Party ordinance, smoking ban, auditor on city groups’ agendas

The city of Newport Beach will address a number of contentious issues next week, ranging from a new law regulating parties to choosing the city’s auditor, which is presently the same auditor that worked in Bell.

On the City Council’s plate:

The “loud and unruly gathering ordinance” would allow officers to issue citations to people who organize a party that gets out of hand, and to partygoers who violate its guidelines. Penalties are up to $500 for the first violation, and up to $8,000 for the fourth violation, if it takes place within six months of the first.

Officers who observe a party where people are urinating in public, drunk in public, excessively noisy, serving alcohol to minors or other behaviors would post a large red tag on the door of the house, notifying the organizer of the first violation. The council will discuss the law at Tuesday night’s study session.

The council will also vote on the employment contract for City Manager Dave Kiff and City Clerk Leilani Brown. Both would receive the same benefits and salary that they do now. Kiff’s salary at $225,000 per year and Brown’s at $111,000 per year. Both contracts are for an indefinite term, which is different from the city attorney’s contract. These three are the city employees hired directly by the council; others are hired by the city manager. City Atty. David Hunt’s contract was renewed in December for a one-year term, including a six-month provisional period.

During a study session, the council will discuss a proposed ban on smoking in city parks, a proposed ban on plastic bags for retailers, changes to business licenses, using a new animal shelter, and a proposed water taxi service for Newport Harbor.

The smoking ban, which the Environmental Quality Affairs Committee considered in September, would ban smoking in parks and open spaces. It recommended that the council approve a ban. Already, smokers are barred from lighting up on beaches, piers and the boardwalk.

That same committee has discussed, but not formally proposed, a ban on retailers’ use of plastic bags. Other California cities such as Manhattan Beach, Malibu and San Francisco already have similar bans.

During Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, the three council members who comprise the committee will recommend if the city continues to use its longtime auditor, Mayer Hoffman McCann. That firm audited Bell’s books during recent years, and a state controller’s report in December found it failed to follow generally accepted standards in Bell.

All meetings are open to the public. Their agendas and accompanying reports can be found on the city website. Here are the dates, times and locations for the meetings.

Finance Committee: 2 p.m. Monday, in Council Conference Room, City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.

City Council study session: 4 p.m. Tuesday, in Council Chambers, City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.

City Council regular meeting: 7 p.m. Tuesday, in Council Chambers, City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.