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Huntington Beach council establishes new goals for financial health, safety, infrastructure and services

Huntington Beach council establishes new goals for financial health, safety, infrastructure and services
The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday approved a new set of three-year goals for long-term financial and economic sustainability, enhanced public safety, improved infrastructure and quality city services. (File Photo)

Long-term financial and economic sustainability, enhanced public safety, improved infrastructure and quality city services are the new set of three-year goals the city of Huntington Beach will use as a guide to ensure fiscal health.

The City Council on Monday approved the new set without discussion. The council brainstormed the goals with city administrators last month.

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Each of the goals covers a list of 12-month objectives. The objectives include reviewing an updated plan to address homelessness, evaluating a draft public art master plan, conducting a study session on the pros and cons of short-term rentals and assessing possible funding options to increase police staffing.

Throughout the year, city staff will provide the council with an update on the status of each objective.

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New police contract

In other business Monday, the council gave the final OK to a new contract with the Police Officers’ Assn. that provides officers retroactive benefits dating back to 2017 and extends them through the end of this year. The contract will cost the city $759,293.

The council’s approval marks the end of nearly two years of negotiations with the rank-and-file police union, which has worked without a contract since fall 2017.

Under the new pact, officers will see adjustments in medical benefits, vacation time and time off and a one-time $1,200 reimbursement for law enforcement-related equipment purchases.

Mayor Erik Peterson was the only dissenter in the council’s vote, saying he took issue with the union’s request to amend contract items between readings. The council gave initial approval Feb. 19. Peterson dissented then as well, arguing that the union was getting double or more compared with other bargaining units.

“I’m just afraid it gets into the habit of changing things,” Peterson told the council Monday. “I think we should make it the first reading.”

City Human Resources Director Michele Warren said “minor changes” with clearer language were made to three elements in the contract. Such amendments won’t affect the overall cost, Warren said.

“I see the mayor’s point,” said Mayor Pro Tem Lyn Semeta, adding that the city doesn’t want to create a precedent for other contracts. If there were a cost difference, she said, the council should have a separate reading on the contract.

7 appointed to new Harbor Commission

The council also appointed seven residents to the city’s newly formed Harbor Commission.

Alfred Balitzer, William Larkin, Craig Schauppner and Kimberly Milligan will serve four-year terms. Michael Van Voorhis, Renee Hunter and John Ochs will serve two-year terms.

Commissioners will offer input to city leaders about local waterways and infrastructure.

The first Harbor Commission meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. March 28 at the Civic Center, 2000 Main St.

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