For the next two years, Oceanside’s red-light cameras will probably be staying.
According to city staff, Oceanside is currently losing money on the cameras, but it would cost $48,000 (and likely legal hassles) to end their contract with the manufacturer early; police are also saying that the red-light cameras have cut down on traffic collisions since they were installed.
The purpose of red-light cameras are to take photos of motorists when they run stop lights; the fines are usually pretty pricey.
The four intersections with the cameras installed are: Canyon Drive at Mission Av., College at Old Grove Rd., Oceanside Blvd at College Blvd., and El Camino Real at Vista Way.
In a three hour discussion on additions to both the capital improvement program and the upcoming General Fund budget Wednesday, the City Council did not vote, though it made clear to the city manager what it did and did not want.
Peter Weiss, the City Manager, had given the City Council proposals for $1.3 million (estimated) in additional revenue.
To help fund businesses, the Council has already expressed an interest in putting $500,000 of that money into a revolving loan. This proposal will be discussed at more length on February 27, the next council meeting.
The council was warned that, should it consider one-time-only expenditures, it could do something like increase library hours because it could, if necessary, simply reduce them again–not the kind of spending that would require financing year after year.
For a cost of $95,000 and the addition of one bookmobile stop, the council tended to like adding 14 hours of operation at the two libraries.
The council tended to like adding 14 hours of operation at the two libraries and adding one bookmobile stop, as well as completing the replacement of the pier decking for $95,000.
By adding two part-time officers (at a cost of $40,000) to augment existing efforts, the council gave a thumbs-up to enhancing code enforcement.
According to Councilman Jerry Kern, code enforcement involves “what the city looks like” and helps “to make sure we have a safe and clean city.”
To fund El Corazon park, located in the center of the city, there was less consideration for its funding ($22,000 on a study of adding additional developer fees) but some support.
There was much discussion of restoring a “traffic-calming” program, i.e., speed bumps, which resulted in some interest, though most thought neighborhoods who request this program help to fund it. 102 requests (mostly to slow speeders) were given to the council, asking for traffic-calming help.
Some support was given to conduct a citizen survey, especially from council members Gary Felien and Jerry Kern, asking residents what they want the city government to do.
At a cost to fund a part time public information officer ($35,000) received virtually no interest from the council, as well as a proposal to eliminate the red-light-camera program.
In regards to the expiration of the red light contract in 2015, the council unanimously expressed the opinion that it should just die a “natural death.”
A much favored item (not specifically on the agenda) was to provide Wi-Fi service at the El Corazon Senior Center, Joe Balderamma and Mebla Bishop community centers, and either the Camp Fire site in Crown Heights (a neighborhood experiencing heightened gang activity and violence lately) or the Americanization School.
Proponents stated: “Children located in low-income areas often don’t have Internet connections at home, and most homework must be done on the Internet.”
Mayor Jim Wood called himself a “complete dinosaur” and says he is in favor programs that help kids, but indicated that he doesn’t understand what Wi-Fi actually is.
The cost will be cheaper if it’s able to be attached to a library program. Annually, it would be $600, and $5,000-$7,000 for each installation.
Crown Heights appeared to be a hot topic, with Jimmy Knott (from the audience) suggesting that security cameras in the neighborhood of Crown Heights (adjacent to Oceanside High). Joan Brown, from the audience, commented: “Crown Heights looks like a war zone . . . there have been no capital improvements since the 15 years I have lived here.”
The possibility of a 4th of July fireworks display was not on the list, though it drew interest from the council. Traditionally, Oceanside has shot fireworks from a barge at sea near the infamous pier, though the custom was canceled (due to cost and amount of law enforcement needed) a couple of years ago.
El Corazon, a park at the heart of Oceanside (Rancho del Oro Dr. and Oceanside Blvd.) is among current talk for perhaps having a display. The lot is largely vacant, and a 465-acre parcel of land.
The potential cost is $40,000, according to Feller, though he and Kern said it would be fitting to celebrate the city’s 125th birthday this year.
A proposal by Liz Rhea (Harbor and Beaches Advisory Committee) to buy perhaps six ladders (to start with) that can be utilized by any people who fall into the water at the harbor.
A draft General Fund budget was recommended for acceptance by Weiss, estimated at about $118 million, and asked that the council let him know what it thought of possible additions.
According to Jim Wood, Weiss had “clear direction and we do not need to vote.”
The no-vote format used in the proposed capital improvement project list is much the same.
The council has stated, however, that a study on implementing the Coast Highway corridor vision plan, narrowing the traveled way, is of interest to them.