Dave Harrington has another year in the mayor’s seat in Aliso Viejo.
Making history as the first mayor in Aliso Viejo to serve two years in a row, Harrington, a retired sergeant with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said he plans to continue much of his work from 2017. However, some things are different this time for Harrington — who has been on the council for three years The Aliso Viejo Ranch project is already in the works and Harrington is also running for OC Sheriff.
Here’s what else Mayor Harrington has in store for Aliso Viejo:
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?
A: I hope to break ground on the (Aliso Viejo) Ranch project; it has been long overdue and we’ve made some great strides, but I’m ready to see the shovels on the ground.
We’re also going to continue to look at ways to maximize our tax revenue while controlling our costs. I think we’ve done a great job over the past three years I’ve been in office, and that’s always a goal to maintain some fiscal responsibility.
Q: In what ways do you hope to achieve controlling costs?
A: The biggest cost that we have in our budget is the sheriff’s contract. We have to continue to try to work with them in that partnership to find ways to save money through shared costs and other means. We are participating in a survey where they are going to be looking at how those costs are allocated from the department in the contract.
Q: How does your experience in law enforcement at the Sheriff’s Department apply to that issue?
A: When I first got on the council, I kind of knew that the shared services was the way to go. When you look at Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Laguna Hills — just as an example — we’re basically the same geographical size as Mission Viejo, and they only have one lieutenant and one administrative sergeant. For us, we have like two-and-a-half lieutenants and two administrative sergeants, and it’s just not necessary for us to have that much administrative cost for that size. We could have one lieutenant and one sergeant. It’s something we’ve been pushing for the past three years.
I did that job — I was an administrative sergeant in Laguna Hills. I know the work that is done by those people so I understand how much it’s really needed. (My experience) is an advantage because I know of the level of work — you don’t need two guys to do one guy’s job.
Q: What have you learned from your previous year as mayor?
A: It’s really quite a lot of fun — as a councilmember or mayor, it’s fun. You’re a part of a lot of businesses opening, which is very exciting. We’ve had MicroVention move back into our city, we’ve had Urban Plates, Pieology and a couple of other restaurants opening in our city. We also have the senior housing project. Watching this stuff get developed and open is exciting.
Nothing will top the (Aliso Viejo) Ranch. I ran on making that an agricultural and education center and to see that come to fruition, for us to actually move forward on something, an amazing amenity for our city, and as mayor to shepherd that through has been really cool.
Q: How will your running for OC Sheriff impact your position as mayor?
A: It doesn’t really impact the work I do as mayor, all it really does is literally remove all of my down time. Being retired — and I didn’t start running until June of this year — I still have plenty of down time. Even with city stuff, going to Sacramento and Washington D.C., running for Sheriff has just removed all of my down time.
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