Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann dutifully relinquished her position on Monday night, Dec. 8, with the appointment of then-Deputy Mayor Erik Nasarenko, elected to Council in 2013, followed with the appointment of longtime City Councilman Neal Andrews to deputy mayor, the first time Andrews has received the honor in 14 years.

During the comment period for the newly appointed, Nasarenko, who will serve the city as mayor for the next two years, announced his plan to place a sales tax initiative on the November 2016 ballot. Oxnard and Port Hueneme are the only two cities in Ventura County that have recently passed a sales tax initiative whereby the sales tax is increased by .5 percent, and the cities use that extra funding for roads, safety, etc. Ventura voters shot down such a measure in 2009.

Nasarenko spoke about the city’s past, present and future, noting that presently infrastructure is worse for wear, and that the city’s $12 million reserve is too small and should be $24 million, according to the industry standard. He introduced the tax measure proposal by referring to the fact that sales tax revenue that goes to the county and the state with very little coming back to Ventura.

“Ventura money for Venturans,” he said.

Nasarenko then gave the floor to Andrews, who appeared to be emotionally moved by the appointment. He spoke about his new position as deputy mayor.

“I promise [fellow councilmembers] and all of you that I will do my very best to serve the city well and to help the mayor and my colleagues to achieve a positive and productive program on behalf of the citizens.”

Nasarenko works as a deputy district attorney for Ventura County, prosecuting child molestation and rape cases. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Nasarenko worked in public education for over a decade as chief deputy to the Los Angeles school board president and as a communications director with the Los Angeles and Pasadena school districts.

Andrews is a longtime businessman, currently owning Horizon Management Services, a consulting firm offering professional assistance in strategic planning and business development, management issues, public policy matters and marketing and public relations.