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Fountain Valley mayor highlights city services in State of the City address

Mayor Patrick Harper goes over a slideshow presentation during Fountain Valley's State of the City address.
Mayor Patrick Harper uses a laser pointer as he goes over a slideshow presentation during Fountain Valley’s State of the City address on Tuesday at the Center at Founders Village.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Not much time has elapsed since Patrick Harper became the mayor of Fountain Valley, but his message remained consistent with what it had been on the night he became the lead figure on the City Council.

Speaking before a business-oriented crowd for the State of the City address at the Center at Founders Village, Harper reiterated his focus in highlighting the role of city services to keep the community, in his words, safe, clean, efficient and together.

“As I was thinking of the year coming up, while I’m mayor, I thought of what makes Fountain Valley great and what makes it a nice place to live,” Harper said. “It’s the things that you don’t see, the things that you take for granted. Every day, you’re kind of going along your merry way in Fountain Valley, and until I got on the City Council, I didn’t realize or appreciate how much effort is involved by the city to allow all of us to enjoy the quality of life we have here in Fountain Valley.”

Harper played the role of entertainer at times, giving his best Michael Buffer impersonation with a “Let’s get ready to rumble!” introduction to his speech.

City Manager Rob Houston responds to a question during Fountain Valley's State of the City address.
City Manager Rob Houston, right, responds to a question during Fountain Valley’s State of the City address on Tuesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

General information about the city was shared. Fountain Valley’s population grew to 57,047, with 44.3% of residents identified as white and 35.8% listed as Asian.

Data shared in Harper’s presentation showed the city has general fund operating revenues of about $63 million. Property tax accounts for 34%, while sales tax and Measure HH funds each make up 21%. Measure HH was a 1% sales tax approved by voters in November 2016.

Harper has also expressed a desire to improve internet connectivity in the city.

“Something I’m really excited about [is] broadband,” Harper said. “We’re going to have fiber optic in Fountain Valley. We have two companies that are going to be starting to install this year, and once they’re finished, we’ll have broadband throughout the city of Fountain Valley.

“That’s going to help not only households who want to download movies and video games, but businesses. … If your businesses are thinking to expand or [be] located in Fountain Valley, we want to let you know that we will have high-speed internet support.”

Police Chief Matt Sheppard responds to a question regarding catalytic converter thefts.
Police Chief Matt Sheppard responds to a question regarding catalytic converter thefts during Fountain Valley’s State of the City address on Tuesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Some Fountain Valley city officials were made available for questions at the end of the event. Police Chief Matt Sheppard found himself fielding the questions, as most of them concerned catalytic converter theft.

The city will host a catalytic converter etching event at Fountain Valley Tire and Auto, 18302 Ward Street, on Saturday, Feb. 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sheppard, who said he has 64 sworn officers in his department, spoke about an uptick in catalytic converter thefts, with 43 reported stolen in the city in the last 90 days, 37 of them in January.

“We thought it was time to bring a catalytic converter etching event,” Sheppard said. “We’re going to essentially be putting a vehicle’s license plate number on your catalytic converter that ties the vehicle part back to the original owner, gives the officers on the scene [the ability to track that].

“It’s free to the public. … We hope that everybody comes by. We’re going to have a professional mechanic … Give us an opportunity to catch these guys with the product in their hands and put them behind bars.”

Director of Community Services Rob Frizzelle speaks during Fountain Valley's State of the City address.
Director of Community Services Rob Frizzelle responds to a question during Fountain Valley’s State of the City address on Tuesday at the Center at Founders Village.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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