City Administrators Weekly Report

January 21, 2009

CITY ADMINISTRATOR

Good Financial Practices Result in an Upgrade to the
City of Huntington Beach’s Bond Credit Rating

On January 9, 2009, the City of Huntington Beach received good news from Standard and Poor’s. The City’s bond ratings on its judgment obligation bonds and lease for revenue bonds has been raised from “AA-“ to “AA” by the credit rating agency.

“This is significant change for the City,” stated City Administrator, Fred Wilson. “It reflects the City’s good financial practices and the wise decisions of the City Council, to be cautious about the taxpayer’s dollars.”

The higher rating comes amid tough economic times for local governments and validates the City Council’s conservative fiscal policies.  Standard and Poor’s commented positively about the City’s increased reserves over the past few years and about the City’s ability to withstand the current recession that suggests economic resilience. 

The AA rating is defined as “a very strong capacity to meet financial commitments“ and will have the added benefit to taxpayers of reduced interest costs on any future debt obligations the City may issue.

Standard and Poor’s is a top international credit rating organization that determines the credit worthiness of corporations, governments and financial institutions.

Standard and Poor’s reported that the financial outlook of Huntington Beach is stable and expects that the City “will continue to maintain strong available reserves in the context of the potential for the current recession”. 

“Not having any investment losses due to credit quality and maintaining liquidity in light of the recent credit market stress was an important factor in receiving the upgrade ratings” states City Treasurer Shari Freidenrich.

CITY TREASURER

Quick Tip of the Week – Can Do

Begin your interactions with customers positively!  Make it a habit to always tell your customer what you CAN do for them first. Don't begin your conversation by telling them what you CAN'T do.

COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPARTMENT

Huntington Beach Senior Services

Cell Phone Collection -Huntington Beach Senior Services is collecting used cell phones and other small electronics to raise money and to help the environment.  In conjunction with the National Council on Aging and Cellular Recycler, old phones and equipment are either refurbished for further use or parts are recycled.  This helps keep equipment out of landfills and monetary compensation per item is given to the senior center.  New, in 2009, is the acceptance of small electronics including: laptops, cameras, MP3 players, and video game consoles.  Phones and equipment can be dropped off at the Seniors Outreach Center, 1718 Orange Ave., HB, 92647 or sent to Michelle Yerke at the same address.

Community Classes and Programs

The Community Centers are “back in business” after the holidays, offering a wide variety of classes and programs to the community.  Contained within the pages of your SANDS Community Services Guide are opportunities to enhance your quality of life through the programs, facilities, and amenities the Community Services Department has to offer.  Many programs began the week of January 12th, but there are still many more beginning later in the quarter.  Stop by your local Community Center or the Community Services Department and pick up your SANDS today!

“Ebb & Flow” is Open to the Community! 

In honor of Huntington Beach’s 100th year, the Historic Resources Board is presenting a special centennial exhibition, Ebb & Flow.  The exhibition opened to an enthusiastic crowd on Friday evening, and will be on display through February 22 during open gallery hours.

 Guests can explore the history of Huntington Beach through photographs, documentary film, and historical artifacts depicting the city throughout the decades.  The Huntington Beach Art Center is located at 538 Main St.  For full details regarding the Ebb & Flow or exhibition call 714.374.1650.  Open gallery hours are Wed. – Sat., 12 – 6 p.m., and Sun., 12 – 4 p.m.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Youth Shelter Upgrades:

With use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter is nearing the completion of a $50,000 renovation. The Youth Shelter which offers support to runaway and troubled youth is one of only three places in the County of Orange which offers such support services. Through the guidance of Community Services Programs (CSP), Youth Shelter Director, Elsa Greenfield, the CDBG funds have provided a new energy saving HVAC system, a new energy saving water heater, upgrades to the kitchen, and upgrades to the security system. Please visit http://www.cspinc.org/index.html to find out information about volunteer or donation opportunities.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

Townhome Fire

At 4:22 pm on January 9th, a fire was reported on Veleta Circle in the “Waterfront” community located just north of the Waterfront Hilton Hotel. Five fire units were dispatched.  The first arriving unit found smoke coming from the attic and roof of a three-story luxury townhome building. HE45 assumed command of the incident until the arrival of Battalion 4. A “second alarm” was requested due to Santa Ana winds and the potential for fire spread in a common attic.

The first alarm units were assigned to attack the fire, search for victims, ventilate the roof, and contain the fire to the area of origin. The second alarm units were assigned to perform salvage operations on the lower floors to reduce property damage. The fire was found to be burning within the wall and attic space on the third floor of one townhome unit. The fire was quickly brought under control and fire damage was contained to the wall and attic space where the fire began. No persons were injured during the fire.

Fire at Surf Shop

At 3:18 am on January 10th, a structure fire was reported near the intersection of PCH and 6th street. Six fire units were assigned to the fire. Upon arrival at Three Dice Surfboard and Coffee Shop, firefighters found the fire in an attached storage garage which had spread to the attic of the business. The fire also threatened the donut shop located next door. The fire was brought under control and no injuries were reported.  The business remains closed after the fire.

LIBRARY SERVICES DEPARTMENT

Media Focus On Increased Library Demand

From articles in the LA Times, to a recent Allstate insurance commercial, demand for library services in a recession continues to be a prominent topic in the media. The latest big story appears in the Wall Street Journal, describing overwhelming demand for job resources, computer access and inexpensive entertainment options at the same time that library budgets are being cut. According to the story,

“This isn't the first time library attendance has spiked in a downturn. The 1987 and 2001 recessions saw similar jumps, librarians say. But few people thought that libraries would again be in such favor after so much information flooded the Web.

“One big draw: Most libraries have put in free computer and Wi-Fi service. And they've begun stocking DVDs and videogames. With the recession weighing on them, "people recognize what a great value the public library is," says Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association in Chicago.

“The library in Winter Park, Fla., reports a 25% increase in checkouts of its books and other materials over the past 15 months, even as its budget for stocking new items has been cut 12%.”

The Huntington Beach library is experiencing these same challenges, and is working to remain an important resource, an oasis, in these difficult times.

Read the article: (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123197709459483585.html)

HB Reads One Book Kick-off Event at the Central Library

The Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force hosts the kick-off event for HB Reads One Book, "the kids from nowhere" by George Guthridge, featuring special guest Arielle Leeder, Director of Future Problem Solvers of California, at the Central library, 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach, in Room C&D, beginning at 7:00 pm,  Thursday, January 22nd, 2009. 

Special Sunday Family Storytime

Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 2:00 PM -- Tabby Storytime Theater – FREE to the public.
As part of the celebration of the 22nd Annual Authors Festival sponsored by the Friends of the Children’s Library, please join us in the Central Library for a special Sunday Storytime with Deborah Turner, author of the beloved Willy the dog books. The entire family is invited to come and hear the author Deborah read from her collection of Willy books, and possibly even meet Willy himself!  She will autograph her books for sale.

22nd Annual Authors Festival & Gala Reception at Central Library

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM -- Free of charge -- open to the public
The entire community is cordially invited to attend a gala afternoon reception at the Huntington Beach Library to celebrate the 22nd annual Authors Festival, sponsored by the Friends of the Children’s Library.  Over twenty-five local authors and illustrators will have spent the day at schools in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley.  At 2:30 PM, in the Central Library, many of these authors and illustrators will attend a community reception to greet children, parents, local dignitaries, and the public.  A selection of the authors’ books will be on sale for autographing.  Festivities will include an award ceremony for the First Place winners of the Library Time Warp contest, at 3:45 in the Tabby Theater.  Light refreshments will be served.

Journey to the Past with Native American Storyteller Jacque Nunez

Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 4 pm Journey back in time to a California Indian Village of the Acjachamai -- $4.00 Children & Adults plus $2.00 extra for craft workshop.
Storyteller, Jacque Nunez, descendent of a real Southern California Indian tribe, teaches songs and shares her culture using authentic Indian costumes and instruments.  Children then can make their own Native American headband and an Indian Stick Game. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended! 

PLANNING

2009 Planning Commission

The Planning Commission held its annual election of officers and reorganization on January 13.  Elizabeth Shier-Burnett will succeed Tom Livengood as Chairperson.  Blair Farley is the new Vice Chair.  Additionally, Barbara Delgleize was appointed by Councilmember Don Hansen to replace newly elected Councilman Devin Dwyer. Councilmember Dwyer has not made an appointment.

2009 Planning Commission:

Commissioner:

 Position:

Appointed By:

Elizabeth Shier-Burnett

 Chairperson

Keith Bohr

Blair Farley

 Vice-Chair

Jill Hardy

Barbara Delgleize

 Commissioner

Don Hansen

Tom Livengood

 Commissioner

Cathy Green

John Scandura

 Commissioner

Gil Coerper

Fred Speaker

 Commissioner

Joe Carchio

Vacant

Commissioner

Devin Dwyer

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Free Vacation House Checks Available

Do you wonder who you should call to check on your home when you’re going to be away for an extended period of time?  Well we know your first thoughts usually go towards a family member or friend, but sometimes you may feel it might be a bother for them because they live a distance away, or don’t really have the time.    
The Huntington Beach Police Department provides House Vacation Checks courtesy of the HBPD Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
Our trained RSVP’s will conduct an exterior security check of your home.    If something appears suspicious, the RSVP’s shall call for the assistance of a police officer.  The RSVP’s will also pick up any of the throw away newspapers/flyers (that tells criminals no one is home) that often gather when you’re away a couple of days or forget to check your front door area.  Shortly after your return date they will mail you a print out of the dates and times of there visits and what they observed. 
Exterior areas of your home that are not accessible will not be checked.
There’s absolutely NO fee for this service and it’s easy to sign up; you may call the HBPD RSVP office at 714-374-1507 to complete the form over the phone or you can check out the web page at:

 
Please try to provide us with at least a 1 week notice (due to scheduling). 
We do understand that in an emergency that may not always be possible. 
If you have any questions or need more information about the HBPD RSVP Program please call the RSVP office at 714-374-1507, or Nilda Patiño de Berndt, HBPD Community Relations Specialist at 714-536-5933. 

PUBLIC WORKS

Magnolia Street Sidewalk Project

Pedestrian’s access on Magnolia Street just north of Pacific Coast Highway has been improved and is available for public use.   New sidewalks are open on both sides of Magnolia Street from Pacific Coast Highway to the Huntington Channel.   Sidewalks, curb and gutter, and a pedestrian lighting system were installed alongside the paved street within the existing street right-of-way. The project also includes the installation of a 42-inch high fence on both sides of Magnolia Street, catch basins, and two lookout points.  The project is substantially complete, awaiting a drain inlet trash protection device to be installed next week.   Later in the year, this section Magnolia Street will be reconstructed as part of the annual arterial highway rehabilitation.  

Did you know?

The Huntington Beach Fire Department conducts free home fire safety inspections for seniors.  You can also get a free smoke detector with a 10 year battery and carbon monoxide detector installed.  This free service is provided by Project SHIP senior home inspection program volunteers. You can schedule an appointment online or call 714-374-1615.


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