Girl Scouts brought the cuteness factor to the March 7 City Council meeting, as they led the pledge of allegiance and handed out highly coveted Girl Scout cookies. Ten girls, representing five of the 14 Coronado Girl Scout troops, which have a total of 97 girls, also received a proclamation from Mayor Richard Bailey declaring March 12 “Girl Scout Sunday” as the start of National Girl Scout Week, which ends on Saturday, March 18. The mayor shared that Girl Scouts in the U.S. was founded on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia by Juliette Gordon Low, to provide mentorship and education to young girls. Millions of girls have been inspired to achieve the highest ideals of character, conduct, and patriotism, and have learned a variety of valuable skills to help them become leaders who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts San Diego CEO Carol Dedrich was on hand to commend the girls and noted that the 106-year old cookie selling program is the largest entrepreneurship program for girls in the world. Coronado Cookie Co-Coordinator Stephanie Nurding noted that booth cookie sales will stop in San Diego county on March 12, but have been extended for individual sales for an additional week, due to extra cookies with incremental weather having impacted sales. Coronado cookie sales are on track, because as Nurding emphasized “Coronado girls sell in all types of weather.”
In the City Manager’s Report, Tina Friend turned the time over to Police Chief Chuck Kaye to give a police services update. He highlighted that the department strives to be forward thinking as they ensure a safe community. CPD is made up of a variety of areas including Patrol, Traffic Motors, Investigations, Senior Volunteer Patrol, Narcotic Taskforce, Joint Terrorism Taskforce, School Resource Office, PIO/Training, Fiscal, Dispatch, Records, and Property and Evidence, with 70 employees and 30 volunteers.
In his presentation, Kaye shared that in 2022, the response time was less than five minutes for Priority 1 calls, which include 911, crimes of violence, etc., and totaled 4,546. There were 4,642 Priority 2 calls; and Priority 3 calls, which are categorized as minor crimes, amounted to 9,780, for a total of 18,968 calls. The number of traffic stops were up from 7,456 in 2021 to 10,715 last year, and with a dedicated car set to start this weekend, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 2 pm to midnight, enforcement will continue to be a priority. The number of parking citations almost tripled from 2,588 in 2021 to 7,019 in 2022, with the new LPR electronic ticket monitoring program proving its efficiency. For traffic concerns, Kaye asked residents to use the Ask Coronado app (available in the Apple and Google Play stores), the city website, or call Police Sergeant Matt Mitchell.
A big issue in Coronado has been electric bike safety, and CPD has stepped up enforcement and conducted educational bike rodeos, and is implementing a school juvenile diversion program this year. The number of bike citations jumped from 10 in 2021 to 93 in 2022. Bike warnings went from three in 2022 to 143 last year.
School Resource Officer Grace Del Bagno has created a new Crown City Safety Ambassadors (CCSA) Program, for Coronado Middle School, Village Elementary, Strand Elementary, Sacred Heart Parish School, and Christ Church Day School that will deal with conflict resolution and other pertinent issues, to help students develop into becoming leaders and making safe and smart choices. CPD projects 471 CCSA graduates for the 2022/23 school year.
The investigations unit filed more than 400 cases with the District Attorney’s office and recovered more than $130,000 in stolen property. The Senior Volunteer Program is also a vital part of CPD. The dedicated volunteers contributed a total of 3,485 hours in 2022, assisting with a variety of tasks including special events, warnings, and citations. CPD is proactive in embracing technology to reduce crime, including new cameras at The Del and Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and LPR cameras coming in and out of the city to provide time-stamped photos of vehicles, potentially allowing for quicker arrests. Kaye chuckled as he said that thieves may have caught on to the police bait bike, because it has only been stolen one time in 2023, compared to 112 times in 2022.
CPD Support Services Manager Jill Branch and Corporal Anthony Flores gave an informative presentation on the new Citizen RIMS program, which is a web-based application that provides a window into CPD data for residents. Designed to increase transparency, RIMS provides updated information on officer-initiated activity, missing persons, and stolen vehicles, as well as allowing for voluntary registration of surveillance cameras, and providing a portal to the weekly Media Bulletin. Incident mapping is also a key feature that can be searched by location and 24 categories of calls. Citizen RIMS information can be accessed by the link on the CPD website at www.coronadopd.org or at coronado.crimegraphics.com.
City Manager Tina Friend gave a brief presentation on the final location selection for the new League of Wives Memorial Project statue. She noted that Senior Management Analyst Kelly Purvis and the Cultural Arts Commission considered four additional locations, including Rotary Plaza, Adella Plaza, Glorietta Bay Promenade, and Centennial Park, but each was deemed not the most desirable. Friend noted that staff recommends the Star Park Circle, Site A, location as approved by the council in July 2022.
Friend announced that City Clerk Jennifer Ekblad, MMC, CPM, will be leaving her position for a new job for the city of Chandler, Arizona. Friend, along with all the city council members, commended Ekblad’s professionalism, attention to detail, and tremendous impact throughout her three and a half year tenure. They noted that she has a passion for elections and has been a positive force for the city, pushing for a variety of innovations. She is wished well in her future endeavors.
The Bank of America (B of A) building parking plan, devised to meet parking requirements for its tenants, the La Avenida Inn and its new restaurant, and the Stake Chophouse & Bar expansion, was presented by Senior Planner Jesse Brown. The B of A building is 20,000 square feet, with 95 parking spaces designated currently; additional perpendicular spaces, for a total of 126 spots, is proposed to accommodate the parking requirements for the four entities. The building will contain a combination of valet and self-parking, with the plan meeting the Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan, as well being consistent with the General Plan, Municipal Code, and Local Coastal Program.
The businesses have worked with LAZ Parking to come up with a proposed valet plan and councilmembers consulted City Attorney Johanna Canlas to ensure that enforcement provisions were in place, with Councilmember Downey proposing a validation system. The Chamber of Commerce and Coronado MainStreet also expressed support for this proposal. The businesses will have the option to choose if they want to charge for valet parking. The council agreed that this plan enables the maximum use of an underutilized resource and unanimously approved this plan.
There was positive fiscal news as Administration Services Director John Kim gave a 2022-23 Budget mid-year review and adjustment proposal. The biggest financial upswing was the additional $3.6 million in General Fund revenue which is mostly due to a major increase in TOT revenues, which have rebounded higher than pre-pandemic levels, with the current strong demand for travel. The city also received a Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE) grant, as well as reimbursement for the San Diego Port MSA, and an additional $270,000 in increased enrollment and classes in the Recreation Fund and Golf Services Fund restaurant and concessionaire increases.
On the flip side, Kim pointed out needed budget expense adjustments of $3.2 million in Public Safety overtime, MOU fiscal impact, changes in scope of projects like the Cays Park Master Plan, and Housing Element Update, contracts and services, legal, and animal shelter, inflation supply chain issues, utility increases, and fire services supplies. There is also an additional $275,000 needed for increased recreation staffing along with materials and small equipment for golf services.
Ultimately, Kim pointed out that it was a $400,000 net gain for the General Fund, which is projected at $55,562,101. Councilmember Downey asked that with the recent vote to allocate one percent to Community Grants, budget excesses should be looked at to be given out the following year. City Manager Friend said that was a discussion for a later date and that the 2023 budget presentation will be presented at the next city council meeting. The City Council unanimously approved this mid-year budget adjustment.
Consent Calendar ~
A resolution terminating the local emergency state due to COVID-19, and the annual military equipment use report were both approved on the Consent Calendar. The MTS Summer Shuttle contract was pulled off the consent calendar for a later date.
Councilmember Duncan mentioned that the SANDAG Board will discuss the weighted vote issue at a retreat later this week. The next city council meeting will be held on March 21, 2023.