A group of residents got a preview of the mayor’s upcoming state of the city speech at a luncheon this week.
Mayor Rush Hill spoke at the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce Networking Speaker Luncheon held at Five Crowns on Wednesday.
The financial health of the city, a look ahead for certain facilities, lifeguards, the need for a quality team of managers, and his upcoming year as mayor were all topics of discussion at the luncheon, Hill said in an email after the event.
He commended previous councils for building the “framework for financial success.”
They created a strategic financial plan, he added.
“It was this planning that provided the policy for staff to work under in delivering a balanced budget every year during the recession, under estimating the income and therefore adding to reserves each year,” he explained.
The current reserves are approaching $130 million, according to Hill.
“This is the amount of cash available to the Council in the event of an emergency or other dramatic fiscal event,” he explained.
Previous leaders also helped by thinking about the city’s future facility needs, Hill said.
Facility needs in 2014 include looking to relocate/replace two fire stations and relocate the police station, he said.
There will also be two new parks built this year, he added.
A site has not yet been identified, Hill said in response to a question about the police station at the luncheon.
“It was just a concept that the station would be relocated and not rebuilt on it’s existing site,” he explained. “No sites have been evaluated, although, in my opinion, relocation to the west side of town would be most appropriate.”
Hill also responded to an audience member’s question about outsourcing lifeguards, a hot topic after the city the sent out a request for proposals in December. The city received five proposals by the Jan. 14 deadline, city manager Dave Kiff announced at a CdM Resident’s Association board meeting last week.
Not all the RFP’s have been opened or read yet, Hill noted. Once that happens and scope is judged, then officials will be able to evaluate the cost, he said.
“Only if scope was equal to or better than what we currently have and there was an appropriate savings, would we privatize,” he clarified.
Hill suggested that they were a long way from even bringing this to council, if ever.
“At that time, if the program was to truly be evaluated, all would have the chance to come before the council and speak at our meetings,” he said.
He also spoke of the need to continue to build a quality team of managers.
“You can pay attention to controlling expenses and raising revenue, but you will not achieve any plan if you don’t have a competent, motivated staff,” Hill remarked.
He praised staff and credited them with helping the city achieve success.
“The budget reductions we have been through don’t happen easily and it has been the quality of our staff that has allowed us to achieve the success we enjoy,” he continued.
Hill also spoke about his time as mayor and that 2014 should be a year to celebrate.
Make use of the OASIS Center, he suggested, and the quality programs provided for Newport Beach seniors.
Enjoy Restaurant Week, he continued, which kicked off this week. Most council members have been dining at restaurants around the city, he said. “enjoying the high quality of culinary expertise Newport Beach has to offer.”
He wants his mayoral year, Hill said, to be “a year to celebrate the good that we have in Newport Beach.”
Hill’s state of the city speech will be given at Speak Up Newport’s annual Mayor’s Dinner on Feb. 7 at Newport Beach Marriot Hotel. For more information or to reserve a seat for the dinner, visit speakupnewport.org or email [email protected]