Council to hear update on PD Chief hiring, consider WWTP sale to Crown

February 01, 2013
Santa Paula City Council

An update related to hiring a new police chief, raising fees for municipal services, the 2012 budget in review, and an update on the potential sale of the former wastewater treatment plant are on the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting.

The meeting will be held February 4 at City Hall Council Chambers starting at 6 p.m., when the council will go into closed session to appoint labor negotiators.

The open session will start at 6:30 p.m. and be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 and replayed per schedule. The meeting will also be live-streamed on the city’s website and archived for viewing on demand.  

There are three presentations: Ginger Gherardi, representing the Santa Paula Rotary Club, will address the kickoff of the 4th of July Fireworks campaign; and Citrus Festival Balloon Festival founder Carla Edwards will talk about the summer event. The council will also hear a presentation regarding the possible location of a minor league baseball club in Santa Paula by the Santa Barbara Foresters.

How and when the city will hire a new police chief has not been addressed since an October 2012 city press release following the September 28 recruitment closing. The press release noted the 25 applications received would be reviewed and candidates’ resumes evaluated by District Attorney Greg Totten, Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams and Asst. Sheriff John Crombach. 

The resumes of the top candidates would be passed on to a Citizens Advisory Panel that includes the president of the Santa Paula Police Officers Association for interviews and evaluation. Their recommendations will then go to City Manager Jaime Fontes, who would do the final interviews and make the selection.

Sgt. Ishmael Cordero has been serving as interim police chief since Chief Steve MacKinnon was placed on paid administrative leave in April for allegedly misusing a city vehicle and credit card and falsifying time sheets. MacKinnon was fired in June, despite an outpouring of public support of the chief and an onslaught of criticism directed at city officials.

The council will also address municipal fee amendments including those newly created and/or adopted, the result of an effort to recapture costs as the national economy and city’s budget was being crunched.

Also crunched is the proposed sale price of the property sought by Crown Disposal. The controversial land deal has been dragging on for months, but it appears the city and Crown are close to a deal on the former site of the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Corporation Road.

In November the proposed sale price of the 9.88-acre parcel and its equipment and buildings - including digesters, tanks, pts, seepage ponds and several structures formerly uses as offices and a shop area - was $2.04 million. But with a portion now retained for a city yard - formerly the city was going to lease the property from Crown - and a sliver that eventually will be needed for road widening, the parcel has been reduced to 7.98 acres and sales price to about $1.6 million.    

Among the caveats of the deal is Crown’s future expansion of operations to turn the property into a material-recycling center that could include a food digester. The proposed contract with the city notes that any future materials brought into the operation would generate a “host” trash-tipping fee for the city.  

City Hall is located at 970 E. Ventura Street. For more information call 933-4208.

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