[UPDATED: Audit Report Criticized; Budget Passed] Costa Mesa Financial Situation "Better Than Average," According to OCEA-Funded Audit

UPDATE, JUNE 22, 4:55 P.M.: "I think this whole list is a road to bankruptcy," said Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer early Wednesday morning, responding to the report of the OCEA-funded budget audit. Just minutes after hearing a laundry list of potential alternatives to restructure the budget in order to put more money in the General Fund--ideally enough to convince the city to reconsider its steps toward outsourcing half of its city employees--Righeimer was swift and direct in dismissing the information, seeming annoyed his time had been wasted. 

Maybe he was tired after 6 straight hours behind the dais or maybe the compassion he alluded to hours prior was just politician-speak.

After he and his fellow council members had their time to discredit the audit--aside from Councilwoman Wendy Leece, who felt the suggestions should at least be properly studied--a 4-1 vote was recorded shortly before 1:15 a.m., passing the $115 million budget, as well as the decision to reduce the police budget by 3.5 percent, requiring anywhere from 5 to 10 officer layoffs.

Jim Righeimer, the face of compassion.
Jim Righeimer, the face of compassion.
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly

Katrina Foley was critical of the city council's spending.
Katrina Foley was critical of the city council's spending.
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly

Most every recent development affecting the city spending and the looming budget was rehashed. Former councilwoman Katrina Foley criticized the city's decision to spend money on an over-priced communications director instead of public safety. 

"I'm a stakeholder in the Costa Mesa Corporation and with what you guys are doing, my portfolio is losing value" one resident said, mocking Righeimer's incessant desire to refer to and run the city as a business.

If you need a way to pass nearly 7 hours, you can watch the video recording of last night's meeting.

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 21, 5:17 P.M.: ​Between an outspoken former police chief and a controversial budget expected to be adopted, tonight's Costa Mesa City Council meeting already appeared to be rife with potential drama. There's a late addition to the itinerary. The Orange County Employees Association received the final report on an independent, city-supported audit of the budget and is planning to share the findings--and they're somewhat juicy. 

In a conference call this morning, Steve Foti of Harvey M. Rose Associates, called the financial situation in Costa Mesa "better than average," compared to the city jurisdictions he's familiar with. "The notion that the city is on the brink of insolvency is not accurate."

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