JOUR-201-Story-4-Final-Draft

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JOUR-201-Story-4-Final-Draft

asphaltBy FirstName LastNameThe Oceanside City Council voted on Wednesday to approve plans for the 2013-2014 Annual Overlay Project.

The project, which will replace deteriorated asphalt with a thick cap of new asphalt, was quoted at $5 million, 10 percent of which will be paid for with local funds.

City council officials approved the contract in the amount of $3,137,137, which will be authorized by the city manager upon the receipt of all supporting documents associated with project.

Jim Wood, the chair of the Oceanside Public Financing Authority (OPFA), was relieved to approve this contract.

“Some of our streets are in dire need of repairs, and this project will certainly improve our commutes through the city,” he mentioned after the meeting.

The project, which does not yet have a start date, will be repairing sections of seven streets throughout the city. Three of those streets, including El Camino Real, are among the busiest in Oceanside.

When asked if he is concerned with increased traffic on the main streets, Jack Feller did not seem concerned.

“We have developed procedures for preventing too much traffic during construction, and we rarely work on the roads during busy hours,” said the OPFA director.

Granite Construction Company of Watsonville, California, will be tasked with undertaking the project, which was approved 5-0 by council officials.

Although other construction projects are under way in Oceanside, this undertaking will be the largest in Oceanside this year.

“With such a growing population, our city is working hard to maintain our busy roads,” said Feller.

With more than 171,000 citizens, Granite Construction’s project will ensure a safe and smooth ride through Oceanside’s most frequented city streets.

In addition to the Annual Overlay Project, Oceanside’s Annual Slurry Seal Contract is out to bid. Estimated to cost $1 million, the Slurry Seal Contract is markedly smaller than the Overlay Project, but TransNet will be funding the entire project.

Transnet projects currently cost the city $11.5 million, and the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 asks for an additional $1.6 million for new roadway projects. Half of the proposed $1.6 million will go toward quiet zone construction drawings.

James Riley, Oceanside’s Financial Services Director, mentioned after the Hall Council meeting that roadways are an expensive but necessary means of allocating the city’s $127.4 million budget.

“You don’t realize how fast all the money dries up when everyone wants a piece of the pie, but the new roadway projects will markedly improve our streets,” he said.

Fortunately, the city’s base budget, which is outlined in June’s City council agenda, increased $1.9 million this year. This has freed up money for additional projects like the $100,000 access road joining El Corazon and Ocean Ranch Blvd.

“It’s always a good feeling when you know you’re working with more money than you did last year,” mentioned Riley when asked about how the budget differs from last year.

Although the $6.9 million proposed budget for the Annual Overlay Project might fall short of the authorized contract, it is nevertheless a project that Wood is happy to see through.

“Our city will surely benefit from our improved roads, especially as a result of the Annual Overlay Project.”

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Sidebar:

The Annual Overlay Project is one of many expenditures that are included in Oceanside’s current Capital Improvement Program.

The city’s $86.7 million capital improvement budget for 2014 is allocated across nine main categories, the most costly being Oceanside’s water systems.

In addition to water improvement projects, sewer maintenance and municipal building repairs account for $32 million of the $86.7 million budget. Transnet projects, which are the fourth largest capital improvement expenditures this year, account for 16 percent of the overall budget.

When asked how the finance council allocates the budget each year, James Riley, Oceanside’s Financial Services Director, replied simply.

“We determine the city’s most pressing repairs first, and then vote on projects that we think will benefit the greatest number of city residents.”

Despite the magnitude of the capital expenditures, however, many city residents don’t lend much attention.

“I just pay my taxes and trust that they’re spending my money the right way,” said Melissa Holohan, an Oceanside resident of 25 years.

Nevertheless, millions of dollars continue to be allocated each year, much of which goes toward funding projects such as this year’s Annual Overlay Project.

Discussion Question:

How aware are you of your city’s budget expenditures?

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