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Drummond: The best that happened in Yorba Linda this year

Here’s my annual look at Yorba Linda’s “best” – with some “less-than-best” – for 2017:
Best example of farsighted thinking: City Council and water district actions to shrink unfunded pension and retirement health liabilities help secure the benefits and save future higher costs.
Best decision by Placentia-Yorba Linda school officials: Trustee areas will benefit students and parents by creating the potential for electing a board with more geographic and ethnic diversity.
Best literary bargain: The Friends of the Library’s $2-a-bag sale each September has residents loading up on quality hardbacks, paperbacks, children’s books, DVDs, records and other items.
Saddest service cutback: Orange County Transit Authority decision to drop bus routes through Yorba Linda with no forceful reaction by local leaders increases student, worker cars on streets.
Most interesting political development: A three-man slate that won water district elections last year (Brooke Jones, Wayne Miller, Al Nederhood) has differed this year on some fiscal issues.
Best safety decision: A new city ordinance regulating drone takeoff and landing near special events and emergency response situations adds a satisfying layer of protection for residents.
Best fiscal decision: A new city policy calls for two “deep dive” special audits each year to eye credit card use, surplus property disposals, overtime, contract administration and other topics.
Best new test records: 4,070 Advance Placement and 530 International Baccalaureate tests given at Placentia-Yorba Linda district high schools with 83.4 and 95 percent pass rates, respectively, earned college credits for students.
Best example of breaking glass ceilings: First female principals were appointed at Valencia (founded 1933) and Esperanza (founded 1973) high schools: Olivia Yaung and Gina Aguilar.
Worst news for schools: The state’s 4-year-old Local Control Funding Formula again allows less money for the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District than most districts in the area.
Latest twist in city’s unique liquor history: Yorba Linda’s longtime ban of alcohol service at charitable bingo games was overturned, putting city on a par with surrounding communities.
Best budget news: Property and sales taxes, the city’s top two revenue sources, continue to exceed projections presented by city staff in budget adoptions, building the city reserve fund.
Best example of trust in Sheriff’s Department: When council voted a 4.2 percent increase in policing costs to $10.44 million, members directed staff to begin negotiating a new five-year contract.
Most unique honor: Although the Nixon family’s dog, “Checkers,” never set paw in Yorba Linda and is buried at New York’s Bide-a-Wee pet cemetery, the city dog park was named for the pup.
Happiest news for taxpayers: The PFM Asset Management firm has been contracted by the council to help manage the city’s investment portfolio, resulting in improved interest earnings.
 
Jim Drummond is a longtime Yorba Linda resident. He gives his opinion on local issues weekly. Send e-mail to jimdrummond@hotmail.com.
Source: Oc Register

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