Sept. 26--A zone change and other final details for a new fire station in south Oxnard were unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday night.
The future Fire Station 8, while welcomed in theory by supporters and critics, has sparked controversy because it will take up precious park acreage. Some also objected to an unusual financing method they think adds unnecessary cost.
The facility will be on 2.5 acres in College Park at the southeast corner of Rose Avenue and Channel Islands Boulevard.
Funds from the city's half-cent sales tax, Measure O, will pay for the $22.9 million project.
Approvals for bits and pieces of the project stretch back more than two years. In May 2011, the council approved use of Measure O funds for construction, equipment and staffing. At that time, plans called for a smaller station with projected construction costs of $8.5 million.
Plans now call for a 13,000-square-foot station, a 1/2 -acre training yard and a 920-square-foot training building, among other amenities.
Construction, design and similar costs will be about $12.4 million, said James Cameron, the city's finance chief, which will be paid from about $15.5 million in bonds. Interest and other costs related to financing will bring the total amount to $22.9 million.
Grant funds will help pay for firetrucks, with an additional $1.2 million of Measure O dollars to be used for the balance.
Measure O funds will also pay for the 24 firefighters at Station 8. Costs will eventually be transferred to the general fund. Annual costs to staff and operate the site will be about $3.7 million, Cameron said. Eight firefighters will staff each shift, and the station will house an aerial ladder truck and fire engine.
Critics voiced concern at hearings and public workshops before Tuesday's vote. But even they acknowledged the station was a done deal. The council approved a lease financing arrangement through an outside entity in May 2012 and in June this year authorized a lease agreement with a subsidiary of Arizona-based Community Finance Corp.
Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez requested the council later look at buying 3 acres elsewhere to replace the lost parkland, and Councilman Bert Perello asked for a report on how wording in the specific plan for the northeast part of town was changed to allow wiggle room in building a fire station there.
In other business, the council viewed a draft plan for the city's planned takeover of its solid-waste processing facility.
The city-owned Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station has been run by two outside companies since it opened in 1996. In July, the council voted 3-1 to have city staff members run the plant when the current contract runs out at the end of January. The preliminary look required no formal vote Tuesday night, though the item drew passionate comments in favor of and against the takeover. A more detailed plan was expected next week.
In closed session, the panel unanimously approved a request from the city's midmanagers to form a union.
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