Passes, Punts, Losses and Trick Plays
At it's meeting tonight the Costa Mesa Planning Commission gave cursory review of the General Plan and approved the latest step in the development of an assisted living facility on the Westside. They also batted around plans for fencing at Cal Trans entry ways into the city, batting around Cal Trans in the process.
FAIR BOARD PUNTS - AGAIN!
The Fair Board pushed it's meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 9th off to February 25th. Once again, this is apparently due to it's inability to establish a quorum. This is second time this has happened in a week and makes one curious about just what's going on with the Fair Board. Did some of them not make it back from their junket to the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Arizona? Where the heck are they? The Register's Orange Punch blog speculated that the meeting, which they referred to as an "emergency meeting" was being called to vote on a proposal to oppose the sale of the Fairgrounds. If so, that would be quite a reversal from their original position in which they urged the State to sell the Fairgrounds - to them!
BUDGET REVIEW BLEAK
At it's Study Session tomorrow the City Council will hear Budget and Research Officer Bobby Young tell them that, despite some very significant savings in areas of the 10-point plan approved last year, the city still is in deep guano from a budget standpoint. Among the numbers he will lay on them is the fact that we will be using double the amount of Fund Balance dollars to balance the remainder of this year's budget than was anticipated - $9.3 million vs. $4.6 million.
MORE RETIREES, FEWER REPLACEMENTS
On the positive side, the attrition savings from the implementation of the enhanced retirement program resulted in an anticipated $3.6 million this fiscal year instead of the planned $3.5 million for the next calendar year. According to the staff report, as of the closure of the window of opportunity for this plan, 12/31/09, 54 employees took advantage of the incentive and the management staff has determined that 40 positions can remain vacant. Originally, it was estimated that 50 people might retire under this program and that 25 positions might remain unfilled. This difference basically doubles the savings. What it does to service levels remains to be seen.
Based on the fact that all revenue sources are in decline, the staff is recommending reducing projected estimates for all revenue sources by $7.1 million. Sales Tax revenue decreased by 7.1% and the Transient Occupancy Tax dropped by 15.9%, for example. It will be interesting to see just what the council has in the way of direction for staff when this issue is formally presented to them at a scheduled meeting in the near future.
CLOSED SESSION - LEASE/PURCHASE PLAN?
Although we don't exactly know what will be discussed about the sale of the Fairgrounds in their closed session tomorrow, it's probably a safe assumption that the end run - lease/purchase plan Gary Monahan spilled the beans about on radio recently - will be part of that chat. This issue is a gift that just keeps on taking...