Photo: Andrea Papagianis
Photo: Andrea Papagianis

By Andrea Papagianis

A budget update report for 2014-2015 before the five-member City Council Tuesday night included adjustments to the city’s two year operating budget but not a commitment to fund the second phase of the Lantern District improvement project many had hoped for.

Regardless, after hearing concerns from residents and business owners that funding for streetscape improvements along Del Prado Avenue wouldn’t come, the council voted 3-2 to reallocate monies from various reserves to fund the estimated $7.7 million project.

Councilmen Bill Brough, Carlos Olvera and Steven Weinberg opted to transfer $1.475 million for the state budget impacts reserve, $2.5 million from the capital projects sinking fund reserve and the $3.725 million needed to round out the $7.7 million estimate from the undesignated fund balance.

Mayor Lisa Bartlett and Councilman Scott Schoeffel dissented. Schoeffel raised concern the transfer would take reserves to record lows and questioned how long funding replenishment would take. Due to Weinberg calling the question, Bartlett did not speak on the matter until a later item, in which she said her “no” vote was not against the project but she was also concerned about depleting reserves.

The council unanimously approved sending the project out to bid. According to staff, bids will be structured with line items that the council can look at more closely.

Last year, the council unanimously approved spending $9.2 million dollars to add bus pullouts, replace sidewalks, add medians and return two-directional traffic to Pacific Coast Highway. Construction began in September, following the South Coast Water District’s preempted replacement of sewer and water utilities, as well as storm drains, along the roadway.

The council will now decide on funding the project’s remaining construction on Del Prado Avenue, considered by supporters as the crux of the city’s revitalization efforts.

An estimated $7.7 million is needed to create a pedestrian-friendly environment down Del Prado, where medians will be added, stoplights replaced with stop signs and traffic slowed through the business district.

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comments (2)

  • I have avoided Town Center since the start of construction opting for side streets on all my errands. Now it appears that the strategy going forward is to further slow traffic with stop signs virtually every block. I guess the city must think all merchant revenue will be coming from tourism. Meanwhile, the city is on course to drain budget reserves to dangerously low levels. How quickly they forget that the economy is not always on the upswing.

  • Oh yes, Dana Point, by completing this project, will increase revenues from sales and business taxes. Its wonderful! After all, that has been the main goal of the City Council, to build up cash. Cash that the city does not really need, except to fund redevelopment… so we can get more and more money in the City coffers… so we can get more redevelopment.. Meanwhile, what happens to our quality of life? Why did we move to Dana Point? To live in a quiet, relatively unspoiled seaside town. Then the City Council became obsessed with “progress” while most of the city residents don’t know what is going on. The City Council has abdicated its responsibility to bring these fundamental issues to the attention of the citizens. We have so many festivals to bring in tourists, sometimes its a headache to live in Dana Point. Parks filling up with people from all over Southern California, strewing trash, sometimes defecating on the ground, so we, the people who live here, cannot enjoy them. Dana Point, a wonderful place to visit, but not such a great place to live anymore. And so in 2012, after 18 years, sold my house, got rid of the horrendous property tax burden imposed for living in Dana Point, and left.

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