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2010
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JPA river valley Matters

 

< Executive Director's Column | Fall 2010

posted 12/09/10

by Dick Bobertz, Executive Director
San Dieguito River Park

Funding Status of the San Dieguito River Park

Current Budget Status For the 20-year history of the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority operational funding has been provided by its five city members, San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Escondido, Poway and San Diego County. The members provided funding in proportion to population and jurisdictional area in the River Park. This agreement worked well for twenty year. Unfortunately, over the last several years, the economic downturn has resulted in severe budget problems for all governments, particularly the City of San Diego. As a result, the City made the decision to suspend its share of funding for the River Park in 2010.

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< San Dieguito River Park JPA meeting: 19 November  2010.

posted 12/01/10

As there was no quorum the only item the board received was a report on the final restoration work at the river mouth from Patrick Tennant, SCE Aquatic Biologist.

Construction work will commence very soon for the armoring of the south bank of the river, where it bend westward, SE of Jimmy Durante Boulevard, In anticipation of the rebuilding of the 29th street beach access, SCE is improving the 26th and 27th street accesses.

The reconfiguration of the inlet will move between 50 to 80,000 cubic yards of sand which will be deposited on the beaches N. an S. of the inlet. This work is scheduled to last from early January to late May 2011  unless conditions force a postponement to September to December 2011 after nesting season.

Conversation with Board members brought to light the fact that the State Propostion 84 funding for the San Dieguito Lagoon Center and Santa Ysabel Visitor Center will not be available.


< JPA Finances:  City of San Diego properties

posted 07/18/10

The JPA Board has decided not to suspend work on property belonging to the City of San Diego in spite of fiscal problems arising from the city's refusal to pay its annual contribution committed in the 1989 Joint Powers Agreement for the development and management of the San Dieguito River Park trail system. Below is a summary of the benefits San Diego would lose should this suspension need to be instituted.

One of the most recognized benefits to JPA member agencies is the construction,maintenance and patrol of an extensive recreational trail system to benefit citizens. Most of the existing recreational trail system and ongoing projects to expand the system are located within the City of San Diego jurisdiction or on property owned by the City of San Diego.

1. The current River Park trail system is composed of approximately 40 miles of trails.  More than sixty percent or 25 miles of the trail system (primarily Lake Hodges Dam to Bandy Canyon Road/Hwy 78 intersection) is located within the City of San Diego jurisdiction on City-owned property. The following list shows the functions that would be
terminated in that area:

a. Ranger and volunteer trail patrol.

b. Maintenance of trails, erosion control and trash removal. Maintenance of facilities such as bridges, kiosks, fencing, benches and interpretive signs.

c. Provision of five staging areas: Bernardo Bay, Sunset Drive, Highland Valley, Ysabel Creek Road, and Bandy Canyon/Hwy 78 - gates to be closed and locked.

d. Access to the Lake Hodges Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge – gates to be closed and locked.

e. Four portable toilets at Bernardo Bay, Lake Hodges Bridge, Ysabel Creek Road and Bandy Canyon/78 – removed.

f. Supervision of Boy Scout projects and volunteer work.

g. Coordination with City Planning groups, Police and Fire Departments, San Diego animal and vector control, HOA’s, Federal and State Resource Agencies, City of San Diego leaseholders, and charitable event organizers.

h. Organization of events and activities.

The result of eliminating these functions is expected to be rapid deterioration of the largest continuous part of the currently available Coast to Crest Trail and extensive destruction of natural habitat areas through off-trail mountain bike and vehicle activity. Not least, water
quality would suffer due to lack of patrol for dogs off leash, lack of portable toilet service, overflowing trash receptacles, etc.. Lacking assignment of City of San Diego rangers to the area, public safety will also be diminished.

2. The River Park currently has $2,227,000 of ongoing funded projects located within City of San Diego jurisdiction or on City owned property related to expanding the trail system or habitat restoration:

a. Heritage Trail Link     $15,000
b. Invasive Species Control Program   $100,000
c. West Bernardo Bike Path/Cantilever   $1,350,000
d. Lagoon Trail (San Andres to Horsepark)   $115,000
e. Horsepark Trail (Horsepark to El Camino Real $350,000
f. Mesa Loop Trail $172,000
g. Salt Marsh Mitigation  $125,000

Canceling these projects would require return of the funds obtained through grants and, in the case of the Salt Marsh Mitigation project, subject the River Park to legal sanctions for failing to mitigate impacts of a constructed project. Additionally, some of the projects are
planned to include ranger labor which provides revenue to the River Park.


< JPA Budget Crisis Update

posted 07/05/10

The San Dieguito River Park Board considered budget alternatives for potential adoption at its June 18th meeting for the new fiscal year that starts July 1st.  To make up the loss of the City of San Diego’s $254,000 in the River Park’s annual budget, the Board considered various alternatives that included layoffs, continued furloughs and/or a range of cuts in employee benefits.  The Board has accepted Executive Director Bobertz' decision to retire effective July 1, 2010, and then continue to serve as Executive Director in a volunteer capacity. In May, the Board had voted to ask the River Park employees to vote on whether they wish to petition to leave the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association.

The JPA employees voted unanimously to stay with the County Employees Retirement Association. The budget that the Board approved on June 18th cut the JPA's contribution to the employees share of the retirement cost (the offset) in half, froze the health payment benefits at the current level, eliminated bookkeeping services, eliminated employee mileage reimbursement, restored the half-time Sikes Adobe Museum Manager position, and cut the Environmental Planner position to half-time. Their action included that any undesignated income would be used to restore the Environmental Planner position to former 3/4 time. The adopted budget still has a shortfall, which the Board determined to take as a loan from its reserve fund.


< San Dieguito River Valley JPA Finances

posted 06/23/10

The JPA operating budget has been severely impacted by the failure of the City of San Diego to honor its 1989 agreement to contribute to the cost of maintaining the San Dieguito River Park. Poway, Escondido. Solana Beach, Del Mar and the County of San Diego have all continued support even in difficult fiscal times.

Consequently, at the June18 meeting of the JPA Board emotional and wrenching decisions had to be made in order to assure the continuation of the River Park project. The Board was unanimous in its belief that the park ranger group should be left intact in order to protect both the physical environment and the public users of the trails.

 The retirement benefits of all staff were discussed and after suggestions from the staff and from the board members it was decided to adjust the pension plan rather than have lay-offs or furloughs. One major loss will be the reduction to ½ time of the Environmental Planner, a valuable staff member who, amongst other things, is an important liaison with agencies adjacent to the Park. The position of Sikes Farmstead manager was retained as this project is considered a focus point in the northern part of the park.

The retirement of the Executive Director and his willingness to work on a volunteer basis for two years was key to the successful budget decisions. The Board agreed that this is the first time they have seen such a generous offer. The attorney also offered pro bono services.

Finally the Board agreed to use some of the money in the Endowment to make up any shortfall while hoping that next year will see San Diego once again live up to its commitment.

The budget was approved 6-1 with San Diego representative Carl DeMaio dissenting and Poway, Escondido and the other San Diego member absent.

< Budget Crisis Update from JPA

posted 06/03/2010

The San Dieguito River Park Board considered budget alternatives for potential adoption at its May 21 st meeting for the new fiscal year that starts July 1st.  To make up the loss of the City of San Diego’s $254,000 in the River Park’s annual budget, the Board considered various alternatives that included layoffs, continued furloughs and/or a range of cuts in employee benefits.  At the meeting, the Board accepted Executive Director Bobertz' decision to retire effective July 1, 2010, and then continue to serve as Executive Director in a volunteer capacity. The Board also voted to ask the River Park employees to vote on whether they wish to petition to leave the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association. The Board approved a budget alternative that would keep the Environmental Planner at 3/4 time but eliminate the Sikes Adobe Museum Manager position, however that budget has a significant shortfall and will require additional decisions for it to be balanced and adopted in final form at the June 18 Board meeting.


< JPA Budget Update

posted 05/26/2010

A meeting between member agency mayors, a County Supervisor and San Diego Mayor Sanders has not produced results so far. Meanwhile the JPA must produce a budget for next year.

At the May 21 meeting of the Board of Directors the future of the JPA was discussed at length and the board is inching toward a temporary solution for the next fiscal year.

The Board accepted the generous offer of Director Dick Bobertz . He will retire in July and remain as a volunteer Executive Director for two years.

This will ensure the 75 % funding level for the Senior Planner position but eliminating the funding for the Sikes Adobe manager.

Carl DiMaio, San Diego City JPA member, made the motion for these actions which also included the following: 

Request a staff vote on withdrawing from the County Retirement System. 

Raise the staff 401(k) contributions from 3 to 5 %.

Receive $15,000 from Carl DiMaio and Sherrie Lightner for an actuarial study of the staff situation.

It passed 5 in favor-2 opposed after contentious discussion.


< Budget Crisis Update from JPA Director

posted 05/05/2010  

Thank you to the many San Dieguito River Park supporters who took the time to write San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to express your concerns about the City's decision to withdraw all funding from the San Dieguito River Park. At the present time there is no change to the situation. The Mayor met with the Mayors of the San Dieguito River Park's other 4 member agencies (Del Mar, Escondido, Poway and Solana Beach) and the Chair of the County Board of Supervisors on April 15th. They expressed their dismay at the City's unilateral decision to withdraw funding and they explained that the citizens of the City of San Diego are the biggest beneficiaries of the San Dieguito River Park. The Mayor said he would investigate the option of transferring the River Park budget to the Water Department, but was not encouraging.

from the JPA website.


< San Dieguito River Park Finances

posted 03/24/2010

This letter was sent to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders on February  
28, 2010, to express FSDRV's concerns about the future of the River 
Park.  Click HERE.


< San Dieguito River Park

posted 02/25/2010

San Diego’s decision to drop its assessment payment under the 1989 Joint Powers agreement with San Diego County, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Escondido and Poway has placed the existence of the JPA in jeopardy. San Diego’s share represents 36% of the operating budget. A reduction of this size impacts staff, rangers , trail maintenance, Sikes Farmstead operation, invasive species removal and watershed management amongst the many responsibilities of the JPA.

The Board made a 14% cut in salaries last year and voted for a once a month furlough for employees this year. There are 5 staff members and 6 rangers.

San Diego councilmembers DeMaio and Lightner are negotiating with Mayor Sanders to try to find a way out of this impasse.

Please write to the

Mayor JerrySanders@sandiego.gov 

and to Councilmembers DeMaio carldemaio@sandiego.gov

and Sherri Lightner sherrilightner@sandiego.gov

of San Diego Council Districts 5 and 1 to express support for the River Park.

<<