Mayor praises good work in lean times

Fountain Valley has adjusted to "the new normal" by making substantial budget cuts in tough economic times, Mayor Steve Nagel said Thursday during the annual State of the City address.

In a PowerPoint presentation at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital's Saltzer Conference Room, the mayor talked about the city's efforts to weather the recession while continuing to serve residents.

"The City Council's priorities are to ensure the city is safe, clean and well-maintained with a prosperous business climate, while providing cost-effective and responsive service to residents," Nagel said.

In fact, the city ended last year with a budget surplus thanks to savings through early retirement, contracting out services and renegotiating benefits with employee groups.

But he reminded residents that it's a long road ahead before the economy fully recovers and that city officials are staying on their toes. The city is now looking into whether it would be cost-effective to outsource some of its fire services or contract with the Orange County Fire Authority.

Despite making cuts and working with less money, the city managed to improve in some areas. Fountain Valley's injury traffic collision numbers were lowered by 6.5%, while non-injury collision are down 14.2% compared to last year.

"Traffic safety is of paramount importance to the city, and safety is assured through targeted enforcement," Nagel said.

The mayor also shared some of the new projects ahead, including plans to beautify and improve the aesthetics of the Brookhurst Street median and replace the "Welcome to Fountain Valley" monument signs.

New developments are also coming to the city, including condominium units and single-family homes. Hyundai Motor America is opening a new six-story office building and Yakult is also building a manufacturing and distribution facility in the city.

The facility is expected to house 1,400 jobs.

Asked what's the one thing he wants all Fountain Valley residents to know, Nagel said, "That we're constantly looking to provide the highest level of services and we're doing it in an effective and cost-efficient manner."

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