USA: Newport Beach Wins Golden Hub of Innovation Awards

Newport Beach Wins Golden Hub of Innovation Awards

The City of Newport Beach (City) won two, 2013 Golden Hub of Innovation Awards and an honorable mention from the Association of California Cities Orange County (ACCOC) during an awards ceremony.

The City earned awards for its Lower Newport Bay Dredging project and its Art and Cultural Facilities program. It earned an honorable mention for its recent Technology / E-Government efforts.

The City won a Golden Hub award for the Lower Newport Bay Dredging project. The $10 million project was a joint effort between the City, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the County of Orange to dredge more than 600,000 cubic yards of material to improve navigation for boaters and Newport Harbor users. It was the largest, comprehensive dredging project since the harbor was developed in the mid-1930s.

The City played a significant role in the project by initiating and completing years of sediment studies, sampling and analysis to determine appropriate disposal locations for the sediment per the strict requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, California Coastal Commission and the Army Corps. However, after the analysis was completed, the City discovered that some of the material was “unsuitable” for ocean disposal. Critical to the cost-savings of this effort was an agreement with the Port of Long Beach to receive the unsuitable material as fill for its Middle Harbor Redevelopment project. Timing the dredging project for tides, the Port’s disposal needs, and harbor activities was among the hardest tasks completed. In addition, the City was instrumental in securing federal funding for the project, as well providing over $5 million in City funding toward the effort.

Next, the City received an honorable mention in the Technology / E-Government category for its efforts to reduce wasteful, paper-based workflows and implement web-accessible ways to view files and conduct City business. The City has reduced paper consumption through the use of web and cloud applications to encourage online bill payment and review, as well as the implementation of a large, Enterprise Content Management solution (Laserfiche). In addition, the City reduced the number of printers used at City Hall from 94 to 22 to cut paper use and maintenance and toner costs. This change equated to 72 fewer printing devices to maintain, repair, troubleshoot, order toner for, and replace. The printer maintenance costs alone have been reduced by more than $25,000 per year. Since the City’s effort to reduce paper began, there’s been a 29% reduction in the number of pages printed per month.

Finally, the City received a Golden Hub award for its Art and Cultural Facilities program. Newport Beach has made further developing a public art program – one that marries private and public support – a top priority for 2013. Since the year began, the City has taken significant strides toward that goal with the adoption of new policies, approval of support for local, private projects, and most importantly, the City Council’s authorization to establish a Public Art and Cultural Facilities Fund comprised of 2% of unallocated public benefit fees received by the City through development agreements. The set aside does not increase any fees or taxes. It does provide for a future stream of funding dedicated solely to the acquisition, installation, management and maintenance of public art in Newport Beach. Monies contained in the new fund can only be used for permanent structures or art installations.

I am very proud of the recognition by our peers and community leaders of the innovations underway in Newport Beach,” said Mayor Keith Curry. “Our efforts to reduce the number of printers in the new city hall from 94 to 22 demonstrates our commitment to reducing costs and working more efficiently.”

Curry added, “The recently completed bay dredging project was done at a savings of more than $10 million through our partnership with the Port of Long Beach. I take personal satisfaction in the recognition of our new program to provide funding for ongoing arts facilities enhancements in our city.”

The ACCOC began the Golden Hub of Innovation awards program in 2012 to highlight and commend cities and other local governments that are developing and implementing innovative solutions to today’s challenges and measurable savings to taxpayers.

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Press Release, July 3, 2013

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