By Breeana Greenberg
The subcommittee tasked with leading the efforts in deciding which one-time capital improvement projects should be prioritized and funded with a portion of the city’s $10.5 million surplus had its first meeting ahead of the City Council’s Nov. 15 meeting.
At the mid-November council meeting, Councilmembers Mike Frost and Jamey Federico, who chair the subcommittee, reported that they had begun grouping projects based on varying issues and priorities.
“We grouped a number of them together where it made sense to group them, we eliminated a few, some are already being worked on, some we just said, ‘hey, there’s money in the general plan, just go do this right now,’ ” Federico reported. “Council has already given direction to do some of these little, much smaller ones.”
“Staff is going to go back and look at things, like which have public safety,” Federico continued. “Public safety was high on our list, public safety impact, economic development, broad impact on the community, all of those things.”
Federico noted that the subcommittee aims to bring a plan forward at a future meeting to complete all the city’s 20A utility undergrounding projects, which are meant to address utilities on major roadways and public-use areas that generally provide larger community benefit.
During previous discussions, councilmembers had noted that they’d like to see the coffers from the surplus go towards projects that can be completed with the funds allocated.
“In order to get something done, it’s got to be something that’s within the dollar amount of what we have. It seems like a lot of money but when we looked at that list we were like, ‘Oh man, it doesn’t go very far,” Federico said. “Especially in today’s construction and inflationary environment.”
Federico explained that staff still has a lot more work to do to evaluate what projects the council may be able to see through to completion with the surplus funds that might have an impact on the community.
The subcommittee is scheduled to meet again in January. The CIP process will be brought into budget discussions for the next fiscal year, City Manager Mike Killebrew explained.
“Staff is doing additional work getting some additional information for some of the projects,” Killebrew said. “Some really good ideas were brought up in the discussion to better inform the discussion. Still a work in progress.”
Federico noted that the subcommittee plans to bring back to the council a list of the grouped projects to discuss which ones should be prioritized.
Mayor Joe Muller, whose term on the dais is set to end in early December emphasized that the city may not soon see surplus funds like it has seen recently.
“I’ve put my two cents worth in,” Muller said. “I know you guys are going to look at a lot of these issues but again, remember they’re one-time monies and just be careful with that. There’s no guarantee we’re going to see those again next year—probably not going to see them again next year would be my guess.”
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at email@example.com
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