The city's financial picture was not rosy in 2010, but it wasn't in the red, thanks to policies designed to counter the economic downturn, which have other California cities in the doldrums. Retiring City Manager Ken Frank presented a balanced budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, as required by city law, by dipping into the "Recession Smoothing Account," set up in December of 2008 for just this purpose.
The adopted budget also included the first payment of an internal loan used to pay off the interest accrued by retroactive, some said "radioactive," increases in public safety employee's retirement benefits. The loan eliminated a $10-million debt to the Public Employee Retirement System, which will save the city an estimated $6.4 million in interest. Shoppers and retail business owners had something to cheer about when the city repealed the temporary half-cent sales tax approved by voters to pay for repairs to infrastructure damaged in the 2005 Bluebird Canyon landslide.
And while expected, city officials breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Federal Emergency Management Agency cut a check for $34 million to pay the bill for the repairs. Payments were also credited to the city's own Disaster Relief and Street Lighting funds and the Laguna Beach County Water District.
Alternative Sleeping Location
The city opened larger and year-round accommodations for local homeless people on June 15, providing nightly shelter and daily respite from the streets for those who could prove they had a tie to Laguna Beach or had been homeless in the city for a year.