New Fiscal Year - First Council Meeting
OK, we're back from a brief Independence Day holiday and ready for action again. Hope you all had a safe, sane and thoroughly enjoyable holiday, filled with family fun and respect for the reason for the day.
FIRST POST-LAYOFF MEETING OF FISCAL YEAR
In it's first meeting of the fiscal year and the first one since the city re-defined "Independence Day" by laying off 23 full-time employees, 20 part-time employees and converting 7 full-timers to part time last Friday, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold it's first meeting of the fiscal year tonight in council chambers at 6:00 p.m. (5:00 as a preamble to the closed session). In that closed session they will have a conference with the staff negotiators on the progress of negotiations with the employee bargaining units and also discuss the day laborer lawsuit.
SWEETENING FIRE SAFETY RETIREMENT
In the open session, the Consent Calendar - which usually is voted in one vote unless someone pulls one of the items for independent discussion and vote - they will consider in item #12 granting a designated period for two years of additional service credit for Fire Safety workers. The staff report can be viewed HERE. With this change the Fire Safety workers who qualify will have 2 years service credit applied to their situations and will now be able to retire with a 3%@50 years plan. If you started as a firefighter at age 20, worked 30 years and retired under this program, you would receive 90% of your salary as a retirement benefit. No mention is made in the staff report of the number of employees this might affect and the cost benefit specifically of this program.
SENIOR HOUSING ON BAKER STREET
Following the Consent Calendar the council will collectively jump into the closest phone booth for a quick change and emerge as the Redevelopment Agency for a special joint meeting during which the group will consider "Funding Commitments of Agency and City to USA Properties Fund Relating to Proposed Harper's Pointe Senior Apartment Project". The Planning Commission recently heard this project. You can read the staff report HERE.
WENDY'S LATEST BUG UP HER BUSTLE
Once the council meeting resumes among the items to be heard is Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece's request to review the Planning Commission's ruling on the above project. Wendy apparently feels this is not a good place for Senior Housing and has several questions about it. She, based on the staff report, is concerned about noise from the Shark Club, bus stops, whether the seniors living there will be forced to co-exist with handicapped people and whether sex offenders will be eligible for housing at the facility. You can read her questions and the staff-provided answers HERE.
TRASH, DOG LICENSE FEES & FINES AND PENALTIES
The council will also consider increasing the solid waste hauling franchise fee, increasing dog license fees and amending the civil fines and penalties, all of which will enhance our revenue stream if approved.
DEFERRING DEVELOPMENT IMPACT FEES
And, in a curious bit of timing, the council will consider deferring development impact fees. I understand the idea behind this - putting off the payment of very significant fees for projects in the city to encourage development - but at a time when our city is in dire financial distress, this seems to be strange timing.
FAIRGROUNDS SALE DRAMA CONTINUES
The Fairgrounds Sale drama continues with the publication of an entry by Vern Nelson on the Orange Juice Blog this morning entitled, "The Great Fairgrounds Swindle: How Allan Mansoor sold us all out to his Campaign Contributors". You can read it HERE. Apparently Nelson, who crooned to the council in a scarlet robe last year, penned this issue as the first of a series of articles on the Fairgrounds Sale.