Edgar notes issues in the State of City Address
The contentious issue of the Katella Avenue corridor was one of the key issues Mayor Troy Edgar said the city will face in the near future during his State of the City Address on Tuesday in Cypress.
Edgar acknowledged that when he had the issue put on the council agenda in September, he did not realize that it would create the backlash it did from residents who feared that changes in signals and turn lanes would create a dangerous situation.
Still, the issue is likely to come up as Cypress will look to revitalize its portion of the thoroughfare and Los Alamitos should take a proactive approach to working with their neighbors to benefit both communities, he said.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to work with Cypress … I personally, would prefer to be a partner in that process,” Edgar said.
Edgar also noted that pension issues and unfunded liability would be key areas of concern for Los Alamitos, as would the preservation of St. Isidore Plaza. He also said that taking another look a restarting the downtown revitalization process should be a priority. And navigating the Rossmoor fourth corner annexation issue should also be on the table.
Edgar noted that despite tough economic times, the city has been able to balance its budget and reduce its structural deficit, while still maintaining public safety standards and providing key city services.
“We had to make some tough decisions to reduce the structural deficit,” Edgar said.
He also said the city has been able to create and economic environment that creates local jobs and increased sales tax revenue for the city. He lauded the city and its neighbors for coming together to improve the working relationship with the Joint Forces Training Base and protect the quality of life that Los Alamitos residents expect.
While balancing the budget and reducing its deficit, the city has also managed to build a reserve fund of more than $8 million. That reserve is now starting to get filtered back into the community. He noted the recent $300,000 contribution to the Oak Middle School gymnasium and athletic fields, as well as the community giveback program that will also put more than $380,000 back into city programs.
Edgar praised city staff and its employee unions for enduring tough cutbacks, while still maintaining services and volunteering in the community and for the police department keeping Los Alamitos one of the safest cities in Orange County. Edgar also noted the passing of Measure DD, the telephone users tax update, for its projected revenue increase. He was light-hearted in saying that as he ran for the 72nd Assembly District, it was probably not in his best interest to push for a tax hike of any kind, but stood by the measure, despite losing the election.
“It was the right thing to do,” Edgar said.
Edgar noted that the city has continued to move forward with projects like the completed renovation of Laurel Park and the ground breaking for Coyote Creek Park. He also noted the continued improvements to the JFTB pool facilities and the tenants who make that available for the public including the gold medal winning U.S. Women’s Olympic water polo team.
Edgar said the city will continue to face challenges and recognized that the council has had more than its share of strife. However, with two new council members, Dean Grose and Richard Murphy being sworn in on Dec. 17, he is optimistic that all five council members can be more cohesive in the future.
“We’re going to have an opportunity to move away from that battlefield mentality,” Edgar said.
The State of the City was also an opportunity for the Wings, Wheels, Rotors and Expo committee to present their check to the JFTB Morale Welfare Recreation program. The WWR&E committee presented a check for $19,000 to representatives from the JFTB.