June 20, 2013
Tim Dewar, email@example.com
Cautious optimism ruled the morning during the annual “State of the City/ Education” address at Soule Park Wednesday.
Ojai city manager Rob Clark and Ojai Unified School District superintendent Hank Bangser gave updates on their organizations to approximately 30 who attended the breakfast event, organized by the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce.
After explaining some of the financial challenges the city has faced since 2000, Clark focused on an improving city budget and what the City Council has decided to do with the increase it is beginning to see return to the general fund.
He said the city currently has a 10-year backlog on infrastructure improvement projects, particularly when it comes to the 41 miles of roads in the city.
He listed 12 road projects that the city is planning in the near future and added that spending on road improvements will continue to increase in future years, budget permitting, with the goal of reaching $700,000 annually.
During his presentation, he also touched on other issues facing the city, including adopting the state-mandated Housing Element and bringing non-conforming housing units into compliance to help decrease the number of units the state requires the city to accommodate.
Bangser also shared the good news of a slight increase in his budget this year.
Although the School District won’t be able to do anything as visible as repair streets, he was pleased to announce that it will be able to reduce the number of furlough days district employees are required to take. This, he said, will result in an increase in the number of school days for the first time in several years.
The dark cloud over Bangser’s news is that the funds are not the result of an increase in the district’s enrollment. This year, the district is projected to lose an additional 90 students, the latest decline in a 10-year trend that has seen a total of 863 fewer students, or a total of 14 percent, than attended in the 2004-2005 school year.