Council set to vote on $140-million budget

The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to adopt a $140-million budget that includes about $19 million worth of capital-improvement projects.

Funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins in July, marks an increase of 6.3%, or $8.3 million, over last year's budget of $131.5 million. City officials have attributed increased revenue to boosts in sales and property taxes, as well as various licenses and fees.

City Hall's contributions to employee retirements would be around $21.5 million, about $2.7 million, or 14.6%, more than last year.

The proposed budget also accounts for the phased-in outsourcing of the city jail to G4S Security Solutions. A year ago, the council approved the move, which city officials said at the time would save more than $3 million over five years.


Capital improvements

After receiving input from the Parks and Recreation Commission and Finance Advisory Committee last month, the council will consider 40 suggested capital improvement projects, which amount to $19.4 million — 7.57% more than last year's $18.05-million worth of projects.

The projects include street repair, building maintenance and traffic improvements.

Proposals include median work for the portion of Placentia Avenue passing through Fairview Park and downtown portions of Harbor Boulevard.

City staff are not recommending that the council fund eight projects sought by the parks commissioners because they would require an additional $1.84 million.

Among them are various athletic field lighting proposals, the city's acquisition of Balearic Park from the school district and a $1.175-million upgrade for the Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex, which would have placed artificial turf at one of the facility's fields so the field could be used year-round.


Fairview Indian Site fencing

City CEO Tom Hatch is recommending $110,000 toward permanent fencing in Fairview Park for the Fairview Indian Site, also known as CA-ORA-58, an archaeological remnant listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The area attracted renewed interest last year after state officials and some experts expressed concern that a proposed turnaround space in the park's southwest quadrant, at the end of Pacific Avenue, could harm the Fairview Indian Site.

A consultant, Scientific Resource Surveys, was hired to examine the situation. The firm's work is ongoing.

If approved, the fencing would be similar to the metal wiring surrounding the park's largest vernal pool, also in the southwest quadrant. The Fairview Park master plan calls for the fencing as a protection measure for the archaeological site.

Construction of the fencing would involve consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state Office of Historic Preservation and the California Native American Heritage Commission.

Currently, the Fairview Indian Site has fill material on it, placed there years ago. Park users over the years have established walking paths and some small dirt bike ramps on it as well.

The fencing would leave the area as it is.

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