City to cut garden, computer projects

City officials agreed to defer completion of some projects in order to put dent in expected budget shortfall.

January 28, 2009|By Brianna Bailey

Newport Beach will have to wait awhile for new landscaping at Corona del Mar State Beach and mobile computers for the Fire Department.

Faced with a projected $3.5-million gap in sales tax revenue this year, the Newport Beach City Council trimmed about $2 million from the budget Tuesday.

Most of the cuts were cosmetic in nature and had to do with renovating street medians and landscaping.

The largest cut was $350,000 for the Semeniuk Slough dredging project. The slough is a remnant of the previous alignment of the Santa Ana River near Newport Shores that fills with silt and needs to be dredged.


Other cuts included remodeling a garage at the lifeguard headquarters and new directional signs.

Part of the funding for a tsunami warning system also was cut. The council decided plans for a tsunami warning siren near Newport Dunes could wait, at a cost savings of about $50,000, said Newport Beach City Manager Homer Bludau, but three other warning sirens on Balboa Peninsula remain intact.

Cutting the additional warning siren reduced the cost of the project by about 25%, he said.

“I think the council realizes that the projects that were discussed probably were the best kinds of projects to defer until a later date,” Bludau said.

Delayed projects could get funding again in next year’s budget, he said.

Councilwoman Nancy Gardner tried to save funding for landscaping and fixing crumbling masonry at Corona del Mar State Beach and renovating traffic medians on Avocado Avenue, but the projects could not escape the budget crunch.

“It was a tough one,” Gardner said. “If I got mine, somebody would have lost funding for their projects.”

Councilman Don Webb managed to save funding for drainage improvements in his district, arguing the project was more important than landscaping improvements.

Part of the funding for a study to examine the feasibility of putting artificial turf in Bonita Creek Park was cut to make up the difference.

“I thought the council worked very well together to work for compromises,” Webb said.


Some funding cuts in Newport Beach this fiscal year:

Balboa Boulevard median and parkway improvements: $84,000

 Bristol Street North landscape improvements: 107,000

 Corona del Mar State Beach landscape improvements: $95,000

 Dover Drive medians renovation: $125,000

 Westcliff Drive medians renovation: $71,000

 Directional, wayfinding and monument signage: $234,000

 Semeniuk Slough dredging project: $350,000

 Back Bay View Park enhancement: $191,000

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