Lompoc Senior Center


The Grand Jury received citizen requests to investigate the delay in establishing a Lompoc Senior Center.


To review the status of the plan to establish a Lompoc Senior Center and to determine the status of the $416,618 originally allocated for this purpose in 1990.


The Grand Jury reviewed the following documents:
· Lompoc Senior Center Needs Assessment Report of May 1990
· Senior Needs Survey Report, 1996
· Minutes from the Lompoc City Council meetings, 1989 to 1997
· Minutes from the City Senior Commission Meetings, 1993 to 1997
· Report to City Council, January 1997, on the purchase of the I Street property for the development of a Senior Center.

The Grand Jury interviewed:
· Lompoc city staff and elected officials
· Lompoc senior residents
· Members of the City Senior Commission
· Staff of the Lompoc Valley Senior Services
· Members and staff of the Valley of Flowers Half Century Club

The Grand Jury also toured other Senior Centers in Santa Barbara County and interviewed the directors.


There were many sites considered for the location of the Senior center. The description of each site is located in the Appendix, pages 14.

The following outline describes the events related to the development of the Lompoc Senior Center. The information was obtained from interviews, minutes, and the Needs Assessment Report of May 1990.

1973: A Hot Meal program was set up in a church at Cypress and E Street. This program is currently operated by the Lompoc Valley Senior Services and is known as the "Senior Nutrition Center." It has moved to various locations over the years and is presently housed in the Andersen Recreation Center.

1976: The city purchased the Knights of Pythias Hall using CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds with the intention that the building be used for a multi purpose senior center.

1988: In late 1988, a Joint City/Senior Task Force was organized to explore the need for a senior citizen facility for Lompoc. The objective of the Task Force was to build a new senior center within 5 years.

April 1989: Upon recommendation of city staff , the Council voted to conduct a Senior Center Feasibility study.

June 20, 1989: Minutes from City Council Meeting:
"Councilmember J.D. Smith advised that the City is in the process of possibly selling City owned property on Central Avenue
5 and requested that if the property is sold, the money be used toward purchasing a senior citizens facility. Councilman Diaz concurred."

April 16, 1990: Minutes from City Council Meeting:
" Mayor Loney requested clarification as to where the proceeds from the sale of the property were to be spent. Council and staff agreed that it had previously been determined by Council that any proceeds would go to the Senior Citizen's facility. It was moved by Council Member Marks, seconded by Council Member Mullins, to approve the Real Estate Purchase and Development Agreement with Pactuco, Inc., and authorize the City Administrator to execute the purchase and development agreement and all necessary documents to complete the sale of the property. The motion carried on a unanimous vote of the Council."

May 1990: Final Report of Lompoc Senior Center Needs Assessment conducted by Artsoft Management Services concluded that:
· There is a need for a multi-use senior center in Lompoc and a State Licensed senior social day care center.
· The preferred site would be the YMCA/College Park site because the relative cost is the lowest and its central location is preferred in the surveys. It is recommended that a 19,110 sq. ft. facility be constructed at an estimated cost of $3 million.
· The City Council should develop a plan to obtain funding: county, state and federal funds; the City budget; and fundraising.
· Discussions between the City and community groups should commence immediately following the commitment by City Council to proceed with the project.

January 5, 1993: Minutes from City Council Meeting (Summary)
General Obligation Bonds may be issued to finance the construction of a Senior Center and a special tax would be levied to pay the annual debt service on the bonds, based on assessed value of properties. This would require a 2/3 majority of qualified voters. This vote could be city wide or valley wide, but if valley wide would require the consent of the County Legislative Board (Board of Supervisors).

A representative of the Senior Citizens Task Force made a presentation concerning the construction of the Senior Center and asked that a ballot measure concerning financing be placed on the June 1993 ballot. The other Task Force members were in agreement to go forward with the project.

The $416,618 from the Pactuco sale should be held until after the election to see if the bond issue passes. If the ballot measure does not pass, the money could be used elsewhere. The cost of the election should be taken out of the $416,618.

A motion was passed supporting a bond issue for the November 1993 ballot which would be valley wide.

April 6, 1993: Minutes from City Council Meeting
"The Chairperson, Senior Center Advisory Committee, Senior Task Force, read a letter into the record, stating that it was felt that the taxing atmosphere by the general public then precluded a successful bond issue ballot and requested that the Lompoc City Council suspend activities of the Senior Task Force. The Task Force could be reactivated when the Council considers it timely to do so. It was noted in the letter that the favored library district initiative failed in November 1992 and this caused many to doubt the efficacy of a Senior Center Bond issue."

October 5, 1993: A resolution of the City Council was passed, establishing a Senior Commission, consisting of five members appointed by the City Council who would have a term of four years. This, in effect, replaced the Senior Task Force.

April 21, 1994: The Senior Commission considered the Veteran's Memorial Building as a possible site.

May 10, 1994: Minutes from City Council Meeting (Summary)
A joint meeting between the City Council and the Senior Commission was held to discuss the YMCA/ College Park Property. The City Administrator outlined the history of the property. The City Attorney stated that the Transfer Agreement with the County did not lock the city into a 20,000 sq. ft. building and that downsizing was definitely a necessity. A visiting contractor mentioned that it could be 1/3 the size and a discussion of using modular units followed.

Council and Senior Commission members discussed the $416,618 set aside for a senior center. This money was earmarked for this purpose by a previous Council but stated that appropriations of the $416,618 could not be guaranteed for the future. Other funding options were suggested. Mayor Joyce Howerton indicated that a great deal of preliminary work and expense would have to be considered prior to placing an issue on the ballot and because of that "a bond issue this year is unlikely." Mayor Howerton suggested that a representative from the Council and a representative from the Commission should meet with the County to determine if a scaled down version of the Senior Center could be built on the College Park property. It was suggested by Council Member Mullins that whatever properties are found to be available in the City, the Senior Commission should be open to looking at all options.

February 16, 1995: Minutes from Senior Commission meeting (Summary)
The commission met with a city staff person, to discuss the staff's intentions regarding the use of the County owned Veteran's Building for a Senior Center and also to explore other options such as Linden's and Vons.

May 18, 1995: Minutes from Senior Commission meeting (Summary)
Senior Commission Chair requested that the City provide the Commission with an update of the status of the City's efforts to acquire the Veteran's Building. Staff reported that the County was unwilling to share the cost of repairs to bring the building up to code. The Vons and Linden properties were also discussed. All would require "big dollar amounts" to renovate. All present agreed that the Veterans Building should be the number one priority.

June 15, 1995: Minutes from Senior Commission meeting (Summary)
City staff gave an update to the Senior Commission on the Veterans Building, reporting that the City is still in the assessment phase. After the assessment is completed, city staff will present it to the County.

July 1, 1995: Minutes from the City Council meeting (Summary)
Chairperson of the Senior Commission raised the issue of the $416,618 set aside for the Senior Center and whether it was indeed earmarked for the Seniors. Mayor Howerton advised that the money was in the general fund but is set aside for seniors. Council Member Siminski suggested that a separate account be set up for the money. Council concurred.

August 17, 1995: Minutes from the City Council meeting (Summary)
The City declined to take title to the Veteran's Building until substantial remediation had been completed.

April 17, 1996: Minutes from Senior Commission meeting (Summary)
The City Administrator led a discussion concerning the Valley of the Flowers Half Century Club at the Senior Commission meeting . He stated that previous options for sites for the Senior Center had not come to fruition and that the City is now looking at 341 North N Street (Half Century Club location) as the site for the senior center and community center activities. He reported that he had proposed to the City Council that the City use $75,000 to $100,000 of CDBG money for needed repairs and that the lease with the Half Century Club be renegotiated for fair market rent. When the Half Century Club is not using the building, the City could lease it for other community activities. He stated that the plan would be implemented in July or August (1996). The monies from the leasing could be used for senior services. A visitor mentioned the $416,618 which was set aside for a senior building and suggested the senior center be developed in segments starting with 3000 sq. ft.

June 19, 1996: Minutes from Senior Commission meeting (Summary)
Commissioner DeVaux suggested an updated senior needs assessment be conducted. There was discussion of the history of the Senior Task Force and the failure to support a bond issue on the ballot. Mayor Howerton noted that the process stopped due to lack of public interest and that the City Council did not stop the Senior Center issue. She stated that she had personally looked at 12 sites and had taken staff with her. She stated her support for the center and noted that property is now cheaper and the possibilities for obtaining a center are better.

July 10, 1996: Minutes from Senior Commission meeting (Summary)
The Commission began focusing on a new senior needs survey the city had drafted.

August 6, 1996: Minutes from the City Council meeting (Summary)
The City Administrator reported on the history of the $416,618 set aside from the sale of the property to Pactuco in 1989 and his continued support for this money to be "seed money" for the construction of a senior center facility. He expressed concern about the inability to completely fund a project from general fund reserves as well as the annual cost of operations and maintenance once a facility has been established.

The City Attorney advised that the College Park site is land that the City had on a long-term lease with the County and that there were restrictions that the Senior Center had to be a certain size, cost, etc. If the facility was not constructed within a certain time frame, the land would revert to the original lease. A visiting contractor advised that he had been reviewing the possibility of building behind the YMCA and stated that a project could be built for $380,000 which would include a building of 3000 sq. ft. Council members expressed concerns about funding the operation of the building and that due to conditions required by the County the facility would have to serve the entire Lompoc valley.

Council Member Stillman suggested that, in order to have a Senior Center, it would be necessary to have a bond issue, voted on by the citizens of Lompoc.

A motion was passed unanimously to place the money in a separate fund to be designated for seniors and the interest would be applied back to this account rather than being utilized by the General Fund; and that the Council make a commitment to the $416,618 and that the money would be retained for the facility and that the separate account and the interest on that money not go into effect until the next budget cycle (July 1997).

The City Council was presented with a petition with 2,128 signatures requesting the building of the Senior Center be started immediately.

October 3, 1996: The Senior Commission's Senior Needs Survey Report was completed. There were 184 responses; 114 from the Half Century Club, 21 mailed to City Hall, and 49 from the Anderson Recreation Center. The Nutrition Program, health care screening and socialization were rated as `very important' by over 60% of those surveyed. Other activities rated very important and scoring over 50% were bingo, exercise, legal services and tax advice. 29% supported bond financing as a way to finance the center and 28% supported user fees. Other suggestions for financing included using the money held by the city for seniors and reimbursement from the city of the interest on the $416,618.

December 3, 1996: Minutes from the City Council Meeting (Summary)
A staff report to the Council on the Senior Center Options was presented. The four options stated were:
1. To construct a new building on the College Park site.
2. To provide senior and community services at 341 North "N" Street (currently leased by the Half Century Club).
3. To provide space for a small senior referral center and keep the Senior Nutrition program at the current Anderson Recreation Center location.
4. To purchase 120-130 North I Street for $600,00 and renovate the 12,000 sq. ft building.

Mayor Howerton stressed the need for the seniors and community organizations to have a place to meet and stated the proposed facility on "I" Street would be large enough to house a Nutrition Program, offices for senior needs, a recreational room, and a Teen Nightclub and when not in use for other activities, the facility could be rented out to the general public to defray the costs of operation.

A motion was carried to direct staff to return to Council with a funding package for this long term project.

February 4, 1997: Report to City Council by City Administrator. The following is a summary of this report.
Subject: Possible purchase of building at 120-130 North I Street. The report included information re: cost of purchase, renovation and projections of revenues and expenses.

1. Purchase and Renovation:
The building was offered for purchase for $600,000, at $90,000 less than the appraised value. The cost of renovations was estimated at $676,200 to $722,450.

The building would be financed over 3 years with no interest via the city's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at a cost of $200,000 per year. The $416,618 in the city's general fund which had been reserved for a senior center would be used as collateral .

If the city used $200,000 of the CDBG money, that amount would be 31% of the total grant and some city programs would have to be cut. The city could generate additional funding of $250,00 to $300,000 from the sale of the building used by the Half-Century Club.

Any bonds or special taxes proposed for the senior center would require a 2/3 approval from the voters.

2. Revenues and Expenses:
The City staff projected maintenance and operation expenses of $125, 000 per year for the Senior Center based on data collected from five other cities with centers ranging from 11,000 to 22,000 square feet.
6 The projected revenue for the Lompoc Center was $40,000. This projection would include utilizing the center for other programs such as youth, non senior classes and building rentals on evenings and weekends. The annual shortfall of $85,000 would have to come from the City's general fund. The cities surveyed averaged between $100,000 and $250,000 in annual operation and maintenance expenses with revenues of $5,000 to $50,000 from other programs.

Following lengthy Council discussion, a motion that the city not purchase the I Street property was carried unanimously. The Senior Commission was charged to come back in ninety days with a report on available property.

February 10, 1997: Recommendations submitted by the Senior Commission to the Mayor, the Lompoc City Council and the City Administrator are summarized as follows:
· The city should go forward in building or purchasing a building for the Seniors in Lompoc that will be a "focal point" for activities and services for all seniors in the
community. The Senior Commission asked that the following programs be included in the center:
Senior Nutrition Program
Lompoc Valley Senior Services Program
Health Screening and Peer Counseling
Socialization Program for isolated seniors
Art and Crafts, Music and Dancing
Meals on Wheels
Valley of Flowers Half Century Club
Retired Senior Volunteer Program
AARP Senior Community Service Employment Program
· The Senior Commission recommended that the $416,618, and the interest earned on this amount be used for senior programs, also that additional grant funds be secured and the first phase of a new Center be built on land already donated for this purpose." The Commission further stated that "this solution may be far less costly than $1.3 million." (i.e., the purchase and renovation of the I Street property.)
· The Senior Commission asked the City to address all safety issues, adequate office space, kitchen, restroom and parking.
· The Senior Commission stated their intent to monitor the $416,618 and expressed its desire to be part of the planning and start-up of the Center.

March 11, 1997: Minutes from the City Council Meeting (Summary)
Staff reported that the Outpost Restaurant, a property of 2.10 acres at 1501 Ocean Avenue, was offered to the City for $650,000. The 9,000 sq. ft building would be sold "as is" and would include various items and fixtures already attached to the building.

The Senior Commission reacted favorably, stating that "it seems affordable, offers plentiful space for programs and parking; and even has an outdoor area for landscaping."

The City Administrator said "it looks like it will be easy to remodel. It probably would not be a problem to construct various rooms in it such as Nutrition Center, arts and crafts area, and any other additional rooms. It's fundamentally sound."

The appraisal would cost between $3,000 and $4,000 and the cost would be shared between the city and property owners. The expense would be deducted from the $416,618 designated as the "Senior Center Reserve" (upon the adoption of the Fiscal Year 1997-99 Budget).

It was estimated that the Center could open 6-9 months after the city's purchase. No estimate of the cost of renovating this facility was made at this time.

April 1, 1997: Minutes from the City Council Meeting (Summary)
The Council approved an expenditure not to exceed $4,000 for an appraisal of the Outpost Restaurant.


The Grand Jury visited sites serving Seniors in the North County. The following observations were made:

· The Valley of Flowers Half Century Club, Inc.
The Half Century Club is a nonprofit organization with approximately 800 members, ages fifty and over. The members are primarily well and active. Dues are $10 per year with 150 non paying members whose dues are waived. The primary source of revenue is Bingo which anyone in the community can attend. In recent years, revenues have fallen since the Chumash Indian Casino in Santa Ynez opened. The club has been able to accumulate substantial reserves over the past several years. However, in the last three years, it has operated at a loss and has utilized money from the reserve account. The club also donates funds to local groups such as Meals on Wheels and Hospice of Lompoc Valley.

The club offers many social activities such as line dancing, card games, pottery classes, etc. and a number of free services such as tax assistance and blood pressure screening. Most of the activities are offered free or at a nominal charge.

There are 3 salaried employees: a half time manager, custodian and clerical secretary. The club also utilizes about 100 volunteers. The club pays $1 per year rent to the city and is responsible for paying its own liability insurance, small repairs and utilities. The building size is 6000 sq. ft.

The club has a Board of Directors composed of nine members who are elected for a term of two years.

The Half Century Club has made a significant contribution to the Lompoc Community over the past 20+ years by providing many programs and services to the senior population and have focused their efforts on activities for well and active seniors. Several attempts to house the Nutrition Program in their building have failed. Members expressed varying opinions about the new center. Some feel they would like to remain separate at their present location; others were open to the possibility of relocating to the new center.

· Lompoc Valley Senior Services: This is a nonprofit agency in the Lompoc Valley providing services to seniors. They have two programs: (1)Senior Nutrition Program and (2) Care Management Program. Funding for the programs comes from various sources such as Area Agency on Aging, Santa Barbara County Human Services, City CDBG and Human Resource funds, United Way and private donations. The paid staff consists of three Full Time Equivalents (FTE's); a full time director, a full time executive assistant, a part time nutrition coordinator, and a part time mentoring director. They rent a small office for $350 per month.

(1)Senior Nutrition Program: This program is currently located at the Andersen Parks and Recreation Building at 151 North H Street in Lompoc. Lompoc Valley Senior Services has had the contract for this program since July 1995. They pay the city $795 per month rent for the use of the building from 9AM to 3PM. The program serves approximately 84 people per day including seniors, 60 years and older, some adult disabled, spouses and caretakers. Hot meals are offered Monday through Friday at noon. Other activities offered are Commodities ( a program which distributes food to low income seniors), bingo, exercise programs, an art class sponsored by Hancock College and Health Initiative which conducts health screenings.

(2)Care Management Program/In Home Services: This program was not visited but it is the other major program managed by the Lompoc Valley Senior Services. It provides comprehensive assessments of seniors in their homes, makes referrals and provides direct services through contracted agencies and volunteers. It is staffed by a part time Mentoring Director and a retired nurse volunteer.

Solvang Senior Center and the Orcutt Senior Center:
Volunteers play a significant role in the operation of the Centers. Paid staff usually consists of a manager, custodian, and a kitchen helper when meals are prepared.

The centers pay $1 per year rent. In Solvang, the land is owned by the county and in Orcutt, it is owned by the school district. Members pay $10 per year which covers the cost of the newsletters. The centers are housed in modular units, purchased by the seniors.

Fund raising and grant writing is a major part of the manager's role. Community businesses have sponsored major fund raising events. Bequests are another source of revenue. Pancake breakfasts and bingo are also held to raise money.

Programs at the centers include dances, crafts, games, tax counseling, exercises, hobbies and nutrition programs. The social aspect of the center is an important reason seniors join and participate.

The centers are operated by a nonprofit group or agency with a board of directors elected by the members.

Individuals interviewed expressed the following opinions to the Grand Jury:
· Communication among senior programs in the city has been fragmented and inconsistent.
· Ideally, all senior programs, referral sources and services should be in one location so that people can make one call to one location and be able to get all of the services they need.
· An `ideal' center would provide a continuum of activity and services so that people could move easily from one to the other if their health status changed.
· When the active and frail are in two or more locations, there is a tendency for seniors to become isolated when they are no longer able to participate in the more active programs.
· A multi purpose center would make it easier for seniors to continue to participate in activities even if they decline in abilities.


COMMENDATION: The Grand Jury commends the Mayor and City Council, the City Administrator and City of Lompoc staff for their progress in the past 8 months towards the resolution of this long standing effort to develop a senior center.

FINDING 1: The $416,618 from the proceeds of the sale of city property to Pactuco, Inc. in 1990 was designated for a Senior Citizens Facility and was placed in the General Fund.

RECOMMENDATION 1a: The $416,618 should be used, in a timely manner, toward the purchase and/or renovation of a property for a Lompoc Senior Center.

The interest that the $416,618 would have earned since 1990 should be determined and made available for Senior Programs.


1. Lompoc City Council

FINDING 2: At the City Council meeting, Feb. 10, 1997, staff presented cost projections that may be invalid because they were based on the square footage of senior centers and used comparisons with cities with larger populations than Lompoc.

RECOMMENDATION 2: The City Council should perform a realistic cost benefit analysis of projected revenues and expenses, using true comparisons with cities of similar populations and needs and should prepare an operating plan and budget for any property under consideration.


1. Lompoc City Council

FINDING 3: Senior programs in the City of Lompoc have been fragmented.

RECOMMENDATION 3a: The City of Lompoc should invite all of the programs recommended by the Senior Commission in their report to the City Council
8 to relocate to the new center and negotiate agreements with those who are willing.

If the Valley of Flowers Half Century Club chooses to remain a separate entity at the current location, that the City offer them the opportunity to purchase the property at fair market value or negotiate a fair market lease. The proceeds from the sale and or lease of this property should be used to help finance the expenses of the new center.

That the City include in the planning process for the development of the new center, representatives from organizations that currently provide programs for seniors. In this way, duplication can be minimized and collaboration and coordination can be instituted to insure efficient and cost effective delivery of services and conservation of resources.


1. Lompoc City Council

FINDING 4: Many successful senior programs operate with a small paid staff and a large volunteer program.

RECOMMENDATION 4: In planning for staff for the new center the City should consider hiring a coordinator of volunteers to recruit, train and supervise senior volunteer staff who would provide services such as reception, light maintenance, etc.


1. Lompoc City Council


Andersen Parks and Recreation Building: 125 West Walnut
This has been the location of the Senior Nutrition Program since July 1995. The City Parks and Recreation Department has its offices and programs here also.
Knights of Pythias Hall (Valley of Flowers Half Century Club): 341 North N Street
6,000 sq. ft building leased to the club for $1 per year since 1976 and owned by the City of Lompoc.
Veteran Memorial Building: 100 East Locust
The city could have acquired the property free from the County, however, the building's state of disrepair would and would have required a substantial investment of time and money to make it usable. It was estimated that the cost of renovations would have been approximately $3,000,000.
YMCA/College Park Property : Vacant lot next to YMCA, 201 West College Avenue
The Senior Commission spent considerable time and effort evaluating this site for location of a senior center. It was estimated that a core building of approximately 4,000 sq. ft could be build on this location for approximately $400,000. It would have been patterned after the Senior Center in Guadalupe. The land was `free' via a Transfer Agreement from the County and the core building was to be designed for expansion. This location could have been expanded to also meet the needs of a community center.
Linden Building: 101 North H Street
This property was offered for $1,985,000 and included the main building, rear show room, old warehouse and approximately 1 acre of land adjacent to the railroad tracts. It would have required extensive modifications to the multi-level floor plan to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Vons Market Building: 316 East Ocean
The cost of acquiring and renovating this property was estimated at $1,500,000. It had adequate floor space and handicap accessible entrances. The open space construction was suitable for division into multi purpose usage, but the restrooms did not meet ADA requirements.
I" Street Property: 120-130 North I Street
This property with a 12,000 sq. ft building was offered to the city for $600,000. The cost to renovate would have been approximately $600,000 to $700,000.
"The Outpost Restaurant: 1501 Ocean Avenue
This property was offered to the city (March 1997) for $650,000. It is 2.10 acres and has a 9000 sq. ft building. Cost of renovations are to be determined after the appraisal (May 1997).

AFFECTED AGENCIES California Penal Code Section 933(c) requires that comments to Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations be made in writing to the presiding judge of the superior court within 60 days by all affected agencies except governing bodies, which are allowed 90 days. In accordance with Section 933.05, the responding person or entity shall indicate the following:

1. The respondent agrees with the finding.
2. The respondent disagrees wholly or partially with the finding, in which case the respondent shall specify the portion that is disputed and include an explanation.
3. The recommendation has been implemented, with a summary of the implemented action.
4. The recommendation has not been implemented, but will be in the future, with a time frame.
5. The recommendation requires further analysis, with an explanation and a time frame. This time frame shall not exceed six months from the date of publication of the grand jury report.
6. The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted or is not reasonable, with an explanation.

The Grand Jury requests that all responses be submitted on a 3 inch computer disk along with the printed response.

1 The Lompoc Valley Senior Services is a California non profit benefit corporation.
2 The Valley of the Flowers Half Century Club is a California non profit benefit corporation.
3 Lompoc Senior Center Needs Assessment Final Report, May 1990
4 ibid.
5 This property would later be sold to Pactuco, Inc. in 1990 for $416, 618.
6 The Grand Jury observed that the cities used for comparison had much larger populations than Lompoc.
7 Valley of the Flowers Half Century Club Bylaws, latest revision May 1996
8 Senior Commission Report to the Lompoc City Council, February 1997