By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
The City Council hosted a productive planning session on Saturday, Jan. 28, as Council members provided input and facilitated discussion on a number of topics.
The key areas of discussion were:
- Financial status and budget development. Thanks to conservative budgeting practices, the City ended the 2021-22 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $24 million, which will be used to purchase property for a future police station. We also expect to end the 2022-23 fiscal year with at least a $10 million surplus, due to higher-than-anticipated growth in the top three revenue categories (property, sales and hotel taxes) and expenditure savings. Most of the 2022-23 surplus will be put in a contingency fund and replenish capital project fund reserves. We anticipate continued revenue growth in the 2023-24 fiscal year, although at a slower pace. The City’s aggressive paydown of future CalPERS liabilities will continue, and we expect to eliminate that debt in approximately 10 years.
- Continuing initiatives. The Council received an update on the General Plan, and the work of the two resident committees now underway. On the topic of homelessness, Council members acknowledged the City’s accomplishments in recent years, but stressed the need to devote additional resources to the issue. The ongoing work of the Aviation Committee to reduce airport impacts was discussed, as was an update to the City’s legislative platform, which will return to the Council for consideration later this month.
- Capital improvement spending. The Council discussed several infrastructure projects now underway, such as harbor dredging (fully funded and expected to begin this spring), the Library Lecture Hall (facing a budget shortfall due to higher construction costs), the Balboa Island drainage project (design underway), 15th Street beach restroom replacement (design and community outreach to begin shortly), and the Newport Bay Trash Interceptor (the City is seeking additional public and private funding and expects to begin construction in 2024). Preliminary work and community outreach on the new Peninsula fire station and branch library, and rehabilitation of the Newport Pier and McFadden Plaza area, is set to begin this year.
A recording of the Planning Session is available on the City’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpi7YJduHp0.
Nonprofit Groups Encouraged to Apply for Grant Funding through Feb. 17
The City is accepting applications from non-profit organizations seeking to provide eligible programs and services to the public, including fair housing services, under the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
The City receives funding each year from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which is distributed locally to non-profit programs that benefit those with low- and moderate-incomes, defined as households earning less than 80 percent of the median income in Orange County.
Applications will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Friday, February 17. For more information and to apply, visit the City’s website at https://www.newportbeachca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/41426.
Join a City Commission or Committee: Seats Open on Advisory Boards
Looking for a way to serve your community? The City of Newport Beach is seeking residents to fill unscheduled vacancies on the following commissions and committees:
- City Arts Commission for a term expiring in May 2025. Meetings are at 5 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at 1000 Avocado Ave.
- Finance Committee for a term expiring in June 2023. The committee meets as needed, on weeknights or weekdays, at 100 Civic Center Dr.
- General Plan Advisory Committee, for a term lasting the duration of the General Plan update process. The committee meets as needed, on weeknights or weekdays, at 100 Civic Center Dr.
All applicants must be residents of Newport Beach who do not hold paid office or employment in City government. The application and more information can be found at http://www.newportbeachca.gov/vacancy or picked up from the City Clerk’s Office at 100 Civic Center Drive, Bay E, 2nd Floor.
The deadline is noon on Wednesday, Feb. 8, or until the seats are filled.
Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update
The Be Well mobile crisis response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and EMTs, and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.
Last week the Be Well team:
- Collaborated with the Police Department to enroll an older adult into a skilled nursing facility.
- Transported a person to a crisis stabilization unit for treatment.
- Transported two people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for intake appointments.
- Transported a person to the Be Well sobering station for treatment.
- Rendered basic first aid and recommended a hospital visit.
- Transported nine people to services, shelter intakes, and appointments.
Last week the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:
- Transported a client to an intake appointment at HB Oasis, a transitional housing facility. HB Oasis is an motel converted into transitional housing through the state’s Project Homekey initiative.
- Documented disabling conditions for eight people to obtain appropriate services.
- Continued to shelter people. Eighteen people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
- Attended a housing briefing with a client and transported him to obtain a new photo ID.
- Completed the necessary forms to extend an Emergency Housing Voucher and assisted the client in applying for apartments.
Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the City’s homeless response: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/monthly-homeless-count