The first City Council meeting of the new year and the three newest members are fired up and ready to go.
Although the new council members were officially sworn in on Dec. 13, the meeting was mostly ceremonial. Next week the council will get down to business for 2017.
All three new members have some goals and objectives they would like to accomplish during their time on council.
Will O’Neill, the new councilman for District 7 – a seat vacated by the termed out Keith Curry-, has some clear ideas of what he’d like to focus on in order to best serve the residents.
“We should ensure a balanced budget that emphasizes improved infrastructure, liability reduction, harbor improvement, and correcting the unfunded mandate inside our sewer enterprise fund,” O’Neill explained in an email.
He also pointed out that the city’s IT department is “helping to create a web portal that connects volunteers with the myriad service opportunities inside the city.”
At the Jan. 10 meeting, O’Neill is planning on suggesting to new Mayor Kevin Muldoon to create a subcommittee to track and update the council on certain policies that could make some government functions more efficient.
“Our Council Policies also need a fresh look with an eye toward streamlining government functions and decreasing bureaucracy,” O’Neill noted.
He also has some ideas for a few future study sessions.
“It would also benefit our community to hold study sessions addressing: (1) our city’s debt policies; (2) unfunded pension liability as discussed at our Finance Committee, and (3) development of a Harbor master plan,” O’Neill commented.
As O’Neill highlighted during his campaign, it comes down to serving the residents.
“Above all else, I look forward to serving the citizens of Newport Beach,” O’Neill said.
The new representative for District 5, Jeff Herdman, is currently working on golf cart parking on Balboa Island and Back Bay View Park (at Jamboree Road and Pacific Coast Highway).
He also mentioned previously that campaign reform would be one of the first projects he would attempt to initiate.
“There is a need to develop and implement campaign contribution disclosures, empower the city attorney to enforce campaign codes and laws, and limit the amount and time duration of when campaign donations can be made in order to bring city council elections back to the purpose of electing the best qualified candidates,” Herdman said.
District 2 Councilman Brad Avery could not be reached before press time, but in November he told the Indy he plans to listen and learn. He also had a few specific ideas he wanted to move forward with in the new year.
“I certainly want to participate in the effort to reduce the debt and still deliver on the basic needs of our residents and businesses,” Avery said. “In the first year, I would like to move forward on harbor improvement initiatives.”