Tijuana River Valley pollution
This week’s City Council meeting was one of updates on a variety of ongoing projects including the Tijuana River Valley (TRV) sewage positive news, undergrounding utilities, and mid-year budget review. Andre Monette, partner at Best, Best & Krieger (BB&K) gave a report of their federal lobbying efforts on behalf of the city. He outlined the various meetings and efforts with a variety of key agencies in Washington DC to lobby for funding to help alleviate the cross-border sewage problem in the TRV. He congratulated the Council on their commitment and advocated that there is much to celebrate with recent developments in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which includes direction to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to construct, operate, and maintain a project in the TRV, on the United States’ side of the border to control sewage flows with an allocation of $300 million and increased capitalization of the North American Development Bank for an additional $1.5 billion to allow the bank to lend more money for projects in the border zone. The mayor pointed out that “all the consequential meetings helped build support and got the ball rolling and educated key people on this critical issue creating familiarity with the subject that made it easier to move it forward.” He asked Monette if the pending lawsuit by other cities and agencies against the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) had been settled, to which Monette replied, not as of yet, but a conference with the court is scheduled for March 11. Everyone working together helped create this positive outcome.
Ed Walton, Director of Engineering, gave a presentation on the status of the six proposed utility undergrounding assessment districts. The three farthest along are the First Street Assessment District, Silver Strand Conversion District and Adella/Coronado Beach Resort Conversion District with SDG&E involved in the design and boundaries. The remaining three: Alameda/J Avenue Assessment District, Adella/Maria/Ynez Assessment District, and Ocean Boulevard/Marina Avenue Assessment District are in varying stages of investigation. Councilmember Heinze proposed having the mayor and city manager work with Navy senior leadership and state park leadership to solicit help in working together to beautify the Silver Strand Highway. Walton pointed out the while previous Silver Strand projects have been done in part with Navy labor, the timing of the current application process may not line up with the timing required by SDG&E. The council unanimously accepted this report and incorporated Councilmember Heinze’s recommendation.
The mid-year budget review was presented by Jim Kreuger, Director of Administrative Services, with the good news that with an opening fund balance of $49,603,737, there is $1.1 million more money than anticipated, after revenue and expense adjustments. The biggest general fund variances were a decrease of $312,000 in sales tax and $834,000 in Transient Occupant Tax (TOT), which was attributed to the major construction currently in progress at The Del. City Manager Blair King pointed out the capital projects for the proposed $1.5 million budget adjustments. The first is $250,000 for audiovisual equipment upgrades for the Coronado High School auditorium, which is also frequently used by community groups. The second is an additional $390,000 for the Coronado Shores median project from Avenida del Sol to Avenida Lunar. The third variance is for monies for the Trans-Net Bay Kettner Sewer Line pipe repair.
Councilmember Benzian asked that in addition to proposed projects that money be set aside from the Capital Improvement Fund (CIP) for enhancements on the Orange Avenue Corridor. All the councilmembers agreed that this an important project for the city. Councilmember Donovan wanted to wait until next year, but the mayor said, “Setting aside dollars now shows our council priorities.” He proposed putting aside $500,000 to initiate the project which will come back to the council at a later date for review. The council unanimously approved the recommended fiscal year mid-year budget adjustments with the addition of the Orange Avenue funds.
Items to note approved on Consent Calendar:
Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP)
The council received the city’s response to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The mayor thanked residents for their input and the 300 letters received. In the City of Coronado’s letter, the city strongly objects to the approach and direction that SDCRAA is taking to address existing NASNI operations relative to the existing built-out City of Coronado. The position remains that the ALUCP is neither warranted nor required at this time, as the city and NASNI developed concurrently over time and have effectively co-existed for over 100 years. The City was incorporated prior to the existence of NASNI. Large swaths of the city are located within the boundaries of the proposed ALUCP’s safety and noise contours, and therefore would be subject to restrictions that would preclude and deter further investment and development
Regional Housing Needs Assessment
The council authorized funds to hire the firm of Kimley-Horn to develop a general plan housing element, which is mandated by the state and must be updated every eight years to demonstrate how the city plans to meet existing and projected housing needs, including housing affordable to seniors, families, workers, and disadvantaged populations. The city’s current Housing Element will expire in 2021 and an updated 2021-2029 plan will include strategies for the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). The proposed unrealistic 2000 percent increase of RHNA numbers for Coronado from 50 to 1001 by SANDAG has been well documented and is being fought at both the county and state levels.
Government Cable Channel Operator and Videographer
An agreement was executed with Surfs Up Studios, the City’s Government Cable Channel Operator and Videographer. They will also provide ad-hoc videographer services for distribution through the city’s social media channels, e.g. public safety/emergency preparedness notices and event recaps, and longer in-depth features. In oral communication, Executive Producer Tony Perri said “it is an honor to work with this dedicated city manager, staff and council.” He highlighted several Coronado students who currently or have previously worked with him including David Lyon, Austin O’Brien, Morgan Willis, and Angel Jimenez.
Dale Russell was appointed to serve on the Civil Service Commission until December 31, 2022 to take over for Commissioner Virginia Callaghan Bayer.
$105,000 was allocated for the purchase and outfitting of three additional police vehicles.
A blue curb handicap zone was designated at 909 D Avenue.