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Newport officials to discuss finances

City Council will meet Saturday at Newport Coast Community Center to plan out how its $5.8M budget gap will be closed.

January 08, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

The budget will be one of the top priorities when the Newport Beach City Council meets for its annual goal-setting session Saturday, Mayor Keith Curry said Thursday.

“One of the goals for this year will be focusing on enhancing the city’s economic sustainably and how we manage our city,” Curry said.

The city has a $5.8-million budget gap, and the council will look at taking steps to make sure “we are living within our means” during the next budget cycle, Curry said.

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On Saturday, the council will look at adopting a policy to keep its reserve funds intact, even in tough economic times, and to begin budget planning earlier in the year.

Typically, the council begins planning for the coming fiscal year in May, but that date could be pushed up to February, in anticipation of another tight budget year, City Manager Dave Kiff said.

“In tough times, maybe we need to really start prioritizing earlier in the year,” Kiff said.

Kiff said he expects the coming budget year to be another “flat” year for tax revenue.

Newport Beach experienced an 18% decline in sales tax revenues in the last fiscal year, according to a city report.

The downward trend has continued into the current fiscal year — with sales tax revenues slumping an additional 8.4% over the previous year.

Hotel occupancy taxes are down 23%, according to the report.

Property tax revenues have remained stagnant.

The city is likely to continue to take cost-saving measures in the coming year, like privatizing its street sweeping services, Curry said.

City officials also will discuss upcoming projects including widening Jamboree Road and deciding what to do with the site of City Hall on Newport Boulevard, once municipal operations move to a new city government complex planned for Newport Center.

Other city projects this year include beginning construction on Sunset Ridge Park in West Newport and Marina Park on the Balboa Peninsula and encouraging development and cleanup in the Mariner’s Mile area of Newport Beach.

The council will meet 8 a.m. Saturday at the Newport Coast Community Center, 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road.


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