Insider's Guide

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City Council Agenda items and other items of interest to the City Manager

June 8, 2018 

Greetings on a Friday morning to you.

There is a busy afternoon and evening planned for the Newport Beach City Council when it meets this coming Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Here is the Insider’s Guide for that meeting. The Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to me. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish.  

In the afternoon session starting at 4 p.m., we will talk about three things:

  • Learning about advances in earthquake warning systems. They won’t give any of us a lot of time, but maybe just a short time to get away from windows and old buildings, and to electronically send signals to elevators to stop and open at the nearest floor. Technology can be a good friend here. Council Member Muldoon asked for this to appear on the agenda.
  • Going deep into Undergrounding. We’ll talk about costs for current and planned undergrounding districts, as well as some strategies to reduce those costs. Folks in the pending CdM District (near Avocado), on the Peninsula along Balboa Boulevard in the 30s-50s, and other neighborhoods interested in undergrounding may want to listen in.
  • An update to the Council on a proposed Harbor Department, further stepping up some of our efforts to make the Harbor even more customer-friendly.

The Regular Session at 7 p.m. has a whole bunch of items, but not all are Guide-worthy.  The ones that are seem to include:

  • Sunshining a tentative agreement with our good colleagues represented by the Newport Beach Police Association. The NBPA represents both rank-and-file officers as well as non-sworn folks in records, the jail, dispatch, and more. Hard work on both sides brought an agreement forward that I think respects the interests of the community, the Association members, taxpayers and the City government.
  • A few parents from Carden Hall have written to the Council in recent weeks concerned about a planned mobile needle exchange program that could route its way through western Costa Mesa, not far from our city limits. A couple of Council members asked me to bring a statement of concern forward for consideration that the Police Chief would later send to the State agency that reviews the program’s certification. 
  • The proposed Fiscal Year 2018-19 City Budget is up for adoption. The budget process here is a tad unique – to get a good grasp of it, you would review the Budget that I proposed back in April and then layer on a document called the “Budget Checklist” over it. The Checklist, if adopted along with the Budget, is the late catch-up and correction items that came up between April and today. All in all and in my biased eyes, this is a fairly conservative budget that adds no new full-time positions from what we have right now, while still accommodating new needs for the Harbor and safety in our schools. And while continuing our very aggressive pension paydown program – where we pay more (nearly $9 million more) than we have to pay to get ahead of the unfunded pension liability. A nostalgic note: This is my last budget that I’ll prepare here, and I am pretty proud of it.  I am even more proud of the staff from our Finance Department and our Department Heads and budget analysts that help wade through it with me – in meeting after meeting, and mind-change after mind-change. 
  • A big dollar item is up after that (all within the Budget’s parameters) that would award a contract to a private sector provider to manage our parking infrastructure. That’s meters, pay stations, on-street parking spaces, and our big beach and other parking lots. We’ve contracted that out for about six to seven years now, and it’s gone OK with some bumps. I think people are still surprised to see the “KGB Car” (as I call it) that goes around using License Plate Recognition (LPR) to see if folks are current with their meter payments and pay stations.
  • Council Member Peotter asked his colleagues to consider changing the structure of the Finance Committee to an all-citizen body, so that’s up for discussion Tuesday night. Today, three Council members and four non-elected citizens sit on the Committee, which advises the Council on a number of things involving the City’s finances (pensions, audits, budgets, more).     

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Dave Kiff
City Manager


City Council Meeting Information

The Newport Beach City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of most months (the exceptions are August and December). Typically, there is a Study Session that starts at 4 p.m. Study sessions are times for the Council to take a deeper look at a specific issue, or hear a presentation, that might eventually lead to a specific and more formal action. A closed session often follows the Study Session. Closed sessions are typically to address legal, personnel, and other matters where additional confidentiality is important. The Regular (evening) Session typically starts at 7 p.m., and often has a specific listing of 20-40 different items ready for formal votes. Items on the “Consent Calendar” are heard all at once, unless a Council member has removed (aka “pulled”) an item from the Consent Calendar for specific discussion and separate vote. If an item on the agenda is recommended to be “continued”, it means that the item won’t be heard nor voted on that evening, but will be pushed forward to another noticed meeting.    

Public Comment is welcomed at both the Study Session and the Regular Session. The public can comment on any item on the agenda. If you want to comment on a Consent Calendar item that was not pulled from the Consent Calendar by a Council Member, you will want to do so at the time listed on the agenda – right before the Council votes on the entire Consent Calendar (it’s Roman Numeral XIII on the posted agenda). If an item is pulled, the Mayor will offer that members of the public can comment as that specific item is heard separately. Additionally, there is a specific section of Public Comment for items not on the agenda, but on a subject of some relationship to the city government. If you cannot attend a meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly, this e-mail gets to all of them: Please know that I get a copy of that e-mail, too, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on. It’s my head-start.   

The Council meets in the Council Chambers at 100 Civic Center Drive, off of Avocado between San Miguel and East Coast Highway. There is plenty of parking in the parking structure behind City Hall. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV Time Warner/Spectrum 30 and Cox Channel 852 or stream it on your computer.

This Insider’s Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the Agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to Dave. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish.

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