Despite political friction and budget challenges, Los Alamitos has thrived in 2012 and will keep right on thriving, Mayor Troy Edgar said Tuesday afternoon.
In a State of the City speech touting accomplishments such as the city’s financial reserves and the renovation of Laurel Park, Edgar also warned residents of pending challenges such as the expansion of the Los Alamitos Medical Center and the revitalization of the city’s downtown.
“I really wanted to talk about what we’ve had the opportunity to accomplish as a city,” Edgar said at the State of the City event at The Eagle’s Nest Restaurant in Cypress. “I’m very optimistic about the future and I think you should be too.”
“We’re getting preliminary information from our tax consultants and our revenues are coming in much higher than we thought. ... The state of the city is that Los Alamitos, financially, is in one of the best positions it’s been in for a while.”
Edgar said because of the work he, the City Council and city staff have done, the city has corrected a “structural deficit’ in the city's' budget, where Los Alamitos was spending more than it was taking in.
According to Edgar, between 2004 through 2008, spending had increased 54 percent, and the city was down to 26 percent of its reserves.
However, he said, from 2008 to 2011, the city increased its reserves to 45 percent, and over the past year, it’s grown to 70 percent.
However, said Edgar, one of the major reasons for the tension on the City Council was that there were differences of opinion on how to spend city funds. According to Edgar, some officials and residents want to keep the money in reserves and others want to spend it, which, he said, creates conflict.
Edgar also talked about a number of Los Alamitos accomplishments including:
- The completion of renovation at Laurel Park.
- The ground breaking at Coyote Creek Park,
- The city successfully lobbying OCTA along with other cities to keep toll roads off the 405 Freeway.
- The $300,000 donation to help renovate Oak Middle School Gym and nearby restrooms (both the gym and the restrooms are open to public use.)
- The progress of the proposed 17-home development north of Oak Middle School.
Edgar said there were still some challenges the city will face in the coming year such as revitalizing the city’s downtown area, dealing with about $2 million in unfunded liabilities and the upcoming expansion of the Los Alamitos Medical Center.
He said residents should expect a lot of construction work, but he hopes they’ll “deal with it very gleefully, very thankfully, because to me I think that this project is going to transform our downtown. “
After the speech, Councilman-Elect Richard Murphy said he thought Edgar’s speech was great, “upbeat” and that he summed up the challenges the city faces succinctly but “not in a negative way.”
JM Ivler, local resident and outspoken critic of Edgar, said, “While I don’t agree with a number of the issues he brought forward, I do agree that the future for Los Alamitos is much brighter.”
The State of the City event was presented by the Los Alamitos Area Chamber of Commerce, and other speakers included outgoing president of the chamber John Osborn and Meg Cutuli, president of the Los Alamitos Unified School District Board of Trustees.
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What do you think are the notable achievements of 2012? What are the challenges facing Los Alamitos in 2013?