The Newport Beach City Council met Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights from the council session.
Santa Ana Heights Trail
Members of the City Council said they have received numerous e-mails from residents expressing concerns about constructing improvements to a stretch of the Santa Ana Heights Multi-Use Trail.
The trail is a horse, bike and walking trail that runs down Cypress Street to Mesa Drive, then west to the area where the Santa Ana-Delhi Channel enters Newport Bay. At issue is whether the portion from Cypress Street eastward along the south side of Mesa Drive should be constructed.
“As a homeowner I am in support of the trail,” resident Valerie Bath told the council. “I have an 8-year-old daughter who rides the trail and I am concerned when the cars and the horse riders are in close contact navigating their course. I support the continuation of improvements on Mesa Drive.”
The Council approved the staff recommendation to complete the current undergrounding project, with the recommended safety trail improvements.
The current project has been underway since 2004 and includes improving the safety of the existing trail system, the installation of a crosswalk at the westerly side of the Cypress/Mesa intersection and adding to the trail west of Cypress Street and adding curbs, gutters and sidewalk to the inland side of Mesa Drive between Cypress Street and Jackass Alley.
Newport Coast Monument Signs
The City Council voted unanimously in favor of installing two city monument signs on Newport Coast Drive, just south of the 73 Freeway, and a second sign at Pacific Coast Highway East of Reef Point Drive.
The council was given three monument options to choose from, and in the end chose to stick with a standard city sign which is located in other parts of the city. Councilman Ed Selich and Mayor Nancy Gardner expressed their agreement for consistency of city signs.
"I feel we should be consistent in our signage," Gardner said.
“The city council has spent lots of money on this," Selich added. " To start deviating now is just a big mistake."
Councilman Rush Hill proposed selecting the traditional city gateway sign with the Newport Coast text larger than the Newport Beach text. The sign will read Newport Coast, city of Newport Beach, with the traditional sails and Newport Coast coloring.
Changes to City Management
The City Council approved position control which includes changes to the management team. The position of deputy city manager was added, at a salary range of $151,417 to $184,425 annually, also added was the position of Information Technology Manager at a salary range of $120,016 to $145,891 annually. The Chief Information Officer from the Information Technology Internal services Fund was deleted.
Terri Cassidy’s role as human resources director will be consolidated with her new position of deputy city manager. Rob Houston will take on additional duties regarding information technology. Additional appointments to the management team include Assistant City Manager Steve Badum, who fills the position vacated by Dana Smith, Dave Webb filling Badum’s previous position as Public Works Director and Dan Matusiewicz assuming the role of finance director, vacated by Tracy McCraner.
Newport Beach Management Association
The council voted to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with the Newport Beach Management Association. The city estimates the net impact of the entirety of the agreement will reduce the city’s cost by approximately $40,000 across the duration of the MOU, which runs through Dec. 31,2014.
Under the agreement, new police managers can retire at the age of 55 with three percent of their salary for each year they worked.