Laguna Beach City Council
Fiscal responsibility: Revenue from sales taxes, lodging taxes and business related fees contribute 30-35% of the City’s budget while residents provide 65-70%. Revenue from resident property taxes is used to provide basic public services, the primary role of City government. I our town, however, revenue generate from residents is used to financially support visitors and local businesses that are here largely to cater to visitors while ever increasing numbers of visitors add to traffic congestion, reduce parking, increase pollution and reduce the quality of life for residents.
Some interesting facts:
+ The average income of Laguna Beach City employees exceeds the per capita income of it’s residents. According to the City’s fiscal year 2020-2021 adoped budget, Salaries and Wages for the City’s 283 employees averages $214,785. Latest (2018 per capita Laguna Beach resident income is $92,391.
Total Laguna Beach City Employees salaries = $33,548.700
That averages out to $118,546 for just salaries per employee
Average per employee benefits are $53,026.400
Plus unfunded pensions of $63.5 million at $7.15% or $99.6 million at 61,5%
All decisions made by City Council must take into account how the legislation or projects will impact residents and neighborhoods. We have seen that even the approval of small projects like the Urth Café have had significant negative impacts on the neighborhood with regard to parking, trash and noise.
Transparency: All deliberations, communications, and decisions made by the City Manager and City Council must be transparent. Transparency is woefully lacking. Residents have been routinely excluded from meaningful participation in decisions like installing the architectural Mushrooms at the Village Entrance, Wayfinding signs that were touted by the City to benefit residents, enabling anonymous donations to pay for consulting fees for a parking structure that would benefit City employees and visitors.
Development: I support development that is compatible with the unique architectural character of our town’s buildings. Residents should be able to approve major development projects that exceed 22,000 sq. ft., bring significant traffic or impact on parking in neighborhoods.
Preservation: Historic Preservation should be voluntary. Significant incentives should be provided that motivate residents and commercial building owners to preserve historic buildings. We can improve the one we have now.
Environment: We have an obligation future generations to preserve our unique and fragile urban landscapes, open space, our ocean and coastline. The voluntary release in November 2019 of 3,000,000 gallons of raw sewage must never happen again. Instead of spending over 14 million on spiffying up Downtown we need to re-allocate funds to projects that will benefit residents and protect our environment. Upgrading our sewer system is overdue by decades.
We also need to work to combat climate change by allowing residents the right to choose renewable electrical energy over fossil fuels. I’ll be working to give residents this option so we can make Laguna a greener city.