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Board OKs $8-Million Bond Issue for Plant Division Move to Oxnard

August 31, 1989|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors this week endorsed the issuance of $8 million in low-interest industrial bonds for a Santa Barbara electronics firm to relocate a division and expand in Oxnard.

Pacific Scientific Co., an aerospace firm that makes parts for commercial and military buyers, said it intends to boost its 208-person work force at Electro Kinetics division to about 358 at its proposed Oxnard facility within two years.

The 120,000-square-foot plant is to be built at MacInnes Ranch Business Park. The company operates a 55,000-square-foot plant in Santa Barbara.

Pacific Scientific was attracted by Oxnard's cheaper commercial rents, wider labor pool and a housing market that, while high, is more affordable than Santa Barbara's, according to company officials.

"It makes very good business sense to relocate," said Robert Lynch, the firm's marketing director. Home purchases for new hires in Santa Barbara are "practically impossible," he said. "It's very difficult to bring outside people in when they have to pay $325,000 for a house."

The relocation is supported by Oxnard, said Michael K. Haviland, the city's economic development director.

While some Pacific Scientific employees are expected to relocate from Santa Barbara to Ventura County, the firm says it will hire additional semiskilled workers for its assembly lines as well as middle managers and supervisors. The Oxnard plant is expected to open late next year.

Ventura County assumes no direct liability for ensuring the bonds, although state and federal laws require that the county grant its approval before they are issued, said Marty Shaw-Halloway of the county administrator's office.

The bonds are underwritten by the California Counties Industrial Development Authority. They are also supported by the California Manufacturers Assn. and the California County Supervisors Assn.

Pacific Scientific is the third firm to take advantage of industrial development revenue bonds in Ventura County recently.

In September, 1988, the county approved $6.1 million in bonds for Image Laboratories to construct a manufacturing plant in Oxnard. In May, it approved $9 million in bonds for Aquaria to build a plant in Moorpark.

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