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City Wins Inaugural Awards for Innovation in Planning and Development, and More

The Association of California Cities – Orange County announced the winners of the inaugural “Golden Hub of Innovation” Awards recently, Laguna Niguel was a big winner.

Laguna Niguel is a winner in the Association of California Cities – Orange County “Golden Hub of Innovation” Awards.

It won the category: Other Innovative and Cost Saving Programs," specifically for the new City Hall.

“The city is proud to be recognized by ACC-OC for our innovative programs and projects. It’s also nice to be the only Orange County city to receive the top Innovation Award in two separate categories," said Tim Casey, city manager. "Councilmember Robert Ming, Community Development Dan Fox and I were, pleased to attend the ACC-OC Inaugural Golden Hub of Innovations awards dinner and accept top of category honors on behalf of the mayor, city council and city staff.”

The timing of Laguna Niguel’s new City Hall construction project in 2011 met head-on with the realities of the economic downturn. Reduced revenues meant that the city would have to think: “outside the collective box” to complete the project on time and on budget, according to the ACC-OC.  

The city’s decision to apply the Construction Manager Multi-Prime project delivery method for the overall project, pre-qualification screening process for sub-contractor selection, and a $60,000 performance bonus resulted in the project being completed on schedule and $2.5 million UNDER budget. These processes were so successful that they will likely be used for future Laguna Niguel capital improvement projects, resulting in future cost-savings, according to the ACC-OC. 

Also receiving a nod, in another category: planning and development. 

The ACC-OC says the city of Laguna Niguel developed a cost-effective and time-saving solution to the problem of adequate cell phone coverage for its residents by approving a master lease agreement while at the same time establishing acceptable design standards and location criteria that also protected aesthetics in the city. Incorporating resident input, as well as participation from the wireless industry from the beginning of the planning process resulted in support for the plan from all sides of the debate. It is estimated that this could result in cost-savings of $5-10,000 and time-savings of 6-9 months for each site implementation while all but ensuring the $250,000 in revenue expected to be generated by the 19 leases.

Another Golden Hub winner included:

City of Dana Point – Category: Public Safety 

Dana Point’s 'Hide It, Lock It or Lose It' public information program was created to reduce the most preventable of crimes in that city. This includes thefts from unlocked vehicles and homes, and other small thefts that clog up police investigation services and cost taxpayers an estimated $300,000 a year. Since 2010, the program that encouraged residents to take the extra 5 to 10 seconds to put their belongings out of “plain view” and lock their doors has resulted in a 40 percent reduction in vehicle thefts and a 15 percent drop in property crimes, while reducing overall crime in the community by 14 percent, says ACC-OC.

“Orange County has a long history of innovation, and is quickly becoming recognized as the Hub for Government Innovation,” said ACC-OC Chief Executive officer Lacy Kelly. “We’re excited that we can highlight these strategies and encourage sharing of best practices between member agencies, further saving taxpayer dollars, and encouraging creative solutions to municipal service delivery.”

The purpose of the program is to publicly highlight and commend cities and other local governments who are developing and implementing innovative solutions to tackle today’s challenges. Winners were those cities and agencies whose programs best reflected the spirit of the “Golden Hubs,” resulting in measure savings to taxpayers.

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