn’t have millions of dollars to do this.” Tracy said.

City and county staff are working to meet an ambitious timeline to open the facility within months. Supervisors expect to see a report on the buildings condition on July 17th.

City Council adopted a resolution re-confirming the continuing existence of a local emergency and a local public health emergency. On December 4, 2017, the city experienced a devastating fire disaster in the city. The city’s Emergency Operations Center was activated at approximately 9:00 pm and a state of local emergency was declared by the City Manager as the Director of Disaster Services at 10.05 pm. On December 11, 2017 the city council adopted Resolution No. 2017-055 which confirmed the existence of a state of local emergency in the city. This action was required by the State Emergency Services Act for the emergency status to continue. It must be re-confirmed at least every thirty days thereafter until terminated.

The council reviewed an Update on Implementation of the Tertiary Treated Flows Consent decree, the Proposed Potable Reuse Project and State Water Interconnection. Kevin Brown, Ventura Water General Manager presented a report on provision of Ventura’s water supply. This report covers water supply augmentation and reliability, beneficial reuse of effluent, improvement of water quality and explanation of why use direct potable reuse water supply. Brown said, “In a nutshell this is about diversifying the city’s water supply.”

Council adopted a resolution authorizing the Ventura Water General Manager, to apply for, receive funds, enter into a cooperative agreement, and administer a grant for up to $9,868,544 for the 2018 Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects. Reclamation project covers the reuse of potable water. Also authorizes the Ventura water General Manager, to act on behalf of the city to conduct all negotiations, execute and submit all documents including applications, agreements, amendments, and billing statements that may be necessary to accept these grants and complete the project under the grant.

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