Insider's Guide

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

May 10, 2019


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Happy Friday!  Our next City Council meeting is Tuesday, May 14.  The following are items that may be of interest.  As always, this is not a summary of the entire agenda, which can be viewed here.

A Special Joint Meeting of the City Council and Finance Committee begins at 4 p.m. to review the Proposed FY 2019-20 Operating Budget.  Revenues and operating expenditures by department will be discussed, including major program enhancements incorporated into the budget as well as proposed revisions that were not initially included.  This is my first proposed budget to present for City Council consideration and I am pleased to present a balanced budget that maintains a high level of service to the community and addresses Council priorities.  The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget will be discussed at the next City Council meeting.  The proposed budget is available online and can be viewed here.       

Study Session begins at 5 p.m. and includes an update on the City Emergency Council.  This item was scheduled for the last meeting but we ran out of time.  Staff will provide background on the City’s Emergency Council, in effect since 1939, and give an update on the City’s current disaster preparedness activities.  Staff will also seek Council input on proposed recommendations to enhance communications with the City Council and the community regarding the City’s emergency plans and activities.

The Regular Session begins at 7 p.m. and the following are items of note: 

  • On the consent calendar is confirmation of citizen appointments for the newly formed Homeless Task Force and an increase in the number of Council Member representatives on this task force to a total of three councilmembers.  Also on consent is the initiation of code changes to reduce the massing of three-story residential structures by reducing the impact caused by covered patio roof decks and to change design standards to preserve residential beach cottages.  This direction was provided by City Council at the last study session.  Additionally, the approval of a contract with Jeff Katz Architecture is on consent to prepare concept plans, project permitting and construction documents for a new Junior Lifeguard building.  It is estimated this work will take approximately 26 months. 
  • For public hearing, are proposed revisions to the City Council policy on parks, facilities and recreation program donations.  In July 2018, Council temporarily suspended this policy and directed staff to work with the Parks, Beaches and Recreation (PB&R) Commission to address concerns arising from the increasing number of donation items and the associated time and resources required to maintain this program.  The PB&R Commission has approved proposed revisions, which include changes to the donation and maintenance period and the types of benches used throughout the City, and the revisions are now brought forward for Council consideration.
  • Last comprehensively updated in 2008, the 2019 Water Master Plan has been prepared for Council review and adoption.  The plan identifies the necessary capital improvement projects, and their anticipated cost, over the next 30 years in order to maintain the desired performance and integrity of the City’s water system.  The plan estimates an additional $2 million annually is required ($7 million annually versus the current annual funding level of $5 million) to support the necessary projects.  The Water Master Plan is a major component in determining City water rates and this 2019 plan will be incorporated into the water rate study that is currently underway.
  • Following extensive input from the community and the PB&R Commission, conceptual design for the Grant Howald Park Rehabilitation Project is ready for review and approval by the City Council.  The project is a significant rehabilitation with upgrades to the playground layout and equipment, sports field and to the Fifth Avenue streetscape, including a recommendation to underground existing utility lines and pole removal on Fifth Avenue.  The total cost of the project, including the undergrounding, is estimated at $6.85 million with funding for design in the current CIP budget.  Funding is available from park dedication funds from development projects. If approved, the construction is estimated to start summer 2020 and run approximately 12 months.

As a reminder, public comment is welcome at the City Council meeting.  The public can comment on any item on the agenda.  If you cannot attend the meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly on an item, the following e-mail address gets to all of them: City Council

The Week in Review was provided last weekIn case you missed it, we do post them on the City’s website; the latest edition can be found here

Grace K. Leung
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 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: The City Manager also get's a copy of the email, because in almost all cases it’s something that the City Manager follows-up on.  

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. You are always welcome to attend in person, but you can also watch on TV, Spectrum channel 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 the City Manager. You are encouraged to read the full agenda if you wish.

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