At a sometimes unruly meeting that ran until 1 a.m. Wednesday, the City Council passed the bulk of Dana Point’s $12.5-million operating budget for 1997-98.
Because the city’s fiscal year begins July 1, the council avoided having to call an eleventh-hour session Monday to finish the job.
Instead, the council approved the plan except for a few provisions on which members could not agree.
Mayor Bill Ossenmacher said he wanted to examine the need for trips and professional memberships by city officials, as well as grants for community activities. He also stated his opposition to hiring a third code-enforcement officer.
Councilman Harold R. Kaufman proposed adding $20,000 to pay for an election next year to see if voters want the city to go into debt to buy open space.
Ossenmacher also proposed eliminating the Economic Development Department, which he called “a panacea for economic development,” and turning those duties over to the city manager.
But Kaufman called that irresponsible, saying the department provides services that local businesses and residents need.
During that discussion, Councilwoman Toni Gallagher complained that she was being interrupted by Councilwoman Karen Lloreda’s whispering to Kaufman. She and Lloreda then traded jibes, leading Ossenmacher to interject, “Can we please get back to the business at hand?”
Just before 1 a.m., the council approved the budget except for those disputed issues, which members will reconsider at their July 8 meeting. The capital-improvement budget also will be debated then.