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Council hears report on Measures L & V use

By Susan Read News Review Staff Writer– The Ridgecrest City Council meeting of October 5, 2022, kicked off with a presentation by Holly Staab, Measure V Oversight Committee member, who provided the Measures L and V Annual Report for fiscal year 2020-2021. Staab was supported by committee member Chip Holloway. 

The committee’s duties regarding the use of proceeds from L and V taxes include reviewing all appropriations received from sales and use tax; reviewing the city’s comprehensive annual financial report; and preparing and issuing the committee’s report on its findings. It tracks that all L and V funds are deposited into the city’s General Fund, then track those funds within the system. Staab noted that Public Safety (police) and Public Works (streets) expenditures have their own tracking within the accounting system. “The city does a great job of tracking this money,” Staab added. “The committee’s expectation is that L and V funds would be spent as promised on Public Safety and Public Works.”  Measure V covers approximately one-third of the entire Public Safety budget, which “continues to provide a stable and increasing funding source each year.” Travis Reed, Public Works Director, said that 100 percent of Public Works’ budget that has gone into any form of street maintenance is from Measure V.

Chip Holloway commented on the details of the report. “Our goal is to have people read the report.” Council Member Peggy Breeden also encouraged the public to read the report, commenting on the excellent facts noted there. The full report and audit results are available to the public and can be found at 

Staab summarized the presentation by saying that “this money not only helps in maintaining but helps us grow. It helps us meet growing needs of a growing community. That’s very important to remember.”

During public comment, citizen Scott Miller asked if overtime paid to a police officer came out of Measure V or a different fund. City Manager Ron Strand responded that it depends on where the officer is classified. If the officer receives basic pay from Measure V funds, then overtime is also paid from Measure V. Miller then asked if the Oversight Committee attends budget meetings and has input to them. Staab stated that the committee does not give input to future plans, but rather just looks at the current year’s plan.

In a public comment, not on an agenda item, Skip Gorman asked what was going on with the electricity in the city, particularly with fluttering traffic signals at intersections. Strand responded that periodic maintenance is taking place.

Mayor Bruen said he visited the Ridgecrest Community Garden group on their recent anniversary, noting how much hard work is put into this public resource. The all-volunteer group of this non-profit organization brings freshly grown, organic produce to the community. He shared disappointment that recent vandalism had taken place at the site and encouraged the public to visit the garden located at 231 W. Haloid Avenue. 

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Hayman and Council Member Kyle Blades reported that a facilitation workshop was held on October 4, where Lisa Buetler, facilitator for The Department for Water Resources (DWR) gave an overview of water management issues relating to water in the Basin including brackish water. 

Blades reported that the workshop was carried out in good spirit and done in good faith. “I’m concerned about the future,” he said, “It’s important that people understand we’re paying attention.”

At Committee Report time, City Manager Strand said that slurry sealing will be done on City Hall’s parking lot, and the update of ADA access ramps will also start.

Strand also reported that city staff put out a quality-of-life survey on social media two weeks ago. To date, there have been approximately 300 responses and he urged the public to take part in the survey, which will be open for another week or so.

Mayor Bruen listed some of the upcoming parks projects for 2023 and highlighted the “Movies in the Park” showing of “Hocus Pocus” tonight, October 14, as well as the Halloween “Trunk or Treat” event on October 28.

In closing, Council Member Blades thanked all who volunteer to contribute to the quality of life in Ridgecrest. “There’s much good going on,” he enthused. “Let’s be positive with each other.”