Volume 8, Issue 79  |  October 3, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Council reviews $74M Capital Improvement Program budget


The next fiscal year has plenty on the table in terms of maintenance programs, infrastructure projects and resident services.

During a special joint meeting with the Finance Committee, City Council reviewed the proposed fiscal year 2023-24 Capital Improvement Program budget of $74.07 million during a study session on May 23.

Public works staff presented the CIP, which serves as a plan for the provision of public improvements, special projects, ongoing maintenance programs and the implementation of the city’s master plans. Projects in the CIP include improvements and major maintenance on arterial highways, local streets, and alleys; storm drain and water quality improvements; harbor, pier and beach improvements; park and facility improvements; water and wastewater system improvements; transportation safety, reliability and traffic signal improvements, and planning programs and studies.

There have been a few changes, but the final draft is fairly similar to previous versions the council has reviewed, noted Public Works Director Dave Webb.

Councilmember Brad Avery commended staff for their work on the CIP and the variety of projects on the list. It’s a daunting challenge and the city tackling it so well is one reason why people want to live in Newport Beach, he said.

“Capital commands labor and that capital is taxpayer money coming in and so many of these projects are things that are existential to our health and happiness in this town,” Avery said.

The sewer drainage, new water systems, pumps, etc., are the things that make the city work on the baseline, he added, and add the different complications that are unique to Newport Beach (geographically, being a coastal town, for example) and it’s extraordinary.

“If you’re a homeowner in this town this is the holy grail right here, in terms of maintaining the city and, of course, the services to residents, parks, and the whole thing,” Avery said. “It’s just a very impressive list.”

Other councilmembers echoed his comments and praised the Public Works Department.

It’s a huge array of work accomplished by the city staff, Councilmember Robyn Grant noted. Understanding the mastery of the process the “boots on the ground” are doing out there is amazing, she said.

The budget addresses a council priority of investing in public infrastructure by rehabilitating aging assets, improving citywide vehicle, cycle and pedestrian flow, renewing or improving streets and landscaping, improving parks and recreational facilities, and managing and improving harbor tidelands amenities, explained Deputy Director of Public Works and City Engineer Jim Houlihan.

Houlihan went through the 69 items on the list by category, noting the budget for each group (including both rebudgeted and new budget funds).

Under the approximate $24 million budget for facilities, funded projects will include: 15th Street restroom replacement, Balboa Branch library and fire station #1 replacement, city yard fueling support facilities and transfer station improvement, and the facilities master plan items.

Council reviews $74M Capital Improvement civic center

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Photo by Sara Hall

Council reviewed the2023-24 Capital Improvement Program budget, which included Civic Center improvements

Answering a council question, City Manager Grace Leung clarified what’s happened since the last council discussion on the library lecture hall (initially included in the facilities budget).

On April 25, councilmembers voted 7-0 in favor of the recommended action on the item (which was pulled from the consent calendar for discussion) to reject all the bids and direct staff to continue looking for opportunities to move this project forward in the future.

The plan was to go back out to bid in the fall, if the climate has improved by then. That would mean they would review bids around the end of the year or early 2024. At that point, they would also see what the fundraising looks like on the private funding side of the project. All that information would then come back to council for consideration, she explained.

There are quite a few projects under the $26.2 streets and drainage category, including: Alleys reconstruction, Balboa Island drainage master plan/pump station, Balboa Island street and drainage improvements, beach access and street ends near Peninsula Point, concrete replacement program, fair share pavement rehabilitation with the county for Irvine Boulevard at Bristol Street, landscape enhancement projects (Ocean Boulevard in CdM, Newport Boulevard median and portions of Coast Highway), Old Newport curb improvements and other modifications, pavement management plan maintenance and inspection, and several pavement rehabilitation projects.

The $2.3 million budget for transportation projects include: Balboa Island/CdM microtransit feasibility study, Balboa Peninsula summer trolley, traffic signage, striping and marking, and the traffic signal rehabilitation.

There are also a number of notable projects funded with the $8.8 million budget for parks, harbors and beaches, including: Civic Center improvements (including the potential transportation center pickleball courts), Newport Coast pickleball courts, park master maintenance program, playground refurbishment program, abandoned/surrendered watercraft abatement, design and permitting for the Balboa Island seawall by the ferry landing, Newport Bay trash wheel, TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) compliance and water quality improvements, and monitoring and maintenance for the Peninsula Point rehabilitation.

With a total budget of $5.9 million, several water system projects are included: Phase three of the Balboa Island water main replacement, bay/channel crossings water main replacement, pipeline cathodic protection program, distribution valve replacement program, Dover Drive/Coast Highway PRS replacement, study for new wells and pipeline in Fountain Valley, Shore Cliffs community water system improvements, water system rehabilitation, water valve grade adjustments, water well rehabilitation, and zones three and four pump station upgrades.

Under the wastewater system category with a total budget of $1.8 million, projects include: Sewer lift station improvements, sewer manhole cover grade improvements, and sewer main lining and repairs.


Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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