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Newport Beach

Volume 5, Issue 27  |  April 3, 2020


City Manager’s Updates

From the desk of Grace Leung

Grace Leung

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

To Our Community: 

Please know that the City of Newport Beach is here for you and your family in these difficult times. Our top concern is the health and safety of our community members and employees. We are committed to maintaining the essential municipal services that must continue during this crisis. Newport Beach has response plans and strategies in place for a variety of emergencies, and our staff is trained and prepared. 

We are also committed to bringing our residents and stakeholders the latest information on the City’s response to COVID-19, and keeping you informed about developments from the county and state level as we follow their guidance and adapt to new, emerging recommendations from public health officials. 

Please visit www.newportbeachca.gov/covid19 for the latest City news and useful web resources. Visit the Orange County Health Agency’s COVID-19 webpage for the latest countywide information, including the number of local cases. The State of California’s COVID-19 page also provides useful resources. 

You can also follow the City of Newport Beach on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and look for alerts from City staff on Nextdoor.

On Wednesday, March 18, the City Council held its first meeting under the state’s emergency rules, which allow members of civic bodies (Council members) to participate by telephone. Our Police Chief Jon Lewis, Fire Chief Jeff Boyles and I gave the Council updates on the City’s response as of Wednesday. The Council meeting is available online at this link

Closure of City Facilities 

All Newport Beach City facilities are now closed to the public. However, our staff is still here to provide essential services and answer questions by phone and email. City parks and beaches are open and signage has been placed to remind users to maintain social distancing at all times. 

As this crisis evolves, our service levels will change. A list of City services and contact information is available at this link. Please call or email the proper department to find out which services are available. 

What’s Allowed, What’s Suggested? 

The Governor’s emergency health order, released Thursday evening, March 19, is designed to limit the transmission of COVID-19 by calling for all individuals living in California to stay home or at their place of residence, except to access necessities such as food, prescriptions, and health care. It makes exceptions for essential services critical in order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians. When outside the home, individuals should practice social distancing at all times. 

For more details on the Governor’s “stay at home” order, please visit this link

Local Emergency Proclamation 

At last Wednesday’s meeting, the Council ratified a declaration of local emergency for the City of Newport Beach. This is an important step that will give Newport Beach more flexibility and access to resources as we work to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Activated 

On Sunday, the City activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is now the central hub for our response efforts. The EOC activation gives us the ability to coordinate our response more effectively among multiple City departments, and document staff activities for the eventual reimbursement of state and federal emergency funding. 

Trash Pickup and Street Sweeping 

Trash and recycling pickup will continue as scheduled. Because of the parking impacts associated with school closures and many of our residents staying home during the day, the City has temporarily stopped enforcing parking restrictions for street sweeping. Any tickets issued on March 16 and March 17 have been automatically rescinded.

Senior Services 

State and county guidelines strongly recommend that people 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions, should stay at home. We realize that presents an extreme hardship for many of our residents. Our meal delivery program will continue, and we are ready to provide special services, such as grocery shopping, by request.

Newport Beach seniors who are homebound and require special assistance are encouraged to call the City’s Senior Services Dept. at 949.644.3244 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Tap Water Safety 

We can assure you that the City of Newport Beach’s water is clean, safe and reliable. The coronavirus has no impact on the quality or supply of your tap water. We use chlorine to disinfect the water before it enters the distribution system to protect against microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungus. This ensures safe drinking water for all our customers. There is no need to stock up on bottled water. 

Police and Fire Services 

Our Police and Fire departments are fully staffed and ready to assist our community with essential public safety services. However, walk-in counter services have been temporarily suspended at the Police Department and fire stations. Residents are asked to contact the Police Department by phone and email and utilize the online reporting system at www.nbpd.org

Library 

Our library branches are temporarily closed to the public. We encourage you to utilize our vast array of online resources, including downloadable books, audiobooks, magazines and streaming video, and databases. These are all available to Newport Beach Public Library card holders at www.newportbeachlibrary.org/ebranch.

Food and groceries 

Grocery stories are considered essential services, so they will continue to remain open.

Agriculture, commercial trucking and shipping are also among the essential services that will continue and help ensure a consistent supply chain to our stores and markets. The Governor’s order allows you to leave home to shop for groceries. So there is no need to hoard items, which creates an unnecessary strain in the supply chain. 

For local take-out food, our partners at the Chamber of Commerce and Newport Beach & Co. have put together resources for great restaurants offering take-out service, so please support our Newport Beach businesses during this challenging time. Visit the Chamber’s “Newport Delivers” site here and Newport Beach & Co.’s “Support Local Restaurants” campaign here.

Treasury Report Update 

The February 2020 Treasury Report is available on the City’s website at: www.newportbeachca.gov/treasury.

As of February, the City’s portfolio totaled just over $302 million, from all sources. Roughly $44 million of this portfolio was highly liquid, meaning it was available for cash flows associated with day-to-day operations and cash funding of major construction expenditures. 

The short-term portfolio ($244 million) had a weighted average effective maturity of 1.82 years. The trailing twelve months’ total return was 4.79 percent. This return compared favorably to our benchmark for the same period, the BAML 1-3 Year Treasury index, which returned 4.63 percent. The income yield on the portfolio, a better measure of income derived from the portfolio, was 2.19 percent. 

Homeless Update 

Success Stories: As concerns over COVID-19 (coronavirus) increase throughout the community, City Net, the City’s contracted social services provider, continues to assist people experiencing homelessness. Their outreach efforts, coordinated with the City and County’s resources, provide housing, health care and other opportunities. 

Last week, City Net case managers connected several people experiencing homelessness to appropriate social services agencies in Orange County, including: 

–Connected a family living in their car to a housing opportunity through Families Forward. Families Forward, based in Irvine, has been providing housing navigation, food bank items, and job training for Orange County families since 1984. 

–Referred a homeless individual at the Newport Transportation Center to the Anaheim Adult Rehabilitation Center and Phoenix House for rehabilitation opportunities. The Anaheim Adult Rehabilitation Center provides a six-month residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for men and women without children. Services to clients may include employment therapy, counseling and classes. Phoenix House provides residential substance abuse treatment for adults. 

–Continued to engage with people at the Balboa Pier, the Newport Transportation Center, and the Newport Pier who have been reluctant to enroll in services. Often, repeated engagement encourages people to accept assistance after trust develops between the City Net staff and people experiencing homelessness. 

–Participated in the monthly “inreach” service at Our Lady Queen of Angels church. The City Net staff offers resources and referrals to any clients affiliated with the church-affiliated Helping Hands Ministry that helps homeless and low-income individuals and families. Volunteers meet with people in need four days a week at the church. They see more than 250 people a month and refer them to other organizations that provide meals, shelters, and aid in job searches. They also provide them with bus passes and food gift cards. 

–Completed two new Vulnerability Intake assessments (VI-SPDAT) at both the Newport Transportation Center and the Balboa Pier. City Net utilizes the Vulnerability Index intake assessment to screen clients on a number of factors to determine proper placement in the County’s Continuum of Care system. Some factors include age, health issues, and length of time being unsheltered. 

–Encouraged clients who have completed the VI-SDPAT (housing assessment) to submit documentation to make them eligible for the County’s housing list. 

City Hosts Irrigation Controller Seminar 

Recently, our Parks Maintenance Division hosted a central weather-based irrigation controller seminar at the Marina Park Community Center. Weather-based controllers use real time local weather data to create irrigation programs. Presenters were Rain Master Control Systems and Site One Landscape Supply. Their presentations included: review of software system navigation and tools, irrigation program creation, management, global features, microclimate management and rain shutdown features, among other advanced management tool and software updates. Attendees included irrigation system managers from: 

–Aliso Viejo Community Association 

–Arroyo Irrigation Consulting 

–Cal Poly Pomona 

–Cal State University Long Beach 

–City of Anaheim 

–City of Cypress 

–City of Newport Beach 

–Loyola Marymount University 

–PGA West 

–Sendero - Rancho Mission Viejo 

–O’Connell Landscape 

–Monarch Environmental Consultants 

The City currently has 280 central irrigation controllers, with four weather stations and repeaters. Due to this infrastructure and the training of our staff, the City has seen significant water cost savings of approximately $100,000 in the past fiscal year. Additionally, this new controller technology allows access remotely and can detect breaks in an irrigation system, reducing time in trouble shooting needed repairs. As water conservation continues to be a priority throughout the southland, trainings such as this are invaluable. 

Bayside Drive Benches and Trash Cans – Updated Look 

Public Works recently replaced eight Rubbermaid trashcans and two benches on Bayside Drive between Coast Highway and Jamboree Road. The new benches and trashcan receptacles have the look and feel of natural wood grain, are made from 100 percent premium recycled material that require very little maintenance and have a life span of up to 50 years. 

Root for Change 

Last week, our Landscape Division collaborated with Stanbridge University for another treeplanting event at Castaways Park. A total of 65 volunteers from the University and City staff planted 92 native trees, and 130 native plants that were donated by Shadetree Nursery. 

Root for Change is one of Stanbridge University’s initiatives to help the environment through partnership opportunities by planting trees in locations across Southern California. Stanbridge University’s commitment to Root for Change and their community outreach will bring them back to Newport Beach in the future. 

Insider’s Guide for the Newport Beach City Council Meeting on March 24, 2020

Our next City Council meeting is today, Tuesday, March 24. Items that may be of interest are highlighted below. The entire agenda, and all reports, can be viewed here. 

There is no Study Session scheduled so the Regular Meeting begins at 7 p.m. and the following are items of note: 

–On the Consent Calendar is a resolution adopting a list of projects for Fiscal Year 2020-21 Funded by SB 1, The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. It is estimated the City will receive approximately $1.6 million to help with a variety of pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction projects. This funding offsets the use of other City funding sources. 

–The Water Wheel Project will provide for removal of trash in the Upper Newport Bay prior to the trash entering our bay. It is anticipated that the Water Wheel could remove between 25-50 tons of trash a year. City staff has worked hard to take this innovative approach to trash removal in our harbor. 

–A Public Hearing was scheduled for an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of a project located at 215 Riverside Avenue. Staff is recommending that this item be continued to the April 14, 2020 City Council meeting. 

–The City is also proposing to update a variety of fines and fees based on cost of service. The fee program reviews all departments every three to five years to ensure that the cost of service is appropriately recovered. 

Due to the Governor’s order to stay at home, and to practice social distancing, the seating in the City Council chambers has been limited to provide adequate spacing. The Community Room will also be open to the public with the appropriate spacing. If you wish to comment, and cannot make it in person, the City strongly encourages you to send your comments via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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