Fiesta Days Canceled Amid Hopes July 5 Parade Will Fly

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson and City Manager Mark Alexander attend a former Fiesta Days celebration. This year’s annual event has once again been canceled, but a July 5 parade is being planned in its place.

For the second year straight, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce will cancel its annual Fiesta Days celebration held over Memorial Day weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions set by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
However, in lieu of the time-honored festival — a tradition since 1974 — the Chamber will plan a parade for Monday, July 5, pending improving coronavirus case numbers throughout the County.
“The decision to cancel Fiesta Days last year, and now, this year, was really taken out of our hands by the Department of County Health — all we could do was try to adhere to the orders,” said LCF Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson. “However, with the improving metrics, it seemed possible that we could at least hold a parade, and that seemed like something positive and hopeful to shoot for.”
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City Hall is Now Open

As Los Angeles County moved into the less restrictive orange tier on Monday, La Cañada Flintridge City Manager Mark Alexander announced that City Hall is officially open one year after closing its doors to walk-in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it is only a partial re-opening, Alexander said hours will be extended when the county moves into the least restrictive yellow tier. Meanwhile, the public can visit without an appointment Tuesday-Thursday between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., but staff recommends making appointments online. Mayor Mike Davitt is hopeful that the City Council will soon be able to hold a meeting in council’s chambers.

With Alexander at the Helm, LCF Weathers All Storms

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
La Cañada Flintridge City Manager Mark Alexander is shown with LCF Chamber President/CEO Pat Anderson. Alexander is the city’s longest-serving city manager, first joining City Hall staff 33 years ago at the age of 23.

One year ago this week, the unthinkable came to pass: Life’s activities, from the mundane to the thrilling, came to a grinding halt amid the cascading closures of schools, businesses and workplaces enacted to curb the spread of coronavirus.
As residents across La Cañada Flintridge dug down in their foothills community to prepare for the unknown — stocking up on food and supplies, increasing their internet coverage and taking to social media to express widespread confusion — one thing became crystal clear for City Manager Mark Alexander.
Continue reading “With Alexander at the Helm, LCF Weathers All Storms”

City Council Adopts Approximately $30M Preliminary Budget

Memorial Park fence repairs and a social media intern position were among so-called consideration items that fell by the wayside as the La Cañada Flintridge City Council closed a $3.1 million funding gap and unanimously adopted an approximately $30 million preliminary budget on Monday.
A final budget will be presented to the council for adoption in July, according to City Manager Mark Alexander, who explained that to sustain municipal operations, the council needed to OK the preliminary budget before the new fiscal year began on Wednesday.
Consideration items included several projects submitted to the council for approval, including street resurfacing and air quality monitoring for the Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project. Council members greenlit most of the fund requests, but some had to be rejected or reduced to keep the preliminary budget afloat before Monday’s 5-0 vote.
Continue reading “City Council Adopts Approximately $30M Preliminary Budget”

Music in the Park June Concerts Canceled

OUTLOOK file photo
La Cañada Flintridge residents won’t be able to enjoy their traditional Music in the Park concerts on Sundays during the month of June because of L.A. County Department of Health guidelines regarding mass gatherings. City Manager Mark Alexander announced the cancellation during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Los Angeles County continues to loosen the restrictions on its “Safer at Home” order but mass gatherings are still not permitted, prompting La Cañada Flintridge City Manager Mark Alexander to announce on Tuesday the cancellation of Music in the Park concerts during the month of June.
“Unfortunately, based on the information we’re getting from the County Department of Public Health, it doesn’t look as though they are going to be allowing large assemblies or gatherings of people for quite some time,” he told the City Council.
Alexander said there is a possibility of the local tradition starting in July. Mayor Michael Davitt said he discussed possible alternatives with the city manager and they will continue to work on that.
“We’re hopeful the county will allow some level of public gathering at some point in the summer, but we don’t know when that will be,” Alexander added.

As Local Shops Reopen, Curbside, COVID-19 Cases Monitored

As local businesses attempt a partial reopening after nearly two months of shuttered operations due to the pandemic measures, city officials said this week they continue to look to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for direction on how to safely — and slowly — encourage businesses back to usual.
After the state and L.A. County released succinct updates last week as to how they will begin relaxing the “Safer at Home” order over the next few months — with certain types of businesses permitted to resume operations strictly for curbside pickup — a statement on Tuesday from Public Health briefly threw those plans in doubt after it was mistakenly reported the order will be extended through the summer.
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After Late Adjustments, LCF Has a New Budget

City Manager Mark Alexander
Mark Alexander, City Manager

The city of La Cañada Flintridge’s spending plan for the next fiscal year was found at a recent special meeting to be about a quarter of a million dollars short, prompting city officials to find ways to make up the difference before the budget is formally adopted on July 16.
The City Council directed staff members to review the general fund operating budget again to see where an additional $246,225 could be identified to cover the costs of items approved on the council consideration items list, City Manager Mark Alexander said in an email on Tuesday. Continue reading “After Late Adjustments, LCF Has a New Budget”

City Council Hesitates to Budget for Sound Walls

In the last of three budget meetings, City Council members opted on Thursday, June 28, to hold off funding four sound walls and the long-discussed bikeway and pedestrian project near the YMCA as they worked to balance the city’s budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.
La Cañada Flintridge’s total general fund revenue for the next year is budgeted at $14,650,375, which will match its expenditures, according to Finance Director Rebekka Hosken. Continue reading “City Council Hesitates to Budget for Sound Walls”

Council Spells Out City Budget Plans

During two sessions of budget discussions in the past week, La Cañada Flintridge City Council members agreed to designate reserve funds in support of the proposed Sagebrush territory transfer, prepared for the possible repeal of the state gas tax, and dedicated $353,425 to support 11 community groups.
The City Council is set to finalize the budget for the coming fiscal year when it reconvenes for its third budget hearing at 8:30 a.m. today, June 28.
Councilman Jonathan Curtis suggested the city earmark $100,000 in reserves to back up La Cañada Unified School District in the latest chapter of a decades-long tug of war over the Sagebrush territory. Continue reading “Council Spells Out City Budget Plans”

Council Approves New City Hall Design

Photos by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
A rendering illustrates what visitors to La Cañada Flintridge’s new City Hall can expect to see when the renovations on the building are finished in late 2018 or early 2019.

The City Council voted 4-1 last week in favor of the “original design” concept recommended by the New City Hall Renovation Subcommittee that is estimated to cost $6.45 million.
Concerned about the cost, Councilman Greg Brown voted against approving the final design plan and authorizing the preparation of bid specifications, but the other four council members embraced the proposal at a special meeting on Thursday, April 12.
“This is a 50-year decision, and if we’re going to make a 50-year decision, we have to make the right decision, and I think that’s the first plan,” Councilman Michael Davitt said. Continue reading “Council Approves New City Hall Design”