Santa Ana City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening on water and sewer rate hikes that could amount to nearly 7 cents a day for three years, increases which officials say is necessary to keep up with replacing miles of aging pipelines.
Most of the city’s water and sewer lines were installed before the 1980s, and a significant portion is approaching the age when breaks become very likely, according to a city staff report. The report estimates that 13 miles of water pipes and 62 miles of sewer lines have a high probability of failing over the next five years.
To pay for the wave of replacements and other costs, the city plans to float bonds and then pay off the debt through phased-in rate hikes. By July 2018, residents will pay $7.88 more than they do today in water and sewer fees, or about a 3.2 percent increase each year.
The sewer rate hike would also include new fixed fees – a capital recovery charge and a lateral repair program charge, the report states.
The last water rate hike was in 2011, and, since then, the cost of importing water has shot up 25 percent. Currently, a water customer’s average monthly bill is less than $50 and cheaper than the majority of surrounding cities, according to a city study.
Santa Ana officials are also creating 10 new positions as part of the city's enforcement plan for medical marijuana shops, including six positions in the Police Department and six at city hall.
The $880,580 in revenue from application and permit fees from the city's recent lottery for medical marijuana operation permits, will fund the positions until June 2015, after which the city will depend on business taxes from the pot shops in subsequent budget years.
View the full Santa Ana city council agenda here.
Costa Mesa Dissolves Fairgrounds Authority, A Relic of 2010 Dispute
Costa Mesa City Council members are likely to dissolve the Orange County Fairgrounds Authority, a legal entity that the city created in 2010 after the state attempted to sell the 150-acre property as part of a strategy of unloading state-owned properties to shore up an ailing budget.
A number of options were explored by both the city and Orange County Fair Board, including the creation of a nonprofit foundation, to purchase the property from the State.
The state's effort to sell the property ultimately failed and the Fairgrounds Authority has not met since August 2010, leading to Tuesday's action to dissolve the legal entity altogether.
Yorba Linda Considers Adopting Labor Negotiations Transparency Ordinance
When it comes to labor negotiations, Yorba Linda city officials may take a page out of Costa Mesa's book.
At their meeting Tuesday evening, city council members will continue their ongoing discussion of whether the city should adopt an ordinance similar to Costa Mesa's "Civic Openness In Negotiations" ordinance, or COIN, which requires more information be disclosed to the public during the labor negotiations process.
Costa Mesa's ordinance, adopted in 2012, requires an independent fiscal review of current union agreements be posted 30 days before city and union representatives meet for negotiation. Auditors would also create reports about any new proposals on the table.
It also requires that unions be represented by someone who is not employed by the city and who will not benefit from the contract; that council members disclose communications with union representatives; and that rejected offers and counter offers be made public.
The staff report provided to Yorba Linda council members includes guidelines from the Association of California Cities, Orange County, where city manager Mark Pulone sits on the Board of Directors.
Mission Viejo Commissioners to Get Meeting Stipends
Members of Mission Viejo’s three major commissions will now be paid $100 per regular meeting, if the city council approves a resolution on Tuesday’s agenda.
Members of the Planning and Transportation commission, as well as the Community Services and Investment Advisory Commission have never been paid before for serving on city boards, according to a staff report.
View all of this week's public meetings below: