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La Mirada Citizens’ Oversight Board Begins Work

By Randy Economy

La Mirada’s Measure I Citizens’ Oversight Board held its first meeting this week.

The panel includes five La Mirada residents selected based upon their experience and education in dealing with financial matters.  The Citizens’ Oversight Board includes volunteers from various backgrounds and areas in the community.

Each was nominated by a member of the City Council, and appointed to a four year term ending in the June following the end of the term of their nominating Councilmember.  These volunteers will review actions taken by the City as part of the Measure I Infrastructure Repair program.

The Citizens’ Oversight Board will meet quarterly, or more often if needed, to monitor progress on planning, engineering and construction of infrastructure repairs, renovations and improvements.

The panel will monitor program performance, and review independent financial audits and reports prepared by the City and its consultants.

The Citizens’ Oversight Board will maintain regular communication with the City Manager’s office, which coordinates the workings of the City’s finance and public works staff.

This communication will enable the committee to effectively perform its oversight responsibilities by enhancing information gathering and decision-making. By developing a firm understanding of the Measure I Infrastructure Repair program, the Citizens’

Oversight Board will be positioned to ensure that funds are spent as intended.Each year the Citizens’ Oversight Board is anticipated to issue a report with its findings regarding the use of Measure I funds.

The Citizens’ Oversight Board selected Phillip Massey, Certified Public Accountant/Senior Financial Officer at Southern California Edison, to serve as chairman.  Lee Olsen, a retired Manager/Director of Finance, was selected as Vice Chairman.  Also serving on the Oversight Board are: Changhai Ahn, School Principal and Publisher for The Town Newspaper; Hal Malkin, retired Businessman and Educator; and David Morfin, Human Resources Analyst for County of Los Angeles and Educator.A consulting firm has estimated that the one percent Measure I sales tax will generate approximately $4.5 to $5 million in revenues annually for a five year period.  If these estimates are realized, the City may receive between $20 and $25 million during this five year period.  These revenues will fund a portion of an aggressive infrastructure repair program, which has been estimated by an engineering firm to cost more than $67 million. The City intends to use other funding as it becomes available to pay for additional improvements.

The Citizen’s Oversight Board was established by the City Council to inform the public concerning the City’s expenditure of funds received from a one percent supplemental sales tax authorized by more than 66 percent of La Mirada voters on November 6, 2012.

The La Mirada Citizen’s Oversight Board will report whether Measure I sales tax revenues were spent for the repair, renovation, replacement or improvement of streets, roads, sewers, sidewalks, lighting, walls and other infrastructure in the community.  The panel will also help to ensure that funds are spent in a planned and programmed manner to help maintain vital City services by preventing service level reductions caused by the need for more costly emergency repairs of infrastructure.

Members of the City Council have expressed their intent that Measure I revenues be used to fund necessary infrastructure repairs.  Measure I funds are also eligible to be used to maintain other vital City services if economic conditions change in the future.

Meetings of the Citizens’ Oversight Board are held at La Mirada City Hall, and are open to the public.  To promote transparency, all agendas are posted and available online.  Meeting minutes are also available for public review.

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