CITY COUNCIL MEETING RECAP — 7/11/2023
Consent Calendar (Items pulled by Council members and residents)
Item #8 - Award of Tow Service Agreement and Fee Adjustments: Passed 5-0
Background: The City contracts with Laguna Beach Towing and To’ and Mo’ for towing services. The fee schedule has not been updated since 2015. For the past two years, Officer Matt Gregg has been working with these companies on an updated fee schedule. The average increase for all fees is 50%.
GW: It is difficult to know if these increases are reasonable or not as no comparative data was presented. Captain Peters presented this item although he wasn’t directly involved in negotiating the contract like Office Matt Gregg was.
Item # 11 – Budget Policy Resolution for Fiscal Year 2023-24: Passed 4-1 (I dissented)
GW: This item included an annual transfer of $500,000 to the Housing Fund. However, it was conditioned on this “…provided that the actual property tax growth exceeds the proposed budget estimate for the respective year.:” I thought this placed an unreasonable condition on annual funding since budget estimates can be revised upwards, which could impede the annual transfer of funds to housing. You probably have heard that there hasn’t been any affordable housing built in Laguna Beach in over 30 years, which is an accurate, but disappointing, fact. As has been observed by the Housing and Human Services Committee, Laguna needs affordable housing built more than additional parking structures. House people first, then the cars.
Item # 12 – Temporary Use Permit to Operate a Temporary Animal Care Facility at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road: (Dog Park) Passed 5-0
GW: Pacific Marine Mammal Center will be undergoing extensive renovations that include building a water recycling facility that will recycle 80% of their water. While these renovations are being built, a temporary site is needed to house the marine mammals for approximately one year. Only 12% of the dog park’s space will be needed, so any inconvenience to dog owners will be minimal. There will also be a double fence and gate between the dog park and the marine mammals to protect both species.
Item #13 – General Plan Amendment Related to Rezoning Twenty-Six Parcels Obtained Through Proposition 12 Funding to Purchase Open Space: Passed 5-0
Background: Proposition 12, a State Bond Act, passed in 2000 provided funds to purchase open space in Laguna Beach. Twenty-seven parcels totaling 300 acres were purchased between 2000-13 and are now being rezoned as permanent open space.
GW: This is welcome news! The staff report lists twenty-seven properties which make up the 300 acres being preserved. We look forward to seeing a map of these properties to show where this newly preserved open space will be located.
Item #15 – Committee Request: Request From the Citizen’s Audit Review and Investment Advisory Committee Recommending the City issue an RFP to Evaluate the Potential of Outsourcing Management of the City’s Investment Portfolio: Passed 5-0
GW: The action taken by the City Council was to approve preparation of a draft request for a proposal (RFP) to evaluate the potential for outsourcing the management of the City’s investment portfolio.
It is useful to consider investment options as the City’s return on its investments may be improved. As explained in the staff report for this item, the City Council has the authority to delegate the power to invest the City’s funds and does so on an annual basis. Historically, the City Council has chosen to delegate this power to the elected City Treasurer. In all cases the investment decisions are guided by regulations mandated by the State of California. Liquidity, safety, and returns on investment have been the guiding principles specified in Laguna’s Investment policy. Normally, as with Certificates of Deposit, the longer the term of the investment the greater the percentage of return, but longer terms affect liquidity so there’s a balance that must be maintained depending on just how much liquidity is required for any fiscal year. Liquidity needs per year can vary, and at the moment, yields on some shorter-term maturities are actually higher than on some longer-term maturities.
In addition to approving preparation of a draft RFP, the City Council action also included preparation of a five-year look back review of the performance of the City’s investment portfolio compared to comparably sized cities with similar demographics.
Joseph Kleitsch’s Laguna Coastline: 1923
On June 29, 2O23 Laguna Beach celebrated its 96th Birthday. The Laguna Art Museum hosted a special event featuring a lecture and slide show on Laguna’s history by noted local historian Eric Jessen, with help from Tom Lamb, Ann Christoph, Rick Sherry, Dr. Patricia Trenton, and Johanna Ellis.
Watch Eric’s presentation here: https://youtu.be/d38u93hyj1Y?t=0
Eric Jessen retired from his position as Chief of Acquisition, Planning & Development for Orange County Harbors, Beaches & Parks (now OC Parks) in 2005. He was with the department for 31 years. Prior to that, he was a master planner for large projects including Balboa Park in San Diego and Howard Hughes landholdings in California and Nevada. While he was in college, Eric did the historic landscape restoration of the Villa Rockledge, Laguna’s only home on the National Register of Historic Places.
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