Catalina Island
64.4 °F
Reported on:
September 19, 2017 - 4:17pm

Articles by Charles M. Kelly

The Avalon City Council voted unanimously at the Tuesday, May 6, meeting to continue a city hiring freeze that has been in effect since March. The council members agreed to allow the city to employ individuals to fill three full-time positions that have become vacant, but keep the hiring freeze in place.

The council also looked at removing abandoned vehicles from Catalina Island.

Hiring freeze

City Manager Ben Harvey had proposed rescinding the freeze on hiring full-time employees.

“A man’s life is his own. His water belongs to the tribe.”

—Frank Herbert, “Dune”

Strict water rationing may begin in July, according to a Southern California Edison representative.

When Stage 2 water rationing begins, residents and business owners will be required to reduce their water usage by 25 percent, based on the water they used from June 2012 to May 2013.

Residents will receive their water allotments in their monthly bills.

Balancing the budget, expanding drinking water resources and cleaning Avalon Bay were among the goals council members said they would like to achieve in two years at the special Wednesday, April 23, City Council meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to hold a workshop to discuss and prioritize the goals of the council.

City Manager Ben Harvey moderated the discussion.

He said the new council members would be working together for at least the next two years.

Stage 2 water rationing could come to Avalon in June, according to a Southern California Edison presentation to the Tuesday, April 15, City Council meeting.

Avalon has been in Stage 1 water rationing since June 2013. Stage 1 rationing regulated the use of water for such things as watering lawns and washing cars. Stage 2 rationing will reduce the percentage of water that Avalon residents and businesses are allowed to use.

The incumbents are out. Voters elected a new mayor and two new council members Tuesday night, April 8.  The Avalon mayoral race was a landslide. The City Council races were decisive.  

Ann Marshall won by 75 percent of the overall vote.

Forty-seven percent of eligible voters turned out for the election.

The election results are unofficial. The final results will have to be certified.

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Avalon Fire Department Chief Steve Hoefs announced his plans to retire after 25 years with the city’s fire agency, according to City Manager Ben Harvey.


The city manager made the news public during the Monday, April 1, Avalon City Council meeting.


Avalon’s deficit has decreased by more than $900,000, City Manager Ben Harvey told the City Council on Tuesday, March 18.

The deficit was originally $1.6 million. But during the mid-year budget review at Tuesday’s council meeting, covering the period from July 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013, Harvey said the deficit had been reduced to $688,971.

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A proposal to eliminate the assistant chief’s position from the Avalon Fire Department was removed from the Tuesday, March 4, City Council agenda following a closed session discussion of the issues raised.


The council directed staff to work with the Fire Department.


Avalon has a projected $1.6 million deficit.


An Avalon woman died this past weekend, possibly as a result of a drug overdose.

A council member said heroin activity had increased recently at the Tuesday, Feb. 18, Avalon City Council meeting.

“On February 16, 2014 at 8:10 a.m., deputies, Fire Department personnel, and paramedics responded to the 100 block of Metropole Avenue regarding a possible drug overdose,” wrote Capt. Doug Fetteroll in an email about last Sunday’s death. Fetteroll commands the Avalon Sheriff’s Station.

Avalon Bay water quality is improving, according to one of the city’s consultants.

However, state-mandated deadlines can’t be changed.

The consultant also warned the City Council that if Avalon exceeds bacteria limits, the city could be fined or possibly lose the authority to approve sewer connections.