NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Over the past week we have surveyed the community over the proposed increase in the sewer fee.
By way of background, since 2005 the city has maintained a schedule of improvements necessary to maintain the sewer system. In 2009 they adopted a master plan that updated the 2005 document with costs and fee increase requirements, including an increase in 2014. The council did not authorize the 2014 increase, it was an election year and then Mayor Rush Hill was facing a difficult re-election campaign. “They kicked the can down the road to help Rush Hill and delay the sewer improvements by years. How many sewage spills have we had recently that could have been averted,” declared Bob McCaffrey, Volunteer Chairman of Newport Residents for Reform.
Over the past decade the city’s budget has increased by 52%, nearly $100 million. “It’s time the city stopped spending on frivolous items like Taj Mahal, $225,000 bunnies, Marina Park, and the crazy art in the park. We need to get back to basic of local government like fixing the sewer system. We have plenty of money without the incessant picking of our pockets,” stated McCaffrey.
Last weekend I generated an online poll asking a series of questions about the sewer rate increase. 162 responded with each response transmitting to the seven city councilmembers and the city manager.
The results are below and reflect a clear sentiment that the public wants the city to reprioritize its spending and get back to basics.
“It’s clear to me that Newport’s voters are looking for a new way of doing business – the decade of shiny new objects is over,” concluded McCaffrey.