Council delays budget vote

Given a list of 19 cost-cutting proposals — which include a classic-car auction, suspending use of take-home vehicles and removing fans and heaters from office spaces — the Costa Mesa City Council voted Tuesday to delay a decision on its budget by one week. Councilman Eric Bever cast the dissenting vote.

The council is expected to consider the list and further negotiations with the city's employee association by June 22 to begin dealing with a projected $16.4 million deficit.

The other propoals, compiled by the Costa Mesa City Employees Assn., include:

* Provide a so-called "4/10 work schedule" — in which employees could work 10 hours a day for four days weekly — for an estimated $56,000 in electrical, water and fuel savings.

* Offer enhanced retirement benefits to entice employees into voluntary separation.

* Raise fees

* Raise taxes — perhaps the "hotel tax" and tax for business licenses — to at least the county average.

* Reduce or cut 401K contributions for management employees.

* Sell the Baker Street Fire Station.

* Institute "pay to stay" jail fee.

* Use $2 million of $8 million in equipment-replacement fund.

* Eliminate janitorial contract.

* Use $2 million of $14 million in emergency funds.

The City Council approved a moratorium that prevents current massage parlors from expanding or new ones opening up. The moratorium gives the city another 12-month period to consider its options while legislations regarding the issue play out at the state level.

The City Council was also briefed on the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Redondo Beach's right to block day laborers from soliciting work within its city limit. No action was taken.

Earlier this year, Costa Mesa placed a moratorium on enforcing its anti-solicitation ordinance until the Redondo Beach case gets decided. The moratorium was part of a court agreement between the city and the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit along with other civil rights organizations claiming that Costa Mesa's ordinance violates day laborers' 1st Amendment rights.

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