City Council to appoint planning commissioners

The Costa Mesa City Council is scheduled to hear a wide variety of issues during its regular meeting Tuesday night, including appointing planning commissioners, potentially adopting changes to July 4 fireworks sales and forming a pension oversight committee.

After approving a request from Councilwoman Sandy Genis earlier this month, the council will appoint three members to the five-person commission. The effort attempts to correct the council's Jan. 15 mistake when it appointed a third commissioner to fill the sudden vacancy from Commissioner Edward Salcedo, who resigned Jan. 14. A one-day notice was not enough time to do such an act, the city clerk's office ruled after the Jan. 15 meeting.

Two of the commission terms are for four years. The third is for the remainder of Salcedo's term, which was set to expire in February 2015.

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger has also requested a series of changes for city's fireworks sale policy during the July 4 holiday period, when many community groups sell fireworks to raise funds for their efforts throughout the year.

According to the city staff report, suggested new language for the ordinance includes reducing the maximum amount of fireworks stand permits from 40 to 25 through attrition, instituting a $1,000 maximum amount paid to fireworks providers, having the city waive all permit fees for fireworks stands, and certifying that the fireworks sellers must be in good standing with their nonprofit status.

Waiving the fees will allow the sellers to have a greater profit margin, city officials said.

"With fireworks sales being the only true fundraiser for most of the user groups involved, the goal of the proposed changes is to alleviate the pressure of year-round fundraising and put the focus back on the sport," the staff report states.

Mensinger also requested formal council consideration of a committee to "evaluate annual pension oversight issues," according to the agenda report.

If formed, the committee could include nine residents and three members from the employee associations. It would advise the council at least once a year.

A part-time management analyst, working five to 10 hours a week at a potential rate of $41.31 an hour, would also support the committee, as will city staff from various departments and the representatives from the employee associations.


Other council actions

The council is also scheduled to consider establishing an information technology replacement fund.

If approved, the fund is expected to have a nearly $1.73-million impact to city coffers, which includes the need for a $1.2-million loan from the city's general fund. Other funds would come from the Police Department, which has its own computer system separate from the rest of the city.

City staff are estimating the majority of the initial technology upgrades would be completed by June or July.

The council is also set to consider seeking an audit of the Costa Mesa Country Club, an upgrade of the digital video recording systems for 49 Police Department vehicles — at an amount of nearly $321,000 — and changing a land-use designation on a 4.2-acre parcel at Baker and Pullman streets, near the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway.

If the parcel is changed from industrial to high-density residential, a 236-unit apartment complex is being considered for the site at 125 E. Baker St. The area currently has 66,000-square-foot, two-story office building that was developed in 1974, according to city staff.

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