Facing a daunting season of lost tourism income, the City of Laguna Beach furloughed employees at its April 7th city council meeting. The departments affected include public transportation drivers, parks and recreation, and cultural arts. The city reduced staff hours, made cuts in capital improvements and postponed planned spending until June. To support public safety during the stay-at-home order, $500,000 in additional funds was approved for police, fire and marine safety services to support beach, park and trail closures.
The Downtown Action Plan and Downtown Specific Plan have been set aside as the city pares work down to essential services and life-saving actions during the pandemic. As soon as the city shows signs of returning to life, however, it is expected that both of these multimillion dollar projects will resume. In fact, during the April 7th meeting, one councilmember said that a downturn is when such items should be moving forward. We hope the council will continue to honor its promise not to discuss controversial projects like the DAP at this time. The city is expected to lose $12 million dollars in revenue.
The next city council meeting is Tuesday, April 21st at 5:00 p.m. and can be watched via the City of Laguna Beach’s website or on TV on Channel 852.