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Costa Mesa council to consider revised budget that would slash planned use of reserves

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Costa Mesa City Hall on Tuesday will host its first City Council meeting since meetings were temporarily moved to the Costa Mesa Senior Center while the council chamber was being renovated.
(File Photo)

The Costa Mesa City Council is set to consider a $174-million budget that has been tentatively rebalanced to reduce reliance on reserves through a series of monetary maneuvers.

In the revised 2019-20 budget that the council will review Tuesday, city management proposes deferring several building projects, delaying a handful of planned hires, swapping funding sources for a storm drain project and tapping into anticipated excess funds from nearly completed capital projects to drop the previously proposed use of reserves by about $2.7 million — from $3.15 million to about $437,000.

The potential building deferrals include a design for the reconstruction of Fire Station No. 2, City Hall improvements and a broad package of beautification and infrastructure upgrades on the Westside.

On the personnel side, the city could put off staffing enhancements in the code enforcement, public services, finance and information technology departments.

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The revised budget also would de-fund field improvements at four schools proposed in partnership with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, use restricted park funds rather than general fund dollars to cover the Fairview Park storm drain project and draw from expected leftover funds from several other projects, including the refreshed Fire Station No. 1.

Costa Mesa celebrates new fire station »

Meanwhile, staff recommends deferring a decision on Police Chief Rob Sharpnack’s request for more Police Department money “until a thorough analysis can be performed.”

A preliminary budget released last month showed the Police Department budget increasing from $49.2 million to $49.7 million, or 1%.

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In a memo to the City Council, Sharpnack decried the proposed police spending plan as a threat to public safety and “chaotic, full of poor decisions and saturated in secrecy.”

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Tuesday’s meeting will be the council’s first at City Hall since temporarily moving across town to the Costa Mesa Senior Center while the council chamber was being renovated. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at 77 Fair Drive.

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