Seal Beach voters will have a full menu in the voting booth March 5: 10 ballot measures and three council seats to fill. And in neighboring Huntington Beach, voters will decide five ballot measures that could have major effects on the city's infrastructure and finances.
Voters in Seal Beach will be asked to bring the City Charter more in line with the state Constitution on issues such as open meetings, residency requirements for city officials and gender references.
Said City Manager John B. Bahorski: "The city manager, for example: Under powers and duties, the charter says he shall be responsible to the City Council. If I was a female city manager, I might be offended by that."
A more meaty charter change would allow the city manager to approve public works contracts up to $20,000 without having to put them out to bid. The limit now is $5,000, "but that's in 1964 dollars," Bahorski said. Each public works project over $20,000 would require a bidding process, which can add $1,000 to $5,000 to the project's cost, depending on the scope of the job. It also takes longer for minor projects to get underway, he said.
The only fiscal effect of the charter revisions would be potential savings by increasing the limit on bid amounts, though Bahorski said he couldn't project how much.
On the council, members Paul Yost and William Doane are running unopposed for reelection. Councilman Shawn Boyd, the target of an investigation by the Orange County district attorney's office into possible conflict-of-interest violations, has three challengers.
In Huntington Beach, Measure FF asks voters to create an "infrastructure fund" of at least 15% of the city's general fund. The general fund is $140 million this year, so that percentage would be $21 million.
A 60-member advisory committee had declared infrastructure improvements a priority for the beach city.
Requiring an annual commitment of at least 15% would ensure that those improvements are made, said Ray Silver, city administrator. Amending the charter would prevent future councils from lowering that amount, he said. "We're making a significant commitment, in good times and bad times, to make sure we're taking care of business," Silver said.
The measure would also create an advisory oversight board to review and audit the fund.
Measure HH would make the AES power plant in the city pay an estimated $2.3 million a year in municipal utility taxes. Measure GG asks if that money should be used for an infrastructure fund.
Huntington Beach voters are also being asked to decide an anti-rent control measure for mobile home parks, apartments and single-family homes. Measure EE would let only property owners decide rates, preempting a possible move toward rent control in the city's 18 mobile home parks.
Residents of those parks have complained in recent years about rising rents, asking Huntington Beach to consider passing a measure that would tie rent increases at the parks to the Consumer Price Index.
Measure DD is a $30-million school bond measure to repair buildings, replace roofs and heating and ventilation systems, and qualify the school district to receive $16.7 million in state matching funds.
Voters in Huntington Beach and Seal Beach will decide on these measures next month:
HUNTINGTON BEACH CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
* Measure DD--$30-million bond issue for construction and improvements
CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH
* Measure EE--Prohibits the city from regulating price or terms of sale or lease of private property
* Measure FF--Requires that 15% of General Fund expenditures be used for infrastructure
* Measure GG--Advisory vote on how the utility tax is used
* Measure HH--Reinstates the gas tax on electric power plants
CITY OF SEAL BEACH
* Measure KK--Provides that residency requirements for elected officials and the city manager shall be governed by state law
* Measure LL--Meetings of the City Council and appointive boards/commissions shall be held in accordance with state law (the Brown Act)
* Measure MM--Removes limitations on the ability of the city to enforce its ordinances
* Measure NN--Increases the penalty for violations of the Charter from $500 to $1,000
* Measure OO--Prohibited financial interests in city contracts shall be governed by state law
* Measure PP--A two-year budget may be prepared upon the determination of the city manager
* Measure QQ--Public works contracts less than $20,000 (as adjusted annually for inflation) do not require a public bid process
* Measure RR--The City Council may enter into ''design-build'' public works contracts
* Measure SS--Eliminates all gender-based designations, such as ''he'' and ''his,'' in the City Charter
* Measure TT--Disciplinary suspensions shall accord with progressive discipline standards of practice