We need to un-link the revenue from the proposed village entrance parking structure from the revenue projected to be raised from raising rates on existing meters. These are completely separate. Building a new structure does not generate the additional $2 million per year projected to come from raising existing meter rates. The meters are here today and the Council is already raising these rates. There is no intrinsic requirement that this $2 million in new revenue from existing meters needs to be applied to a bond. Instead it should go into the general fund to help pay for additional policing and other services caused by Laguna’s high tourist traffic.
The cost of the project is projected to be $13.3 million cash up front plus $2.1 million per year in bond payments. Actually the real annual cost is higher. The use of the $13.3 million for the project results in the loss of the annual investment earnings on those funds. Based on what the California pooled investment fund earned over the past 25 years, the city could have earned an additional $570,000 per year if that $13.3 million were not spent on the structure.
In essence, the real revenue is less and the real cost is more than what is being discussed.
The problem is that the needs of the city compete for budget funds.
Edison just published a study that says “…22% of their utility poles are overloaded and fall short of safety requirements…” The study cites an incident in Laguna Canyon where something broke away from a pole which swung into traffic striking two cars, and another incident in Laguna where Edison paid the city for fighting a fire attributed to a pole malfunction. Funds to do things like addressing unsafe poles end up competing with the funds for parking.
Once the city commits $2.1 million or $3 million, whatever the real number is, to a parking structure, it that much less to commit to things like police, or CALPERS or Edison poles.
Speaking for myself, I would appreciate the city more if it did something to save my life rather than to save me a parking spot.
I suggest you let laguna vote on the village entrance.
John Thomas, Laguna Beach
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