Traffic concerns top council meeting

The Costa Mesa City Council has a busy agenda for its Tuesday meeting, including reexamining a traffic agreement with the developers of Banning Ranch, appointing residents for a charter committee, choosing directors to serve the Senior Center and approving an operations contract for the city jail.

The original Banning traffic mitigation agreement from July was a source of contention for some Westside residents who oppose the proposed development in West Newport. The new agreement has adjustments, though it would give the city about the same amount as before — about $4.4 million — toward improving traffic conditions as a result of the increased car trips coming through Costa Mesa to Banning Ranch.

For the charter committee, the council will appoint 13 members who will then draft what is essentially a city constitution. Residents will then vote on the document.

More than 35 people have applied to join the committee.

Each of the five council members will first appoint a member. Then the second five appointees will be chosen by a nomination process. The last three appointees will be randomly picked from a lottery that contains five names, one from each council member.

City CEO Tom Hatch is recommending that Estancia High School Principal Kirk Bauermeister be the primary independent facilitator for the committee. The position is paid.

For the Senior Center's board of directors, six have applied for three vacancies. The positions are for two-year terms.

Costa Mesa officials have tapped G4S Secure Solutions to operate the city jail as an outsourcing measure. The cost-saving plan has been a priority of the council majority since fall 2011, after which it "was determined that contracting out could result in better jail operations at lower costs," according to the city staff report.

The report also says input from the Costa Mesa City Employees Assn. was considered, and no layoffs are recommended. Those working the jail might be able to transfer to comparable positions, according to city staff.

City officials predict that using G4S will save the city as much as $3.2 million over five years.


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