OCEANSIDE — The city sent a city Appropriations Committee, comprised of the deputy mayor, city manager, water utilities director and public works division manager, to Washington, D.C., for Tin Cup Week. The annual trip is an opportunity for Oceanside to request federal funds and keep state representatives abreast of city projects.
The committee spent Feb. 19 to Feb. 22 meeting with key agencies and government representatives. The four-day schedule included face-to-face time with congressional and senate representatives, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.
City Manager Michelle Skaggs-Lawrence said the committee is seeking continued federal support for the San Luis Rey River flood protection project, a shoreline special study, harbor dredging, VASH vouchers to help homeless veterans, ground water desalting, a regional water reclamation (recycling) project and CDBG and Home affordable housing monies.
The committee is also looking for potential grant funding for beachfront improvements, strengthening its landmark pier, completing the Coastal Rail Trail and construction of El Corazon Aquatics Center. The projects, including the world-class aquatics center with competitive amenities, have been on the city’s wish list for several years.
Skaggs-Lawrence said past visits have been successful in obtaining federal dollars. A major success was the award of $1 million for an 800 MHz radio system several years ago.
Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery is the city’s legislative delegate for this year’s trip. He has been part of the committee twice before.
Lowery described the week in D.C. as nonstop meetings from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’re fortunate the (city) staff is so well educated (on funding needs), they have been doing this for years,” Lowery said.
Lowery said he is focused on gaining funds for VASH vouchers which give homeless veterans temporary housing and skills to secure permanent housing.
He will also present photos to illustrate the pressing need for beachfront sand replenishment and strengthening the 91-year-old pier.
Lowery said last year’s king tides brought ocean waves within feet of newly installed beach playground equipment.
Pier reinforcement is needed to ensure emergency vehicles can drive out to provide service to the restaurant, restrooms and bait shop at the end of the pier. The pier was last reinforced in 1986.
Funding for sustainable local water projects is also at the top of his list. Lowery said about 18 percent of the city water supply is local water. Oceanside is looking to increase that with additional permits, and water treatment processes.
Water Utilities Director Cari Dale said the committee will share news on its plans for a city water replenishment aquifer and North County regional recycled water project.
The regional project to build recycled water infrastructure involves nine other North County cities.
Dale said funds for the two projects will not be requested this year. Federal grants will be applied for in the future.