STATE SENATOR WALTERS & ASSEMBLYMAN MANSOOR ASK STATE LANDS COMMISSION TODELAY CITY’S DOCK TAX BUDGET REQUEST
At the request of the Newport Beach Dock Owners Association, State Senator Mimi Walters and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor have asked Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom in his capacity as a member of the State Lands Commission (SLC), to delay the city’s request to create a city budget line item if the Dock Tax is ever collected.
Our legislators correctly assert that the Dock Tax is the subject of litigation and may never be collected, therefore it’s premature for the city to request SLC review until our Brown Act lawsuit is adjudicated.
In addition, Senator Walters and Assemblyman Mansoor will be scrutinizing the city’s documents with a critical eye looking for misappropriated tidelands funds for non-tidelands uses. Should they find problems (which we think they will) a request will be made to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to audit the city’s historical tidelands spending.
I believe the Dock Tax is simply a money grab to fund Newport’s ever-expanding bureaucracy that is one of the most expensive in Orange County. And, I believe they will find a way to use tidelands funds to help make the $8 million per year mortgage payment on the Taj Mahal.
The city’s request of SLC is bizarre on its face. Why do they need another earmarked budget item to maintain the tidelands? They already have one – the tidelands fund. But, we assert that they’ve used the existing a tidelands budget for decades as a catch-all for salaries, benefits, and other non-tidelands programs. State law requires the city spend money generated by the tidelands on the tidelands – nothing else.
To no one’s surprise the city’s new proposed budget item allows the them to poach tidelands funds for general fund items – one of our major concerns. Newport’s unfunded pension liability and Taj Mahal debt place great pressure on the general fund. (see excerpt below from city staff report)
City Council Staff Report
Agenda Item No. 26
February 12, 2013
“The Harbor Fund may be used by the City to: (1) reimburse the General Fund for monies
loaned to the tidelands funds for Newport Harbor improvements and maintenance activities …”
We thank Senator Walters and Assemblyman Mansoor for taking the time and showing the courage to work on behalf of taxpayers. They have an open mind and are willing to listen.
We should never forget the politicians that voted to levy the Dock Tax:
VOTING AGAINST THE DOCK TAX
§ Councilwoman Leslie Daigle
VOTING FOR THE DOCK TAX
§ Councilman Mike Henn (led the charge for the tax)
§ Former Councilman Steve Rosansky (Rosansky’s last vote as councilman was the Dock Tax – they adjourned to the new Taj Mahal for high-fives and self-admiration)
§ Councilman Rush Hill (said previous council’s should have raised the tax but to take this sh*t.) Hill is eligible to run for one more 4-year term.
§ Then Mayor now termed-out councilwoman Nancy Gardner
§ Then Mayor pro Tem now Mayor Keith Curry
§ Councilman Ed Selich