Standard and Poor’s raises Costa Mesa’s credit rating to its highest level of AA+

The City of Costa Mesa received excellent financial news this week as its credit ratings with Standard & Poor’s jumped from AA to AA+, the highest possible rating issued by the financial services company for this type of financing.

The new improved ratings were issued in a report that came out today. This upgraded rating is the direct result of significant research by Standard & Poor’s during many meetings and discussions with Costa Mesa administrative and finance staff to analyze the city’s financial procedures and practices.

The high rating will allow the city to get the best rate possible for the sale of bonds that will be used to complete the Lions Park Projects.

“This is great news for the city and this AA+ rating assures the taxpayers of Costa Mesa that we will be able to complete the Lions Park projects with lower financing costs,” Mayor Katrina Foley said. “Congratulations to the current and former city councils, city staff and the Finance and Pension Advisory Committee for the prudent fiscal policies and management that helped us achieve this accomplishment.”

The Standard & Poor’s report also credited the effort to responsibly manage city reserves and debt. Indeed, Standard & Poor’s report cited several reasons for this top rating.

Click here to see the full report.

According to Standard & Poor’s, the following findings played into the rating being raised to the top level.

  • Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA);
  • Very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment (FMA) methodology;
  • Strong budgetary performance, with operating surpluses in the general fund and at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2016;
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2016 of 54% of operating expenditures;
  • Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash at 81.8% of total governmental fund expenditures and 26.4x governmental debt service, and access to external liquidity we consider strong;
  • Strong debt and contingent liability position, with debt service carrying charges at 3.1% of expenditures and net direct debt that is 21.9% of total governmental fund revenue, as well as low overall net debt at less than 3% of market value, but a large pension and other postemployment benefit (OPEB) obligation; and
  • Strong institutional framework score.



New Ganahl Lumber facility is taking shape

The new Ganahl Lumber in Costa Mesa is currently under construction.

The new facility, being built just north of the existing facility on Bristol Street, will include a 59,340-square-foot, two-story retail building with roof and surface level parking.

Additionally, a 29,560-square-foot, one-story metal storage building; a 3,750-square-foot mill building; and a 6,792-square-foot, three-sided storage shed for lumber is proposed.

Estimated competition is spring of 2018.




City to work with federal government to get accurate information for the 2020 Census

Every 10 years, the City has the opportunity to provide updated address and map data to the U.S. Census Bureau in preparation for the decennial U.S. Census.

The draft data for the 2020 Census will be distributed to planning staff for review.

The Local Update of Census Addresses, or LUCA, is the only opportunity offered to review and comment for our jurisdiction prior to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau relies on a complete and accurate address list to reach every living quarters and associated population for inclusion in the census.

Since accurate address count is essential to ensure an accurate census count for Costa Mesa; city staff will be diligent to provide updated data. The data will be provided in form of Customized Geographic Information System (GIS) software, which will be easy to update and minimize inaccuracies.

Actively participating in the Census and providing accurate information is important since the Census count is the base for all population estimates for the next 10 years. The count determines the apportionment of political representation, and determines the distribution of federal and state dollars.




City strikes Silver in award for energy efficiency

At a recent Energy Partnership meeting, the City of Costa Mesa received its award for reaching Silver Status within the partnership.

The Partnership, formed in 2010, currently consists of the cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Newport Beach, Westminster, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and Irvine.

Staff representatives meet monthly to discuss long-range energy efficiency goals and projects that are relevant to each city.  Costa Mesa recently completed the direct install program sponsored by Southern California Edison.

The program allowed for all City facilities, with the exception of the City Hall campus, to receive lighting upgrades at no cost, thus saving Costa Mesa approximately $60,000 in onetime general fund expenditures.

Assistant to the City Manager Dan Baker is the liaison to this committee and is always interested in projects that seek energy efficiency.




Jack Hammett Sports Complex construction enters Phase II

The fields that the Los Angeles Chargers football team will use for Summer 2017 Training Camp are undergoing final preparation before lush sod can be laid at the site.

Phase I construction included extensive grounds preparation as a means to support the highest quality sports turf available.  The Chargers will be releasing an official Summer Training Camp schedule soon.

The camp, which will be free and open to the public for viewing is scheduled to begin in late July.




New brochures highlight the economic advantages for businesses in Costa Mesa

The City continues to provide important economic information to the community and to potential investors in Costa Mesa.

The Community Economic Profile provides up to date information in a variety of categories, emphasizing the City’s strategic location, strong socio-economic indicators, temperate climate, and it also provides valuable contact information for important services.

A second handout, the Costa Mesa Advantage brochure, conveys the City’s vision for Costa Mesa. These handouts help to persuade businesses to establish here, attract investment to Costa Mesa and equip residents with reliable information about their community.




East 19th Street traffic calming will require temporary detours for some Eastside neighborhoods

The Public Services Department is implementing traffic-calming improvements along East 19th Street between Church Street and Irvine Avenue.  The improvements include concrete curb bulb-outs, street paving and landscape/Irrigation work.

The concrete curbs on the north side of East 19th Street were completed, and the installation of irrigation sleeves at most of the intersections have been nearly completed.  The concrete sidewalks will be constructed along the north side starting Monday, May 15.  The next phase of work will include the construction of the curb bulb-outs on the south side of East 19th Street and paving. This work will start on Wednesday May 17.

In order to do this next phase of work expeditiously and safely, all eastbound traffic will be diverted via detours at Fullerton Avenue. The westbound traffic will be allowed on East 19th Street throughout this period. Traffic flow in both directions will resume after this two-week period.  Notice of this closure will be provided to all residents along East 19th Street.




Chamber President Tom Johnson to receive prestigious award from the Orange County Press Club

Longtime local news veteran Tom Johnson, the President of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce and publisher of StuNewsNewport, will be awarded the Sky Dunlap Award for lifetime achievement in journalism and community service by the Orange County Press Club.

“I’m very pleased and excited that the club will be honoring Tom Johnson for his decades of service to journalism and the Newport-Costa Mesa community,” said Roger Bloom, the Press Club’s president. “Tom is a great man who embodies the spirit of professionalism and service, and countless people’s lives are better because of his efforts.”

The award will be presented to Johnson at the Press Club’s annual Awards Gala on Monday, May 15, at the Balboa Bay Resort. At the event, the club will also present awards to the winners of its annual Best in Journalism Contest and honor high school and college scholarship recipients. Tickets are available at ocpressclub.com.

StuNewsNewport is a twice-weekly online news source that launched in September 2016 to keep the local community informed and engaged. Johnson also currently serves as president of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he is an on-air radio personality on KOCI radio, hosting StuNewsNewport Sunday.

As the long-time publisher of the Daily Pilot from 1991-2008, Johnson oversaw the Los Angeles Times/Times Community News group that included eight community newspapers. During his tenure, the Daily Pilot won numerous awards, including General Excellence, the highest award presented by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

He also has consulted with clients including Newport Beach Television, the Orange County Register and Firebrand Media/Newport Beach Independent.

Johnson’s involvement in the community has been extensive: Two-time chairman of Hoag Hospital’s 552 Club; Past president of Orange County Youth Sports Foundation;  Past president and long-time board member of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce; Past skipper of the Newport Beach Commodores Club; Past board member and two-time chairman of Visit Newport Beach; Past board member, president and founder of CM 900; Past board member of Costa Mesa United, Newport Harbor Area Boys and Girls Club, Choose Nursing/Choose Hoag, Irrelevant Week and San Diego State University’s Orange County Council.

He was named Newport Beach Citizen of the Year, 2011; Costa Mesa Man of the Year, 1998; Newport Beach Commodore of the Year, 1999; and received the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Silver Anchor Award in 2006, Hoag Hospital’s Presidents Circle Award in 2007 and Visit Newport Beach’s Partners in Progress Award for 2009-10.

Johnson resides in Newport Beach. He has two grown daughters, Ashley and Victoria, and a 6-month-old granddaughter, Kate. In his leisure time, he enjoys golf, reading, and following University of Arizona sports.




Costa Mesa to Celebrate Action Sports and Art with mural painting and skateboard event this Saturday

Highlighting the City of Costa Mesa’s ties to art and action sports, the Action Arts in the Park exhibition returns this year to TeWinkle Park and will feature the work of four muralists, a skateboard competition, a dance demonstration and interactive public art projects at TeWinkle Park.

The second annual event, scheduled this Saturday April 29 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., was the brainchild of the city’s Cultural Arts Committee.

“Costa Mesa is such a fun, diverse, interesting place to live and we wanted to put on a high-energy event that reflected some of the best elements of this City – the artists, the action sports and the opportunities for families to spend the day in the park,” said Cultural Arts Committee Chair Andrea Marr.

For the city’s Parks & Community Services Department the event presents another avenue to promote Costa Mesa as the City of the Arts and share the City’s unique vibe and melting pot dynamic, Recreation Manager Justin Martin said.

“The Action Arts in the Park event is a really unique event that serves to highlight Costa Mesa’s vibrant arts scene in conjunction with the City’s edgy and ever-growing action sports scene,” Martin said.  “The goal is to have community members of all ages come together in one of the City’s most beautiful parks to enjoy an afternoon that is artistic, athletic, adventurous, energetic and family oriented.”

Four muralists, Josh Madrid, Maxx Gramajo, Ben Brough and Janelle Hinshaw, will paint a new mural from scratch onto a plywood canvas. In addition there will be a skate competition; live music by Cali Conscious and Sturgeon Rock; a dance performance from West Coast School of the Arts; and interactive art stations where patrons can paint a car, design a skateboard and spin art.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District high school students will be demonstrating their clay throwing skills and there will also be a Kids Zone with an Extreme Jumper and a Mechanical Surfboard

On the culinary side, Inspired Art & Wine is offering a design your own bottle event and several food trucks will also be on hand including The Big Cheese Truck, Scooter’s Ice, and Burger Monster.

The title sponsor of the event is Segerstrom Center for the Arts and other sponsors include Vans, The Art Institute of California – OC, Inspired Art & Wine, Papa Murphy’s, Chuck Jones Center, Attic Skateshop, Raising Canes, Garcia Chiropractic and Urban Workshop.




New restaurant facility being planned for former Souplantation site at Mesa Verde Shopping Center

The former Souplantation at 1555 Adams, in the Mesa Verde Shopping Center, will be demolished and replaced by a new, three to four restaurant tenant building.

The building will face the south and will be located at the end of a new walkway to connect this building with the rest of the shopping center as well as the Azulon Apartments.

As required by the California Environmental Quality Act, an Initial Study and Negative Declaration have been prepared for the project and is available for review and comment from through April 17, 2017 either online or at City Hall or the city’s two public libraries.

Please contact the Planning Division at 714-754-5245 if you need any information.




Costa Mesa’s Jack Hammett Sports Complex will be new home to Chargers Summer Training Camp

The Costa Mesa City Council gave unanimous approval Tuesday night March, 21 to enter into a 10-year use agreement with the Los Angeles Chargers to practice at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex during the NFL team’s training camp this summer.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will benefit both the Chargers and the Costa Mesa community at large while addressing the concerns of the neighbors,” Mayor Pro tem Sandra Genis said. “Along with other fans, I’m looking forward to watching the Chargers in action on our fields.”

The Chargers announced in January that the team is moving from San Diego to Los Angeles and  also announced that it was moving its headquarters into the Hive office complex in Costa Mesa.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos spoke to the City Council and thanked City Manager Tom Hatch and the Costa Mesa staff for working hard to make this agreement happen. Spanos invited the community to come to the camp to meet the football players.

“We are very proud and very honored to be a part of Costa Mesa and call this our home,” Spanos said. “This camp is an opportunity for everyone in Costa Mesa to come out and see what it’s all about. I hope the whole city comes out.”

Because the Jack Hammett Sports Complex fields are refurbished during the summer months, no youth sports teams will be displaced during the time the team will use the fields. Starting around mid-July, the team will hold its camp on fields No. 3 and 4 and bring the turf on those fields up to NFL standards. Training camp will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will finish about mid August.

As part of this training camp agreement, the team will provide Costa Mesa with $150,000 a year to use the site for a potential $1.5 million over 10 years.

In addition, the Chargers will give the city $50,000 to be used for a recently approved Mobile Recreation Program. Also, because field refurbishments need to happen as early as April, the Chargers have agreed to give the AYSO soccer organization a one-time payment of $10,000 to assist with finding field space.

The city and the Chargers plan to work closely together to ensure there are minimal disruptions to the nearby homes and neighborhoods. Because the training camp will coincide with the annual OC Fair, the city and the team will also develop a comprehensive plan for managing parking and traffic in the area.

 




OCTA official gives update on 405 expansion project

Nicollete La Piana,  a Community Relations Specialist from OCTA, discussed the details of the upcoming Interstate 405 Improvement Project at the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly Breakfast Boost on Thursday March 16.

Click here to see her presentation.

Of particular interest to Costa Mesa residents is the reconstruction of the Fairview Road overcrossing at the 405 Freeway, which will take place mid to late 2018. That work will result in the closure of some lanes in both directions as well as closures to freeway onramps. Costa Mesa Public Services will be working closely with OCTA to address those issues.

OCTA in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is widening the San Diego Freeway (I-405) between State Route 73 (SR-73) and Interstate 605 (I-605). The project will improve 16 miles of I-405 between the SR-73 freeway in Costa Mesa and I-605 near the L.A. County line.

The project includes adding one regular lane in each direction from Euclid Street to I-605 and making improvements to freeway entrances, exits, and bridges. It also will construct 405 Express Lanes, two lanes in each direction from SR-73 to I-605.

The new express lanes – incorporating the existing carpool lanes and connectors that opened in 2014 – will give solo drives the choice to speed up their commute for a toll, and carpoolers may ride in the lanes for free.  Transportation improvements to freeways keep commuters and goods moving within Orange County and to destinations beyond.

With Orange County’s population projected to increase dramatically by 2040, change is needed today to ensure tomorrow’s mobility. Currently, the 405 Improvement Project is one of OCTA’s premiere projects.

As a part of the project, OCTA is conducting a robust community outreach program which includes sending email alerts, offering civic and community presentations and posting information on our website and social media platforms.

The OCTA team has also developed an extensive business outreach program.

As the project moves into the construction phase in late 2017, OCTA wants to partner with businesses and employers within the project corridor.

The agency is continuously looking for opportunities to expand its efforts to those who are interested in receiving project updates.

OCTA offers one-on-one or brown-bag briefings/presentations, and can tailor  materials for internal newsletters or other useful communication mediums.

The OCTA team does whatever it can to minimize the impacts to residents, businesses, as well as motorists. Please contact OCTA if you have any questions or special requests by emailing 405project@octa.net or calling 888.400.8994.

Website: www.octa.net/405Improvement

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Follow on Twitter: @405Improvement