Newport offers look at proposed budget

In a study session before its meeting Tuesday night, the Newport Beach City Council took a first look at the city’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The budget, which must be submitted at least 35 days before the beginning of the 2013-2014 year, which starts July 1, will be up for public comment at a June 11 hearing, according to a staff report.

Among the year’s priorities will be continued work to decrease pension costs by eliminating 16 full-time and the equivalent of 14 full-time positions in part-time jobs from the city payroll and increasing employees’ contributions, the report said.

While overall city staffing levels would be decreased, according to the report, the proposed budget would also fund a new “crime suppression unit” made up of three police officers and one sergeant.

Overall, the city is projected to spend about $260,897,610 next fiscal year — down 11.19% from this year’s amended budget.

Of total spending from the city’s general fund, the bulk — about 48%, or $83.4 million — is projected to pay for public safety services.

Meanwhile, the city is projected to bring in $253,704,341 in revenue, up 9.78% from this year’s amended budget. About 47% of revenues going into the general fund are projected to be from property taxes, at $77.6 million.

The proposed budget, the report stressed, is balanced — meaning that the city wouldn’t need to dip into reserves to operate.

Also during the study session, Public Works Director Dave Webb discussed ongoing and upcoming projects to be included in the city’s Capital Improvement Program for the new fiscal year. The 73 projects cost about $61 million.

According to the proposed Capital Improvement Program, city lifeguard headquarters would be improved and design for the rebuilding of the Corona del Mar fire station could begin. Ongoing projects include work on Marina Park, Sunset Ridge Park and Sunset View Park, according to the presentation.

For more information on the budget, residents can go to

At the meeting, the council voted to dissolve the city-run Marine Avenue and Balboa Village Business Improvement districts in favor of establishing independent merchant associations.

The move, city staff members have said, would save the city money by not requiring staff time to help run the largely autonomous districts. Also, district board members have found city rules to be unnecessary burdens.