Tri County Sentry

Camino Del Sol agreement ok’d


Housing Director Emilio Ramirez (Photo courtesy City of Oxnard)

Housing Director Emilio Ramirez (Photo courtesy City of Oxnard)

Oxnard– The Community Services, Public Safety, Housing & Development Committee, Tuesday, June 14, approved license agreement A-8457 for the Oxnard Housing Authority to operate the property at 1500 Camino Del Sol.

THE agreement is for $564,000 and has a five-year term for the Multi-Service Center. The committee also authorized an increase in the operational subsidy to $184,000 for the current fiscal year to cover financial losses at the location.

The funding will help the $22,000 monthly operating cost, groundskeeping, general services, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, and other expenses.

Housing Programs Manager Brenda Lopez said the Muti-Service Center was originally leased to the Oxnard Housing Authority in 1994 to implement the Family Investment Center (FIC)), a five-year program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It allowed the Housing Authority to provide programs that provided participants with self-proficiency skills.

“When the program ended, the Housing Authority signed a new lease agreement and continued to operate the building,” she said. “It was determined that it was more cost-efficient for the Housing Authority to do so than the city.”

For the past two decades, she said the building served as the operational base for the Resident Services Program, serving public health and residents.

“In addition, various organizations which serve the low-income population and the La Colonia Community at large offer their services onsite,” Lopez said. “The current tenants include Catalyst Family, Child Development Resources of Ventura County, New Dawn Counseling and Consulting, Future Leaders of America, and Infinite New Day Inc. The building also houses the City of Oxnard Colonia Mini Library, a computer lab, and the Colonia Village Tenant Association office.”

She said the lease agreement gets a subsidy from the general fund to help cover operational costs for the site, including landscaping, repairs, administrative costs, and utility services.

The original subsidy was for $130,000 and decreased to $72,000 over the years.

“In the current fiscal year, despite receiving $126,732 in rent revenues, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in unexpected financial losses for this building,” she said. “One of the largest tenants closed their offices; a second tenant requested rent relief as a result of their own office closures and decrease in funding.”

She said marketing the available space was delayed due to the mandated Covid-19 preventive measures in place.

“During this time, the unexpected costs were covered by the use of the operating reserves for the building, which have been exhausted,” she said. “Only emergency repairs were completed this fiscal year.”

She also requested that the annual subsidy for operational expenses increase to $95,000, effective July 1.

“The $23,000 net increase will be included in each recommended budget through the end of the contract term,” Lopez said.

Housing Director Emilio Ramirez said the companion piece with the action has some blanks and will be filled in when the full council acts on the matter.

“That’s the date of the term,” he said. “Beyond that, this is the continued use of the Multi-Service Center for a variety of community-serving non-profits that the Housing Authority continues to manage or operate the building and the tenants that are there. There have been revenue gaps generated during Covid that we’re looking to recover during that period. We’ve recaptured the tenants, and we’re looking to recover.”

Committee Member Mayor John Zaragoza confirmed that during the pandemic, they did lose a tenant.

“There is a childcare operator that is on-site,” Ramirez said. “The childcare operation continues on-site, but the administrative building, the entire non-profit, was in that building. The administration vacated the building, so they lost a significant amount of revenue.”

Zaragoza noted that it’s important they continue using the whole building.

“We provide quite a bit of information, and there are other agencies that people can use there,” he said. “You need another $22,000 for utilities and $95,000?”

Ramirez said the increase is a cost-of-living increase.

“It costs more money to maintain and run the building,” he said. “We did experience a rent revenue loss because we lost that major tenant, and now we’ve replaced them with a different community serving tenant, which is a mental health service and medical function. The whole staff agrees with you; the Multi-Service Center should continue to be used for a community-serving selection of services. That’s the intent.”

The item passed unanimously and moved forward to the entire city council.

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