Residents question Antioch Council on transparency, use of Measure C funds, hear about homeless shelter

Council approves new Code Enforcement Manager position

By Nick Goodrich

At the Tuesday, April 12th meeting of the Antioch City Council met for its regular meeting. The main event of the night was a presentation by the Antioch Shelter Project. The Council also approved a new Code Enforcement position and awarded bids to numerous contractors for city services. First, they heard complaints from residents about Measure C, including one former member of the oversight committee for half-cent sales tax for police and other city services.

Public Comments

During public comments Antioch resident Dave Redford told the Council that he has not been satisfied with the transparency of the measure’s implementation, as only a small part of the funds received are thoroughly tracked. He requested that the  Council open a public discussion to hear more input from residents.

Redford was followed by Sal Sbrante, a former member of the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee. Sbrante’s concerns centered on the fact that a portion of the funds received – called the Citywide Allocated funds – has risen 77% since Measure C was adopted, while the overall Antioch Police Department budget has gone up only 27%. Sbrante ended his remarks by saying, “I voted for Measure C, I will not vote for any Measure put forth by this Council again.”

Council members, however, disagreed with Redford and Sbrante, expressing confidence in the effectiveness and transparency of the Measure, which was put into effect in order to aid an overburdened Antioch Police Department.

Antioch Shelter Project

Antioch’s Council Chamber was packed to the brim on Tuesday as dozens of residents and proponents showed up to support the Antioch Shelter Project. Gary Kingsbury, the driver behind the project’s effort to create a shelter for homeless women and children in Antioch, was on hand to present the project’s efforts to the Council.

Women and children are the fastest growing and most vulnerable homeless population in the County, says Kingsbury, and currently there are no shelters geared toward them in the East Bay.

The nonprofit organization New Life Dream Center has aided a coalition of churches, private foundations, and community groups as they strive to locate and build a shelter, in Antioch. They have looked at City property on Delta Fair Boulevard, between Los Medanos College and County offices, as a good location for the shelter, but the Council’s approval will be needed to make that a reality.

And that appears not to be an issue. After the presentation, every member of City Council took time to separately voice support for the project. City Council’s overwhelming sentiment of goodwill for the Antioch Shelter Project will undoubtedly lead to it’s success at next month’s City Council meeting, when it will be up for a formal vote.

Following that presentation, the Council moved through its regular agenda, visiting topics such as awarding bids to contractors for city services, a Mosquito and Vector Control Committee vacancy, and the ongoing Brackish Water Desalination Project -which the Council unanimously approved for a loan in order for it to continue the process.

New Code Enforcement Manager position

A new Code Enforcement Manager position was also approved on a 5-0 vote. Code Enforcement, and its job is to prevent and eradicate blight in Antioch. However, Antioch’s Code Enforcement department has long been understaffed, and currently is untested and new to the work: five members of the team are starting just this month.

Code Enforcement’s struggles with blight in the city were highlighted when Antioch resident Steve Huddleston spoke about the new position. He said he’s has seen vandalism and homelessness become a serious problem on Delta Fair Boulevard for years, being cleaned up only to spring up again later. Huddleston called on the City to take more permanent action on the issue.

“I’ve been here for 26 years, and it’s time for somebody to actually step up and get it done,” he said.

The City Council has been approving the hiring new Code Enforcement Officers and laborers as the city budget allows, and the Council members assured the public they will continue to do so in their efforts to address the issue.

The next Council meeting will be held Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located between West Second and Third Streets at H Street in downtown.

2 Comments to “Residents question Antioch Council on transparency, use of Measure C funds, hear about homeless shelter”

  1. John says:

    Brentwood should pay Antioch to built Homeless shelter and center instead of here in Brentwood!

  2. Julio says:

    For one thing, BOTH cities need homeless shelters. Without a doubt!
    Obviously John is a NIMBY person.

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