A group of residents got a wide-ranging update about the state of the city at an early morning meeting this week.
Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon discussed a number of important topics in the city with about 35 people at the Corona del Mar Residents Association meeting on Thursday at OASIS Senior Center.
“I’m proud and excited about some of our very basic, [mundane issues and projects],” Muldoon said, “but I think that’s the role of government.”
They may not be traditionally interesting topics, but they focus on the long-term overall health of the city, he added.
On what many consider the biggest challenge facing Newport Beach, unfunded pension liability, Muldoon said the city is making progress.
The recently approved budget includes a plan to make higher discretionary payments, starting with an additional $9.1 million payment in fiscal year 2017-2018, in order to eliminate the city’s unfunded pension liability and save the city $15 million over the entire 20 year period.
“I think we’ll see a turnaround on that issue,” Muldoon said, “the city is heading down a good path.”
Muldoon also broached another big issue in Newport: Sea walls.
“We’re going to build a sea wall and we’re going to make Catalina pay for it,” he joked.
“The truth is the general fund is going to pay for it,” he added.
Sea levels are rising very slowly, Muldoon said, but they want to be prepared if something unforeseeable occurs.
Another area Muldoon is working to tackle is a comprehensive update of the city’s general plan. He plans on including input from residents during the process, which could take between two and three years.
“I hope to have as many residents involved as possible,” he said. “I hope for a consensus in the community on what our city should look like.”
Harbor View Hills resident Debbie Stevens asked how soon residents can expect to start helping out and getting involved. Deputy Community Development Director Brenda Wisneski confirmed that the city will start accepting applications for the committee in fall. Around January they will kick up the campaign for more public input, including utilizing social media.
“That’s the key here, trying to engage the community in different ways,” Wisneski said.
Councilmen Will O’Neill and Scott Peotter also provided the crowd with updates on a number of city issues, including sewer rates, budget, local coastal program, and more. Representatives from various city commissions and boards also mentioned the latest interesting issues in their fields.