Cays Park, Lifeline Business Loans and Highlights of the Board Meeting Financial Report
The presentations began the Dec. 7 meeting of Coronado City Council, with Mayor Bailey proclaiming Dec. 10 as “Ed Walton Day” to honor Walton as he retires after 33 years of service. First an associate engineer in 1988, he became a senior engineer and retired as a municipal engineer. During his tenure he was involved in many key projects including replacement of Transbay Main Force, Adella Plaza and Rotary Plaza upgrades, Cays Pumping Station replacement, Natures Bridge discovery, the Pomona roundabout and many other capital improvement projects. He is known for his positive attitude and willingness to bet on a Las Cuatro Milpas burrito. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.
Then, the recognition of Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli for his eight years of service as Coronado’s representative in the United Port District of San Diego. Wanting to ignore all accolades, the public laughed as they asked Mayor Bailey to omit the reading of his proclamation and “continue,” declaring Dec. 7 as “Garry J. Bonelli Day.“ As Harbor Commissioner, he served as Chairman of the Board in 2019 and oversaw the ‘Penelope’ public art at Tidelands Park. He has also served on numerous committees, including the SANDAG Board of Directors. Frank Urtasun was sworn in as the new Coronado Port Commissioner by City Clerk Jennifer Ekblad. Previously, he served as Harbor Commissioner of Imperial Beach for 10 years and currently has his own public affairs and communications company. Prior to that, he retired as Vice President of Sempra Energy. His official duties begin on January 3, 2022.
City Manager Tina Friend thanked the community, chamber of commerce and city staff, especially the police, fire and recreation departments, for the outstanding holiday parade and tree lighting and of the menorah. She also mentioned that the Coronado mural will descend this week from the old CoraMart building, as Vons’ expansion progresses. The folk art work has been around for three years and will be kept for possible future use. Friend introduced Leon Firsht as the new Director of Utilities and Engineering, who has 25 years of experience in civil engineering, most recently as Director of Public Works at La Mesa. He’s just started, but she noticed his energetic demeanor and said he already had a lot of ideas.
Administrative Services Director John Kim gave an overview of the Full annual financial report (ACER), which shows the city’s financial situation for the year ending June 30, 2021. He congratulated CFO Emad Gewaily and his team for their excellent work. He noted that income and expenses have declined due to COVID-19 issues, and the transitional occupancy tax (TOT), which has been particularly affected, is now returning at a steady pace. “There are trends towards economic recovery,” he said, with a 2021 fund balance of $ 176,398,884, up $ 843,088 from 2020. The most important source of income is property taxes and these rise as house prices rise. TOT and property taxes account for 85 percent of the city’s revenue. He pointed out that the golf course saw its revenue increase by $ 1.4 million, with increased gambling and decreased expenses, due to staff vacancies and decreased water consumption.
An audit was conducted by Davis Farr, and CPA Shannon Ayala explained via Zoom that her company spent 500 hours analyzing financial data, including testing the city’s investment policy and processes, as well as interview staff and other components. Davis Farr issued an unmodified opinion, which is the highest level of achievement for an audit. Council voted unanimously to receive and table this report.
An update on the Lifeline Business Loans was introduced by Deputy City Manager Dominique Albrecht who described a program of economic hardship. Of the program’s $ 2 million, $ 1.7 million has been distributed to 94 local businesses, as of April 2020. To date, $ 36,000 has been repaid, with four businesses in repayment and one. fully reimbursed. Some companies ask if the loans can be turned into grants and canceled. As he was not on the council when it was decided, council member Tanaka asked what the original intention was to donate the money and Mayor Bailey told him they were bridging loans with favorable conditions for carrying out businesses until state and federal funds are available. . While Councilmember Sandke pleaded for loan cancellation and asked how the $ 2 million for the next two years of the American Rescue Plan Act will be spent, to which Friend said there were categories allowed for money to spend and that a plan will come to the board at a later date. The rest of the board did not support full pardon, but the vote was unanimous to approve the following proposed economic hardship program, with the exception of bankruptcy and death, state and federal laws would be followed.
- Borrowers can apply for temporary forbearance if they experience any disruption during the life of the loan i.e. cash flow problems, serious illness, etc.
- Loan cancellation available to businesses in bankruptcy or in the event of the death of the primary borrower (Council voted to follow federal and state laws in this matter.)
- Formal request submitted to the office of the Director General with supporting documents
- Recovered funds return to the general fund
A simple update on $ 55,000 in additional funds for the Coronado Cays Park Master Plan turned into a lengthy discussion as eight residents spoke on the topic citing petitions from residents, both public and private, the use of football, dog park issues, and noted that residents of Cays want to be involved in this process. City manager Tina Friend said she had already discovered Coronado has good community engagement and noted that COVID-19 has changed the way people use parks, and said they have a solid process to achieve it. Senior Engineer Jim Newton is the Project Manager and gave a presentation on the history of the project, which began in July 2019. Van Dyke’s Landscape Architects, who were determined to be experts in this field, finished 90% of the initial renderings when work was interrupted due to the pandemic. Newton stressed that they would now take over the project, but with the additional contribution of the community and the city. Each of the members of the council weighed and understood the need for the contribution of the community. Council member Donovan first wanted to determine what part of the park should be earmarked for programmable activities, such as soccer, baseball, etc., but the council felt that should go ahead and could be decided simultaneously. Newton described the following seven steps:
- Consultant’s Review Date / Public Comments
- Review city policies / procedures regarding use of the park
- Develop three master plan concepts with heavy graphic support
- Organize two public workshops to solicit feedback
- Conduct an online survey
- Develop the final concept and determine the cost estimates
- Presentation of the master plan
In the end, the board unanimously approved the additional funds, in addition to asking Newton to report a more detailed document on next steps with important dates.
Approved on Consent timeline ~
A resolution was adopted opposing the proposed mobility hub for Coronado identified by SANDAG in the 2021 Regional Plan.
Marie hale was reappointed as the City of Coronado’s representative on the San Diego Harbor Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for a three-year term. She started in this position in February 2019.
Concluding the meeting in committee reports, Board member Heinze noted that the aforementioned funds from Metro JPA will arrive earlier than expected over the next few months. Mayor Bailey said the SANDAG regional plan vote is imminent, with 3,000 emails received in opposition.