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Corona del Mar Today: Revenue is up at Corona del Mar State Beach

October 15, 2011|By Amy Senk

Operating Corona del Mar State Beach cost $414,000 in the 2010-11 fiscal year, but city officials said that revenue was up and expenses were down from the year before.

Every year, the city is required to create a report detailing annual revenues and expenditures for the beach, which the city runs in an operating agreement with the state.

According to this year's report, attendance at Big Corona last year was 1,370,192, with 60,760 vehicles and revenue of $898,658. The report noted that the concessionaire ceased operations in October, when Fuji Grill closed.

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Revenue sources included $894,426 in day-pass parking, $148,666 in annual-pass parking and $4,341 in concession rent for a total of $1.05 million, the report states.

Expenses included $152,881 for parking lot staff, $627,991 for lifeguards, $4,466 for park patrol, $488,760 for law enforcement and $191,805 for beach and parking lot maintenance for a total of nearly $1.5 million.

City officials said the numbers were improved from fiscal year 2009-10, when the loss was $669,425.

"In fiscal year 2010-11, revenues were actually slightly up and we reduced expenditures," Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman, said in an email.

"We could look at variables, such as the parking rate increase that went into effect in May 2010, the cool and overcast weather that we've had more often than in past years, and that we had virtually no revenue related to the concession contract (except for a limited amount from the food trucks this summer), but operating the beach at a 'loss' is actually the norm rather than an exception," she said.

Maintenance costs cover trash collection, tree trimming, graffiti abatement, parking lot sweeping, fire ring cleaning and cleaning supplies.

"We don't expect the parking and concession revenue to come close to paying for the public safety, maintenance and capital improvements that the beaches require," Finnigan said.

She added that no Newport Beach beach pays for itself.

"However, one could argue that there are other intrinsic values to a beach, to living by the bay or ocean, etc. and these values translate into tax dollars from the higher property taxes that people pay to live by clean and accessible beaches to the popularity of beach- and ocean-adjacent restaurants," she said.

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